Some of the most successful photographers also have a lot of expertise in other fields.
For example, I think George Lepp has a degree in biology or natural science, although his honorary masters degree is from Brooks Institute. I know Tom Mangelsen's bachelor degree is in biology, although he studied business before that. Both are world renowned wildlife photographers. Many in the wildlife photography field work closely with various research scientists, supporting scientific studies and such, too. It's an entre to some photo opportunities they otherwise might never see.
I know several equestrian photographers who have background as competitors, breeders, judging, and often the education to back it up.
It is difficult to say if photography will be a viable career field in the future. Probably some aspects of it will survive, but it's changed dramatically in the past 10 to 15 years. I really have a hard time predicting where it might go. Photogaphers have to wear more and more hats. They have to be good writers, teachers and business people, as well as skillful shooters.
A lot of the entry level work is flooded with wannabes: Wedding phography, local event/sports photography, too. Stock photography is no longer as viable a sideline as it once was, due to micro stock flooding the market with cheap images from amateurs willing to sell use of their images for pennies.
Blame cheaper cameras that are so automated almost anyone can make a good image, if they just set a high frame rate to 'spray and pray'. It's the 1000 monkees in a room with 1000 typewriters and an unlimited supply of paper (although now it's probably with laptops instead)... eventually one will write the Gettysburg address word for word.
Print media used to cultivate photographers. Now nearly all print media are struggling mightily just to survive and using cheaper and cheaper means of getting photos to enhance their content, few staff photographers any longer.... stock, freelancers, reporters with cameras (still + video for their websites)... even begging for free submissions from their readers! It's pretty sad.
Not long ago the Smithsonian was advertising for a Director of Photography. Their requirements were amazing... basically they wanted someone at the top of their game... and offered all of $65,000 a year for it. I'm not sure that's much above the poverty line in Washington DC. Of course, having the Smithsonian on your resume might be worth a fortune later in your career!
What I would suggest is either find an area of study where you can work as a photographer too, such as the example of a biology/natural science background for a wildlife photographer.... and/or get a business/marketing degree. Later if you wish pursue a degree in photography... Or make it your minor and practice intently, while focusing on that other degree in a field where you have a high level of interest.
I think the most successful photographers in the future will be the ones with a lot of specialization. But, at the same time you have to be open to expanding your repertoire into other areas in case your area of specialization dries up. I have a friend who is well known as an architectural photographer, has made a nice living from it (among other things). Intense, low cost competition in residential architectural photography now has largely eliminated that market for him. He has to branch into other areas, and is fortunate to have other niches he is working or has prepared himself to work.
On the other hand, commercial architecture might still be a thriving field. There was a post here recently by a photographer who works in an architectural firm, relating to shooting commercial buildings. His (her?) "day job" is as an architect, and the photography is a sideline. But if they wanted to pursue the photography more aggressively, I can see were this background would really make them stand out among the competition. He (or she) has "inside knowledge" of the business.... how architects like to see their work portrayed, what's important in a building that others might overlook, what the deadlines and pressures are within the architectural firm and what needs they might not be telling the photographer about, that they might suggest to further meet the client's needs.
Now, all types of construction - both commercial and residential - are slow in the U.S. in the current economic climate. So there is bound to be less work to go around. The photographer with the most expertise, inside knowledge, a good business plan and solid marketing efforts will be the one who survives.
Ultimately, do what you love and you will usually see that everything else falls in line. If you have a couple fields you feel passionate about, photography being one of them, you will be all that much more formidable.