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'Useless' Degree, Awesome Job

Summer is here, and along with high temperatures, shorts and flip-flops, another seasonal phenomenon is taking place — college students are graduating, and they’re taking their newly minted degrees into the real world in the hopes of landing a job. But what are their chances of finding work in their fields, or even finding jobs that don’t require them to ask if you want fries with that?

Job seekers between ages 16 to 24 who are not enrolled in school and have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher face an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, according to May 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is below the national average, it still indicates that recent graduates face an uphill climb when finding their place in the job market, and it suggests that they should play it safe when choosing a major.

According to a study conducted at Georgetown University, recent arts-degree graduates in faced an average jobless rate of 11.1 percent and an average starting salary of $30,000. With numbers like these, an arts degree probably seems "useless" to many people. But the fact remains that many people have gone on to great success after earning degrees in fields that many people dismiss as “useless.”

This doesn’t just apply to those who graduated with master’s degrees in ancient Babylonian astrology and abandoned them to become hedge fund managers. Many people with degrees in music, literature, sculpture and more have taken what they learned in those disciplines and applied it to careers that are rewarding, engaging and, yes, high-paying.

Read ahead to learn about professionals who earned degrees thought by some to be “useless” and found themselves in amazing careers.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 21 June 2012

Mike Kemp | Blend Images | Getty Images