23 Master’s Degrees That WON’T Land a High-Paying Job

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In today’s pricey reality, simply following your passion to select a career path isn’t enough. Many aim for a master’s degree, seeing it as a key to unlock better-paying job opportunities and alleviate financial burdens. 

Yet, considering the steep costs and potential debt of graduate education, several degrees fall short in leading to well-compensated positions. Here are 23 with the lowest payoffs for those seeking financial gain alongside their passion.

Fine Arts

Chasing a Master’s in Fine Arts is often a labor of love, not money. With a tough job market, artists frequently hustle on the side to fuel their passion.


A Master’s in Music is a journey of passion, but the road to a financially rewarding job in this field is filled with competition and uncertainty.

Theology and Religious Studies

Those drawn to spiritual and religious studies seek more than monetary gains, facing a job market with few openings and modest pay.


Educators shape minds with their passion, yet the financial rewards in this noble field often don’t match the impact they make.

Social Work

In social work, the rewards are measured in lives touched, not dollars earned, with professionals facing modest pay for their significant efforts.


A Master’s in Humanities enriches the mind but translating that into a well-paying job can be tricky due to the field’s vast diversity.

Mass Media/Communications

In the crowded world of Mass Media and Communications, standing out to land a well-paying job is a daunting task despite the demand for content.

English Literature

Lovers of literature pursue their master’s with zeal, yet the path to a well-paying job in teaching or publishing is not guaranteed.

Clinical Psychology

Pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Psychology means a commitment to helping others, though it may not immediately lead to a well-paying job.

Political Science and Government

A Master’s in Political Science opens doors to public, private, and nonprofit sectors, but landing a lucrative job can be as complex as politics itself.

Athletic Training

Athletic trainers are essential in sports, focusing on preventing and treating injuries, but the niche market means good jobs are rare and often not well-paid.


A Master’s in Anthropology dives deep into human societies and cultures, promising academic and fieldwork adventures. Yet, snagging one of those rare, fulfilling jobs can be as challenging as unearthing an ancient artifact.


History buffs dive into the past with a Master’s, uncovering stories that shape the future. Yet, the academic treasure hunt often leads to a competitive job market with modest rewards.


Future architects dream of shaping skylines, but the path from a Master’s degree to a well-compensated position is filled with challenges and competition.


In the digital age, Journalism grads chase the truth in an industry where traditional roles dwindle and salaries often don’t reflect the risks taken.

Elementary Education

Elementary educators ignite young minds, yet despite their critical role, the financial acknowledgment hardly matches the responsibility and dedication required.

Library Science

Librarians navigate the crossroads of digital transformation and budget limits, impacting job availability and pay despite their key role.

Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counselors make independence a reality for many, yet the financial rewards often don’t match the profound impact of their work.

Marriage and Family Therapy

In the growing field of mental health, therapists in marriage and family face a paradox of high demand and modest initial earnings.

Environmental Studies

The green revolution needs Environmental Studies experts, yet the job market’s fierce competition and modest pay can dampen the enthusiasm.

Museum Studies

The world of museums offers a canvas for education and preservation, but for Museum Studies graduates, securing a rewarding role is a formidable challenge.

Interior Design

Interior Designers have the power to transform spaces, but in a field where income fluctuates with market trends, financial stability can be elusive.

Gender Studies

Gender Studies grads bring critical insights into gender dynamics but face a job market where their specialized focus doesn’t always lead to high-paying opportunities.

Environmental Policy

Environmental Policy experts push for sustainable change, yet face a competitive job scene where passion outweighs paycheck.


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