This is a time when the true severity of the student debt crisis is being revealed, and when both Republicans and Democrats are scrambling to agree on legislation that can only keep the situation from worsening. Meanwhile, students burdened by the weight of loans are becoming more and more conscious of how much their degrees can afford them and what makes the most sense economically. While the saying once used to go something like, “Always shoot for your dreams,” it is now arguably morphing into something more toward, “Always shoot for something that has the biggest payoff.”
Bankrate.com published a return-on-investment report that details which jobs afford students the highest retribution when considering the time and money invested in undergraduate tuition, room and board, and possible graduate degrees. The company explains that it used the most-recent education cost data from the National Center for Education Statistics and occupational data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costs for undergraduate education take into account tuition, fees, and room and board of a four-year, in-state, public school with no scholarships, while graduate degrees costs are based off of NCES data regarding tuition and fees for the specific area of study. It made its calculations based on an average loan interest payment of 6 percent. According to the report, here are the 9 worst professions students can choose to pay off their education loans.
9. Political Science Teachers
We begin with post-secondary political science teachers. The level of specialization may seem extreme, but it makes more sense when considering how different areas of teaching require different levels of schooling. To perform this level of teaching, students needs to invest in at least 6 years of undergraduate and graduate education, which will cost them about $68,010. Once they make their median pay of $72,170, they will need to make annual repayments of $7,217 based on the idea that 10 percent of their salary is going into repaying school loans. Lastly, this will take them about 14 years to pay off, assuming 6 percent student loan interest. Sound daunting enough for you? Hold on tight, because unsurprisingly, the number of years one is indebted to the government will only go up as we make our way down the list.
8. Public Relations Specialist
Next up, we have the public relations specialist, who unfortunately will unlikely be able to talk his or her way out of the 14.67 years of debt the profession affords him or her.
It takes a student less time to obtain this PR position compared to that of the political science teacher. However, the profession’s pay is also substantially lower at $54,170. And that means about $5,417 of that money will annually go to the government.
7. English Language/Literature Teacher
Moving down the list, a post-secondary English language/literature teacher takes the next spot. Like our #9 rank, it’ll take students 6 years to obtain the necessary education for this position and it will cost them the same amount — $68,010. But unfortunately for these potential Shakespeare lovers, literature teachers end up making about $12,000 less than political science nerds, posting a median salary of $60,040. This lower income will keep a student from being debt-free for 19.08 years.
The profession that garners the #6 position is that of a zoologist or wildlife biologist. These animal lovers will be in school for six years and it’ll take them 20.58 years to ultimately pay off the $60,010 in debt they’ll acquire. Zoologists post a median salary of $60,040, lower than that of English literature teachers. That means they’ll make annual payments to the government of $5,771.
You may find workers of this next profession with their noses in their books, and who can blame them when it takes 6 years to obtain the necessary education to become a librarian and almost thrice that amount of time to pay the education off. Librarians will eventually make a median income of $55,370, but once again, $5,537 of that money will need to be annually repaid for as long as 22.37 years.
4. Full-Time Teacher
Next up is the profession that Bankrate.com terms a “full-time teacher.” Students who wish to pursue this path will make about $30,000 less than their counterparts who teach post-secondary education, such as #9 on our list. To become a full-time teacher, students are required to be in school for four years, amassing $52,596 in debt. This is substantially less than the cost of a degree for post-secondary teachers. However, as aforementioned, the full-time teachers only make $43,400 — affording them the #4 rank on the list.
Ready for a surprise? Here’s a hint. Like #6, this profession requires students to be animal lovers. Yes, veterinarians are up next. To obtain this reputable position, students need to stay in school for eight years and rack up six digits in debt — as much as $114,268. Unfortunately, a vet’s median income doesn’t do much to justify this cost, posting a figure of $84,460. It will also take vets a whopping 27.92 years to pay off their debt.
Next up, we have the news analyst, reporter, or correspondent. Students taking out loans and pursuing this profession should expect to be indebted to the government for more than 30 years — 31.83 to be exact. That is almost 8 times the amount of time they’ll spend getting the education required for the job. So what affords news reporters this unfortunate rank? The answer is their median income. Bankrate.com reports that they make about $37,090 annually, and $3,709 of that goes into repaying loans. Their four-year education ultimately costs them $54,596.
1. Marriage and Family Therapist
On top is the marriage and family therapist. Unfortunately for students training for this noble profession, after spending 34.67 years wallowing in student debt, they may need some therapy of their own. It takes students pursuing a career in therapy 6 years to obtain the necessary education, and this amounts to $68,010 in tuition costs. Once they graduate and obtain their degrees, they’ll make a median average income of $46,670 — $4,667 of which they’ll hand back over to the government every year.