Great quick article on the “Worst-Paying College Degrees of 2011” from Monster.com. These numbers were based on things in the USA. But I doubt things elsewhere drift too far from this.
Rather than repeat the article (which is linked above anyway), consider the following from this top 10 list:
Working and caring for the young or helpless:
1. Child and Family Studies
2. Elementary Education
3. Social Work
5. Special Education
9. Public Health
Additionally, there are some that often, but don’t exclusively, focus on the needy:
6. Recreation and Leisure Studies
7. Religious Studies and Theology
The final three are the only ones that (typically) are not focused on the needy:
4. Culinary Arts
8. Athletic Training
It is pretty clear from this list that caring for the young and the needy does not pay well in society. This includes Religious Studies and Theology.
Of course, maybe that is the way it should be. There have been times when “going into religion” was considered a good way to make a living… even if the person was not dedicated to serve God and his fellow man. Maybe, if the sacrificial nature of service was removed from these jobs, they would be corrupted. Maybe it is good that missionaries commonly struggle to survive. Perhaps if missions paid well… something valuable would be lost in the process.
I don’t know. I certainly got paid a lot better when I was a military officer and when I was a mechanical engineer than I get now (but I truly have no reason to complain). I still think it is a shame that our society rewards behavior and jobs that (sometimes) are self-serving and unnecessary, over ones that (I think, at least) are critical.