Choosing a degree to complete is one of the most important decisions that one takes. The subject you select to dedicate four years for an undergraduate degree and another two or more years for a master’s degree determines your career and job opportunities, as well as your income.
The degree you get from your undergraduate studies is important, but even more imperative, is the one you choose for your graduate studies. A Master’s Degree is usually the final educational degree that people complete. Only those who want to go into academics and research dedicate another three to five years to getting a doctoral degree or PhD. That is why, what you choose to do your Master’s Degree in shapes what you will be working on the rest of your life and you should choose wisely.
We will go through a few reasons on why you should go to grad school, the 20 highest paying master’s degrees, and how to actually choose the best master’s degree.
Why should I go to Grad School?
If you are unsure of whether to attend graduate school or not, then you should think about your goals and career aspirations, as well as how grad school aligns with your current employment and family situation. In addition, you should also consider the time, effort, and expenses that go into completing a Master’s Degree and then make a decision.
Having a Master’s Degree is extremely beneficial though, for the following reasons:
- To specialize in your field of interest
- Increase your salary
- Get promoted
- Stand out in the job market
- Create a network
- Become an academic
- Change career paths
- Gain recognition and prestige
For details on each one of these reasons and more on why you should attend graduate school read our detailed guide.
How to choose the best Master’s Degrees for the Future?
Increasingly, universities are offering more and more types of degrees in different subjects and topics. When you visit the degree or course catalog of any university, it only makes you more confused and it’s extremely difficult to make a selection. The added stress of knowing what an important decision you are about to make also contributes to leaving you unable to choose a major.
The first thing to know is that you are not the only person feeling stuck. Almost all students encounter the difficulty of choosing a degree, especially a graduate one.
You can follow the tips below and ask some questions to yourself to help guide you through your decision making process:
- Think about how a graduate degree aligns with your long term goals
- What are your expectations regarding grad school?
- How much time and effort can you dedicate to grad school?
- How will grad school impact your financial well being?
- What are your career options without a master’s degree?
- What are your interests for a Master’s Degree topic?
- Check out the Best Master’s Degrees for the Future
- How will grad school impact your salary?
- What is the job growth for the master’s degree of your choice?
Only after you’ve considered all of these questions will you be able to decide what to do your graduate degree on. Besides the best master’s degrees for the future, we have also compiled a list of the 15 highest paying graduate degrees. Each degree will have a brief outline of what it entails, what job positions you can become involved in, the median or average annual salary, and the occupational growth rate based on data from Payscale and the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
15 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees
1. Engineering Management
The median annual salary for this degree is $134,730 and job prospects are expected to increase 2% from 2014 to 2024.
A Master’s Degree in Engineering Management combines the aspects of engineering and business skills. Engineering Managers take classes in Managerial Science, Systems Engineering, Finance and Marketing, Materials Planning, etc.
The job positions that a person with an Engineering Management degree can take are:
- Cost Systems Analyst
- Engineering Project Manager
- Construction Management Engineer
- Senior Lead Analyst
- Industrial Management Engineer
In general, engineering managers are in charge of planning, directing, and coordinating activities in the companies where they work. The main duties of someone in such job positions are to:
- Coordinate, hire, and train staff and managers
- Compile budget proposals
- Lead the planning and development of new products and designs
- Compile and continuously revise work methodology and materials
The median salary for this degree is $127,560 per year and job prospects are expected to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024.
A Master’s Degree in Marketing entails intense studying for one to two years. Marketing students take classes in Advanced Market Research, Brand Management, Pricing Strategies, Digital and Online Marketing, Data Analytics, etc.
With this degree you will be able to get job positions as a:
- Marketing Manager
- Marketing Director
- Senior Brand Manager
The median annual salary is $121,750 and job growth is expected to be 7% for 2014 to 2024.
A Master’s in Finance will enable students to become highly proficient in financial aspects of managing businesses, banks, and other financial corporations. During his degree, students take classes in Advanced Financial Analysis, Development of Financial Models, Compilation of Financial Statements, etc.
Job positions that those with Master’s in Finance can take are:
- Chief Finance Officer (CFO)
- Vice President of Finance
- Financial Manager
- Finance Director
- Senior Financial Analyst
4. Telecom Engineering
The master degree average salary is $119,100 per year with a projected growth of 14% until 2022.
