NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you’re considering a degree in architecture, you may want to start thinking of a backup plan.
Those who majored in architecture as an undergraduate had by far the toughest time finding work in the post-recession labor market due largely to the decline of the construction industry, according to a new report from Georgetown University that analyzed the job status of recent college graduates between the ages of 22 and 26 in 2009. The unemployment rate for architecture majors was nearly 14%, well above the average rate of 8.9% for those with bachelor’s degrees.
Aspiring architects weren’t the only ones who struggled after college. The unemployment rate for students who pursued a major within the arts was more than 11%, with certain specific majors like fine arts and film coming closer to 13%. Students who studied the arts also earned just $30,000 a year upon graduating, tying for the worst-paying field of study.
On the other hand, students who took up more technical majors in college like engineering, education and health fared significantly better. The unemployment rate for recent graduates who majored in health and education was just 5.4%. Engineers had a slightly higher unemployment rate (7.5%), but these graduates also had an average salary of $55,000, the highest on the list.
The reason for the lower unemployment rates, according to the report, is because these majors offer the specialization needed to pursue many of today’s fastest-growing professions.
“Majors such as Healthcare, Education and those related to technical occupations tend to have lower unemployment rates than more general majors, like Humanities and Liberal Arts, where graduates are broadly dispersed across occupations and industries,” the report notes.
Of course, being too specialized can backfire if the industry is crumbling, as many architecture majors have unfortunately discovered, which is why the report urges students to do their research in advance.