Is That College Degree Useless?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study lists the most useless and useful college degrees. Chattahoochee Technical College's Mountain View campus disagrees with NACE's placement of a degree on the 'useless' list.

In a struggling job market, people return to school in hopes of graduating to more opportunities. If you're one of those people, you might want to research employer hiring for your chosen career path.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study, which surveyed almost 1,000 employers on their future hiring plans and many areas of study, lists the most useless college degrees.

Here's a list of the top five most useless degrees:

  • Agriculture (crops, plant diseases, animal husbandry)
  • Fashion Design
  • Theater
  • Animal Science (animal breeding, nutrition)
  • Horticulture (crop and fruit science, agricultural business, plant care)

But is the study accurate?

Northeast Cobb's disagrees with the study's statistics on Horticulture. It offers a Horticulture program that focuses on the landscaping and green industry more than the farming and agriculture sector. Students learn about pruning, maintenance, plant care, design, arboriculture, and many other topics that are specific to the needs of those living in urban and suburban areas. The courses and curriculum are designed for both those who would like to work in some of the large landscaping companies and those who want to start their own businesses.

Nationally, unemployment numbers in the landscape maintenance areas echo the general unemployment figures, according to instructor Bejie Herrin. However, at CTC, recent graduates are finding jobs more easily with solid skills and networking opportunities. She estimates the college’s placement rate to be in the 90 percent or higher range.

“One of the benefits of studying horticulture at the 2-year or associate degree level is that the program trains students in job skills that students can use in the real world immediately,” said Herrin. “We are currently getting more requests and job postings from employers than we have students.”

Majors with the highest percentage of surveyed employers planning to recruit college graduates:

  • Business: 83 percent
  • Accounting: nearly 60 percent
  • Computer and Information Science: nearly 60 percent

About NACE's Job Outlook 2012

The study takes a look at hiring projections for the Class of 2012. It lists which majors are in demand and how employers view new graduates. The study is based on responses for 244 organizations that hire new college graduates. It also looks at expectations for spring 2012 recruiting, employer compensation plans (salaries, signing bonuses, and benefits), and what employers look for in candidates. 

The study is free to NACE members (access through www.naceweb.org/research/), or can be purchased at a cost of $49.95 by nonmembers by calling 800-544-5272.

About NACE

Established in 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated. The professional association connects more than 5,200 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, and more than 3,000 HR/staffing professionals focused on college relations and recruiting. 

The association's mission is to facilitate the employment of the college educated.


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