For example, if you have a bachelor’s degree in business, you might earn around $60,695 in 2022.
But if you have a master’s degree in the same field, you could make about $71,021. And for engineers, those with a bachelor’s degree might earn $73,922 in 2022, which is good.
However, those with a master’s degree in engineering can make even more, around $85,096.
In some cases, getting a post-graduate degree can increase your earnings by a lot. Below, we’ll talk about 10 master’s degrees for high pay.
All the information we’re sharing is from 2021, which is the latest data available, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Getting an advanced degree can mean a big pay raise compared to having just a bachelor’s degree.
- Even if a job doesn’t require a degree, you might still need a special certification or an associate’s degree.
- Many of the highest-paying jobs are in healthcare, like doctors, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.
- Law, business, and engineering are also fields where getting an advanced degree can lead to a well-paying job.
- On the coasts, the minimum hourly pay rates are the highest.
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What you'll learn:
Doctors are among the highest-paid professionals, with a median yearly salary of about $235,930. This isn’t surprising since healthcare jobs are some of the best-paying careers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of physician and surgeon jobs is expected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030, which is slower than the average for all jobs.
Specialized doctors earn even more. Anesthesiologists, for example, make around $331,190 on average. Surgeons take home an average of $294,520, while obstetricians and gynecologists typically earn about $296,210.
However, keep in mind that becoming a specialist takes more time. Medical school lasts four years, and you’ll spend at least three more years in residency, all of which come after four years of undergraduate college.
2. Nurse Anesthetist
You can earn a great salary in the medical field without being a medical doctor. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), who assist in administering anesthesia during surgeries, make an average of $195,610 per year.
To become one, you’ll need to start as a registered nurse, complete a specialized master’s degree program, and fulfill other requirements. Afterward, you can take the exam to earn the CRNA designation.
The field of nursing, including roles like nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, is expected to grow by a whopping 45% by 2030, making these jobs highly in demand.
Dentists enjoy not only the satisfaction of helping people maintain healthy smiles but also a comfortable income.
As of 2021, the median salary for a dentist was $160,370, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job prospects are looking bright, especially with the aging U.S. population.
Orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons make even more, with median pay of $208,000 annually or higher.
Dentists in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Oregon, and New Hampshire earned the highest salaries.
4. IT Management
Companies are in growing need of individuals who can strategize and execute their technology plans.
This demand has led to a median salary of $159,010 for positions like information-technology managers and IT project managers in 2021, as reported by the BLS.
However, in many larger corporations, a master’s degree in the field may be required to take on these roles.
Becoming a pharmacist is a challenging journey. It involves earning a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, which includes demanding coursework in biology, chemistry, and pathology.
Graduates must also pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX), which is mandatory for practicing in all 50 states.
Despite the hard work, pharmacists are rewarded with a respectable income. In 2021, their median pay was $128,570, based on BLS data.
Law careers remain some of the highest-paid in the country. To become a lawyer, you need a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, typically a three-year post-graduate program for full-time students. Most states also require you to pass a bar exam.
The median salary for an attorney was $127,990 in 2021, according to BLS data. Your law school and whether you work in public or private practice can significantly impact your pay.
Graduates from schools like Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, and Yale University tend to report higher earnings.
7. Physician (or Nurse) Assistant
Due to a shortage of physicians, hospitals and clinics increasingly rely on physician assistants and nurse practitioners to manage patient care. Both careers require a master’s degree and state licensure.
Physician assistants earn a median salary of $121,530, while nurse practitioners make an average of $120,680.
The job outlook is excellent, with employment expected to grow well above average by 2030, increasing by 31% over the next several years.
A post-graduate degree in economics opens doors to lucrative careers such as policy analysis, market research, and teaching. In 2021, the median pay for an economist was $105,630, with median wages reaching $163,640 for those in finance and insurance.
Economists in the federal government (excluding the post office) earned a median wage of $125,950, while those in scientific research and development had a median salary of $101,910. Job prospects are positive, with employment projected to grow by 13% by 2030.
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is often essential for advancing in the corporate world. MBA graduates can expect a median starting salary of $105,000.
The highest starting salaries are found in consulting, finance, and technology. Graduates can also command significant salaries in Fortune 100 companies or organizations with over 10,000 employees.
Considering other business graduate degrees, a Master of Accounting offers an average of $75,000 annually, a Master of Management provides around $78,000, a Master of Finance could earn $80,000, and a Master of Data Analytics might secure $85,000 per year.
Engineering remains a high-demand profession in the United States, with salaries varying by specialization.
Those with a master’s degree were projected to earn an average of $80,320 in 2022. This compares to the expected $71,088 for engineers holding only an undergraduate degree.
➤ Degrees for High Pay FAQ
What Are the Highest Paying Part-Time Jobs?
While these part-time jobs may not make you rich quickly, they offer competitive wages.
Warehouse workers, administrative assistants, delivery drivers, construction workers, brand ambassadors, nannies, bookkeepers, and personal drivers can all earn over $15 per hour or more, depending on the company and their level of experience.
What State Has the Highest Paying Jobs?
Massachusetts, Washington, California, and Washington D.C. offer the highest minimum wages for various jobs.
However, when it comes to the highest-paying jobs overall, it depends on the type of job. For high-paying finance positions, cities like New York and Boston are prominent.
Meanwhile, tech professionals in Washington and California often command high salaries.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree?
Several high-paying jobs don’t require a degree and can be found in the technology, medical, and healthcare fields.
For instance, a diagnostic medical sonographer can earn a median wage of $60,570, and a computer support specialist can make a median wage of $62,760, based on 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the most recent available data).
➤ Final thoughts
Obtaining a post-graduate (or master’s) degree is a reliable path to boost your income prospects.
This rings particularly true for individuals pursuing programs in high-demand sectors like healthcare, information technology (IT), engineering, or law.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that certain bachelor’s degree programs can also offer valuable career opportunities without the need for additional time and financial investment in higher education.