A master’s degree can open many career doors and lead to a six-figure salary, provided you choose to study the right field. Not only can a master’s degree help you advance in your field, it’s a basic job requirement for success in many fields. But the average cost of covering in-state grad school tuition and living expenses is around $30,000 a year, and the average student finishes his or her undergraduate education with about $29,600 worth of student loan debt. That means that the cost of a graduate education can easily leave the newly-minted expert with more than $100,000 worth of debt.
Once you finally finish grad school, you want to be sure that you’ll get a job — and not just any job, but a job in your field that will pay you enough to make those student loan payments and live comfortably. Choose a degree in a well-paying field with lots of job openings. No matter what your skills or interests, you should be able to find a degree, and a career, that suits you. Let’s take a look at some of the best-paying master’s degrees you can earn right now.
If you want to be an engineer, you have a lot of options, and they all lead to well-paid careers. Electrical engineers make about $121,000 a year, while chemical engineers make about $117,000 a year. Mechanical and civil engineers make less money, but you could still bring home $105,000 or $97,100 respectively. Petroleum engineers make perhaps the highest salary in the engineering field, at about $130,280 per year. They’re also in very high demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts that the industry will add 9,800 new jobs over the next 10 years, for a 26 percent growth rate.
2. Computer Science
Thanks to ever-advancing modern technologies, you’d be hard-pressed to find a field with a more positive outlook and better wages than computer science. A master’s in Computer Science will qualify you for a range of jobs, including computer programmer, network systems administrator, information security analyst, web developer, and software applications developer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects huge numbers of new job openings in most computer science-related fields over the next 10 years. You could earn more than $124,000 a year, depending on your specific position.
Whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse, health care providers are always in demand. Changes in health care laws and the mass retirement of aging Baby Boomers have conspired to create a greater-than-ever need for qualified physicians and nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners make an average of about $96,460 per year, while family-practice physicians make about $161,000 a year and specialists make even more.
If you want to enter medicine but aren’t interested in becoming a physician, surgeon, or nurse, you could consider dentistry — dentists make about $142,000 a year. Dentistry is expected to add 23,300 new positions over the next decade, and the health care industry is expected to add 47,600 new positions for nurse practitioners and 123,300 new positions for physicians and surgeons of all kinds.
4. Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
When you get a master’s in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, you’ll be qualified to do a range of jobs including human resources management, law enforcement, criminal justice, health care administration, organizational development, labor relations, or government work. You’ll develop skills that can be transferred across a range of different fields, so you won’t have to worry about your position becoming obsolete. As a health care administrator you can expect to earn an average of $88,580 per year in a field that’s expected to add 73,300 new jobs over the next 10 years. And that’s just one of the options you’ll have.
Physics sounds like a very academic field, but it doesn’t always have to be. With a master’s degree in physics, you’ll be just as valuable in the corporate world as in the academic one. You can work on research and development for big corporations, like Siemens, Rolls-Royce, or Philips. You’ll find plenty of job opportunities in the energy sector, working on reducing carbon emissions and developing new sources of renewable energy. You might even become a science communicator, writing and speaking on scientific issues for the public or for other scientists. Teaching, accountancy, patent work, law, and management consultancy are just a few of the opportunities available for physics degree holders. As a physicist, you’ll earn an average of $106,360 per year.
Grad school is expensive, but if you choose the right degree, you can bring home a paycheck that will more than cover those student loan bills. Choose your profession carefully, and you’ll enjoy a lifetime of both rewarding work and financial stability.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.