Most of those who choose to further their education do so because of the opportunity to make more money. However, not all graduate degrees lead to more money. Some master’s degrees, such as education, music and social work, do not promise the big bucks. For those looking to further their education and increase their earning power as well, here are some of the highest-paying jobs that require a master’s degree.
Many jobs in the medical field offer high pay and dentistry is no exception. Dentists earn a median salary of nearly $147,000 per year. Growth of more than 20 percent is expected by 2020.
Engineering is a hot field and with constant changes in technology, electrical engineers are in high demand. Electrical engineers salaries may start in the mid-$50,000s, but quickly increase into six figures with experience. The median annual pay is $120,000.
Many companies are in need of people who are good with money and numbers so they can keep track of expenses, budgets and profit. Those with a master’s degree in finance may start off with salaries in the $40,000 range, but they can reap the benefits of a graduate degree quickly, with salaries exceeding $80,000. A chief financial officer (CFO) can earn $270,000 or more.
Those with a graduate degree in physics can earn six-figure salaries as physicists, engineers and scientists. The median pay for someone with a master’s in physics is $113,000, with some earning close to $140,000 annually. Those who choose to teach physics, however, are at the lower end of the scale, earning between $37,000 and $65,500 per year.
Because of the importance of computers in the lives of most people, computer science is often a lucrative career to pursue. Senior software engineers and programmers, however, earn the most. They start at more than $75,000 annually and can top out at close to $140,000.
Many companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency, two things that increase profits. A management consultant often works with various companies to improve their bottom lines. Depending on the size of the company, the average salary can exceed $114,000.
A civil engineering degree can open the door to many careers, including civil engineer, structural engineer, project engineer and project manager. These careers may start relatively low, at the $40,000 and $50,000 range, but quickly increase depending on the company and level of experience. Some careers can top $106,000.
Mechanical engineering is a broad field and although it seems to be growing slowly, there is money to be made for those who keep on top of current technology. The starting salary is around $46,000, while a senior mechanical engineer can earn $100,000 or more.
For those who do not want to commit to many years of medical school, a physician assistant may be the next best thing. With people living longer, medical careers are in high demand. A physician assistant with a master’s degree can start out at $68,000 per year and top out at six figures.
As long as there are rules in our society, lawyers will always be needed to uphold the law and ensure the legal rights of Americans. Depending on experience and specialty, a law degree can net a median salary of $113,000.
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College guidance counselor Sally Peterson has written and contributed to many articles about jobs and education, such as “Top Careers for Master’s Degrees“.