Your education level can significantly impact your career options and earning potential. College graduates with bachelor’s degrees can typically secure higher-paying jobs than high school graduates. The same is true for people with master’s degrees. Learn about some of the highest-paying master’s degrees to find out if going to graduate school could benefit your career.
What is a masters degree?
A master’s degree is an advanced degree in a specialized field that you can earn after an undergraduate degree. Examples of these include a Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Laws.
Some students transition straight from undergraduate to graduate school because they know their target career path requires a master’s degree and specialized skills. Others return to school after several years in the workforce to further their knowledge and earning potential. On average, it takes two years to three years to complete most master’s degree programs.
A master’s degree may provide you with better job prospects, more career responsibilities, and a higher salary. You might need one to advance past a certain point in your career, particularly if your goal is a senior leadership position.
The average master’s degree takes full-time learners 1.5-2 years to complete. Part-time learners may need three or more years to earn a degree. Programs that include additional graduation requirements, such as action research or a thesis, may take longer than two years. Many of the best master’s programs offer an accelerated option for learners who do not have other responsibilities.
One reason professional earns a master’s degree involves increased salary potential. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the average worker with a master’s degree earns approximately $250 more per week than a worker with a bachelor’s degree. Professionals with a master’s degree also enjoy a lower unemployment rate.
The most valuable master’s degrees have become more popular over the past few years, especially with the number of racial or cultural minorities. This popularity stems from the growth of online learning, which provides tremendous flexibility for working students.
Below are the 15 Masters Degrees That Pay the Most:
1. Information Systems
The best master’s degrees in information systems feature a customizable curriculum that confers an MBA but emphasizes industry-leading business intelligence software. On the job, computer and information systems managers determine their employer’s computer needs, ensure network security, and direct other IT professionals. They also work with technology vendors to attain the best price. Additionally, they stay current on the latest technology trends by performing original research and networking with peers.
- Median Salary: $146,360
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 11%
- Possible Jobs: Information Technology (IT) manager, software engineer, systems analyst
2. Petroleum Engineering
Petroleum engineers with one of the best master’s degrees play a significant role in extracting oil and natural gas from deposits deep below the earth. Typical job duties include surveying drilling sites, creating plans for drilling operations, and ensuring other workers’ safety. They also collaborate with geoscientists to discover potential drilling obstacles and solutions. These professionals often specialize. Drilling engineers oversee the drilling process and limit drilling’s environmental impact, while production engineers run active wells.
- Median Salary: $137,720
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 3%
- Possible Jobs: Petroleum geologist, production engineer, reservoir engineer
The best master’s programs in marketing prepare graduates for different career paths in the marketing field. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers develop promotional campaigns, design website layouts, and work one-on-one with clients to provide marketing advice. These managers strive to attract customers for their clients’ goods or services by leading teams and studying market trends. Promotion managers use a similar skill set to design effective physical and digital advertising.
- Median Salary: $135,900
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 8%
- Possible Jobs: Marketing manager, advertising/promotions manager, creative director
The best finance graduate degrees convey knowledge and skills that students need to succeed as finance directors, finance managers, or financial analysts. These professionals help their employers increase profits by researching financial performance, supervising employees’ work, and analysing financial trends. Other job responsibilities include giving reports to company executives and staying current on regulations and laws that affect their company’s financial health. Additionally, financial professionals can specialize in risk management, insurance, or credit markets.
- Median Salary: $129,890
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 16%
- Possible Jobs: Finance director, finance manager, financial analyst
5. Political Science
Professionals with a master’s degree in political science can select from career paths in politics, local government, and education. No matter their specific job title, they analyse political trends, make forecasts, and produce original research. Some political scientists start a career in academia, instructing students while writing scholarly articles and books. Others use their expertise to advise candidates running for a local, state, or federal office. Additionally, they can work for private companies and organizations that donate to political campaigns and interest groups.
- Median Salary: $122,220
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 5%
- Possible Jobs: City manager, lobbyist, postsecondary teacher
6. Nurse Anaesthesia
Nurse anaesthetists assist other medical professionals when patients undergo anaesthesia during a surgery or other procedure. Before a procedure, they talk with patients and their families concerning medications, allergies, and other pertinent medical information. During the procedure, they administer anaesthesia and closely monitor patients’ vital signs. Doing so allows them to adjust the amount of anaesthesia medication so that patients do not wake up or experience pain.