In Telecom Engineering, students gain skills which relate to both the policy side of telecommunications as well as how to improve the industry through technology. They take courses in Network Engineering, Business Law and Regulations, Telecommunications Networks, Telecom Operating Systems, etc.
Job positions include:
- Telecommunications Specialist
- Electronic Media Manager
- IT Manager
- Systems Engineer
5. Human Computer Interaction
The median annual salary is in the range of $115,200 with job prospects expected to increase by 22% until 2022.
This Master’s Degree is highly technologically involved with students learning how to design and produce systems which make the interaction with humans easy and useful. They take classes in Application Design, User Experience Development, Social Science and Research, Information Systems, etc.
The job positions they can take are:
- Product Designer
- Visual Designer
- Product Manager
- User Experience Researcher
The median annual salary of Master’s in Physics is $114,870 and job growth is expected to be on average 7% until 2024.
Physics is a scientific field with many applications in the real world. A Master’s Degree in this field and based on specializations can open employment opportunities in a variety of positions, starting from working in the public or private sector, in research and development labs, in universities as researchers or professors and so on.
The average annual salary is $113,400 and the profession is expected to experience high growth of 15% by 2022.
The field of Biostatistics combines health and statistics. People who graduate from this field go on to research causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments to diseases through the use of statistics. In addition, they use data to lead policy decision making in public and private health facilities. Common job positions include:
- Data Scientist
- Professor or Researcher
8. Business Administration
The average salary for this degree is $113,000 per year with a growth of 11% by 2022.
Masters in Business Administration experience some of the highest graduate school enrollments from students. They take classes in all aspects of managing businesses such as Finance and Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain Management, Entrepreneurship, etc.
Job positions with an MBA include:
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- Operations Managers
- Marketing Directors
9. Computer Science
The average salary for computer scientists is $111,840 per year and by 2024 it is expected that job prospects will increase by 11%.
The field of computer science is one of the top masters degrees in demand. Students learn the intricate details in both the theory and practice of software design, database development, computer languages, algorithms, network security, operating systems, etc. Job positions include:
- Application Analyst
- Database administrator
- Business Analyst
- Systems Developer
10. Electrical Engineering Management
The average salary for this master’s degree is $111,807 per year with a predicted 5% increase in job prospects by 2022.
A Master’s in Electrical Engineering Management serves students to gain skills and knowledge in both the engineering and management perspectives. They learn computer aided design, control systems, nanotechnology, quantum information processing, antenna networks, etc.
Career paths that students can follow are:
- Electrical Engineer
- Broadcast Engineer
- Computer and instrumentation engineer
11. Nurse Anesthesia
This job position yields a median annual salary of $107,460 and its expected job growth is an astounding 31% for 2014 to 2024.
Degrees and jobs related to nursing are predicted to become some of the highest paying master’s degrees in health care. The nurse anesthesia master’s degree qualifies students to work in various medical facilities and offer anesthetic services. They review patient histories, consult with physicians, determine and monitor anesthetic levels and so on.
12. Applied Mathematics
The median annual salary for this degree is $105,810 with a projected growth of 21% during 2014 to 2024.
Mathematics is a subject that many people shy away from. It is scientific and complex, but those who complete a master’s degree in applied mathematics not only get a high salary but can work in many sectors. During their degree in applied mathematics, students learn scientific computing, numerical analysis, or mathematical biology. Their work can be useful in business, government, economics, etc.
13. Mechanical Engineering
The median annual salary is $105,000 with growth of 5% by 2024.
Those who choose to complete a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering become skilled at designing, producing, and using various machines. They take courses in mechanical design, statistics, engineering materials, manufacturing engineering, optimization, etc. Possible job positions include mechanical engineer, project engineer, etc.
14. Software Engineer
This degree is also paid well with a median annual salary of $102,280 and a 17% forecasted growth by the year of 2024.
As we can see from this list, engineering careers are all highly paid. Another type of it is software engineering. During the master’s degree in this subject, students gain advanced technical skills in designing, testing, and maintaining software applications. They can apply them in various industries and sectors through working as software engineers, systems designers, etc.
15. Information Science
Getting a master’s degree in Information Science can give you a median annual salary of $101,800 with growth of 15% by 2022.
The final master’s degree which makes the list of the highest paying degrees is Information Science. Students gain skills in analyzing and organizing information and data. They work with data in order to help organizations make informed decisions and pass good policies.