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Highest Paying Master’s Degrees – Is A Master’s in Your Field Worth it?

October 09, 2015 - Posted to Dissertation and its parts

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Highest Paying Master’s Degrees – Is A Master’s in Your Field Worth it?

Given the cost of graduate school, students are thinking long and hard about their options. They seem to be in a “Catch 22” in this economy. If they terminate their educations after the Bachelor’s degree, the job market is not that great, especially in certain fields. On the other hand, if they choose to go on to graduate school in order to make themselves more “employable,” then they face even greater debt that may eat up the additional income they may able to earn for years to come. Part of making this decision should be looking at the projections for earning potential with that master’s degree. With that in mind, here is a pretty complete listing that will show you the highest paying Master’s degrees.

The “Usual Suspects” Still Top the List

The highest paying jobs with a Master’s degree continue to be in science, engineering, and medicine. Entry level positions that range from $70,000 and up include the following:

  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Operations Research
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse

The Second Layer of Master’s Degrees that Pay is a Mixture

Here are still found some science/technology careers but also some of the “softer” degree fields. These careers typically have entry level salaries between $60,000 and $70,000:

  • Marketing and Management
  • Geology
  • MBA
  • Most Other Business Areas (Finance, Accounting, Operations and Logistics, etc.)
  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Civil Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Telecommunications

The Third Layer – Primarily Non-Scientific/”Soft” Areas

This group of Master’s degree holders can expect to begin in the $40,000 - $50,000 range:

  • Architecture
  • Mass Communications
  • Journalism
  • Public administration
  • Education Administration
  • Graphic Design
  • Sociology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Fine Arts

Some Master’s Degrees, given the entry level salaries, in comparison to the same profession with just a Bachelor’s degree, result in only a minor income difference. These include most teachers, especially early childhood educators, restaurant and hospitality professionals, and theology/divinity.

The Tradeoffs

Some college grads today have hard choices to make. They have to weigh the cost of graduate school against the potential earning, not just at the entry level but in mid and late career phases as well. And, given the rapid pace of change, it is quite possible that the jobs for which young people are training today may not, indeed exist 10 years from now. Then it will be back to school again to develop current skills for the new careers that will be available.

Other college grads have no choice if they want to be employed in their professions. For example, a Bachelor’s degree in sociology will render a person unemployable except in only the lowest of positions with extremely low pay. Getting that Master’s and obtaining the MSW certification means a huge boost in income at the starting level and over a lifetime. The same applies to a degree in psychology – a Master’s is the minimum required for a good-paying career position. And these programs are very rigorous, often requiring major research works. When those become oppressive, these students may opt for help from a dissertation writing service just to get through and still have a starting salary in the lower tier.

Making decisions about graduate school will take some serious thought, analysis, and weighing of pros and cons. 

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