- Median Salary: $115,800
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 26%
- Possible Jobs: Nurse anaesthetist
7. Physician Assistant Studies
The best master’s degrees for aspiring physician assistants prepare professionals to work alongside physicians and provide medical care to underserved communities. Like nurse practitioners, they can diagnose illnesses and prescribe appropriate medications. Other duties include taking a patient’s medical history, giving vaccinations, and keeping current with best practices by completing continuing education courses. Each state regulates physician assistants’ specific duties and whether a physician must supervise them.
- Median Salary: $112,260
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 31%
- Possible Jobs: Physician assistant
8. Computer Science
One of the most valuable master’s degrees, computer science trains learners for careers as computer and information research scientists or software developers. Research scientists solve computing problems, develop and modify coding languages, and perform experiments to test new software. Like academics, they publish their findings in professional journals. Software developers work with clients to create and update software. The job requires workers to collaborate with other developers to design new features and troubleshoot problems.
- Median Salary: $105,590
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 21%
- Possible Jobs: Computer and information research scientist, software developer
Individuals with a top graduate degree in economics can pursue a career as an economist, data analyst, or financial analyst. These professionals use mathematics skills and original research to identify economic trends and make predictions. They work in both the private and public sectors, advising elected officials and top executives. Economists who specialize in a topic such as healthcare, business, or logistics can become operations research analysts. These analysts study a client’s financial records and interview workers to make proposals for long-term growth.
- Median Salary: $105,020
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 8%
- Possible Jobs: Economist, data analyst, financial analyst
10. Healthcare Administration
Professionals who possess one of the best graduate degrees in healthcare administration can positively impact patient outcomes. They strive to improve efficiency, maintain safety standards, and train staff. Many managers have a background in medicine, allowing them to work with doctors, nurses, and other colleagues effectively. Their success depends on keeping current with the latest laws and regulations that affect the medical field.
- Median Salary: $100,980
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 18%
- Possible Jobs: Healthcare administrator, executive director, chief nursing officer
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Mathematicians use their expertise to conduct research and instruct students and clients. Depending on their specific job title, they can create accurate surveys, advise top executives, and collaborate with experts in other industries to solve problems. Typical career fields for mathematicians include government, healthcare, and academia. The latter allows professionals to contribute to the mathematics field while instructing undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, in the research and development field, mathematicians work alongside designers and engineers to make safer products.
- Median Salary: $92,030
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 30%
- Possible Jobs: Mathematician, software engineer, statistician
12. Physical Therapy
When people become ill or suffer a physical injury, they may need a physical therapist to regain mobility and independence. In a clinical or home setting, physical therapists review patients’ medical history, create a personalized care plan, and lead patients in exercises they can later perform on their own or with the help of a family member. They collaborate with other medical professionals, such as patients’ primary care physicians, to develop the best care plan.
- Median Salary: $89,440
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 22%
- Possible Jobs: Physical therapist
13. Occupational Therapy
Like physical therapists, occupational therapists help patients regain mobility and independence. However, the two professions differ in that occupational therapists focus on daily tasks that include feeding, dressing, and bathing. In addition to helping patients master these skills, occupational therapists visit patients’ homes and workplaces to identify obstacles and suggest solutions that can increase patients’ quality of life. Additionally, they can refer patients to other medical professionals who can offer additional services.
- Median Salary: $84,950
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 18%
- Possible Jobs: Occupational therapist
14. Civil Engineering
Construction projects of all types rely on civil engineers with a master’s degree. These engineers develop construction plans that involve performing environmental surveys, attaining proper permits, and selecting appropriate construction materials. They also make proposals to local, state, and federal governments and take questions from elected officials and the public. Civil engineers can specialize in areas such as construction, transportation, and geotechnical. The latter refers to expertise concerning a build site’s geological conditions.
- Median Salary: $87,060
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 6%
- Possible Jobs: Civil engineer, structural engineer, project manager
15. Educational Leadership/Educational Administration
The best master’s degrees for educational leadership/educational administration instil in-demand skills that administrators need to manage a college or university. Postsecondary education administrators, a field that encompasses deans and admissions administrators, make decisions that impact their school’s functioning. Depending on their job title, they may decide which applicants to admit, grant tenure to professors, and ensure that learners meet graduation requirements. Finally, many professionals in educational leadership/educational administration possess teaching experience at the postsecondary level.
- Median Salary: $95,410
- Job Outlook, 2018-28: 7%
- Possible Jobs: Postsecondary education administrator, dean, admissions administrator
Here we have them- the top 15 Master’s Degrees that pay the most. Pursue master’s degree programs along these paths if you want to secure high-paying jobs after your studies.