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15 Highest-Paying Master’s Degrees You Can Get in 2023



Master’s Degrees

Your education level can significantly impact your career options and earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings of someone with a master’s degree is $1,574, which comes out to about $82,000 per year. Understanding what careers require advanced learning may help you choose a career path that’s right for you.

In this article, we explain what a master’s degree is and list some high-paying positions you may pursue with a graduate degree in a specialized field.


What is a master’s degree?

A master’s degree is an advanced degree in a specialized field that you can earn after an undergraduate degree. On average, it takes two to three years to complete most master’s degree programs.

Trevon Bennett, a writer who specializes in the business and fintech industries, notes one of the most common reasons to pursue a master’s degree is to earn better pay and benefits:

Enrolling for a master’s degree is a good investment, especially in fields where such a degree attracts more pay. Besides higher income, employees with a master’s degree have a greater chance of ascending to leadership positions than those without. Typically, top-paying master’s degrees are concentrated in the technological, medical and engineering sectors.

Types of master’s degrees include:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)

  • Master of Laws (LLM)

  • Master of Science in nursing (MSN)

  • Master of Finance

  • Master of Science in computer engineering

  • Master’s in public health

Some students transition straight from undergraduate to graduate school because they know their target career path requires a master’s degree and specialized skills. Others return to school after several years in the workforce to further their knowledge and earning potential.

High-paying jobs with master’s degrees

Here are some careers requiring advanced degrees with average salaries of more than $100,000:

1. Industrial production manager

Primary duties: A Master of Science in industrial management degree trains students in facility and engineering management, trade and systems analysis. With this master’s you might find a job as a systems manager, industrial engineer, operations consultant, director of manufacturing or production supervisor.

2. Mathematician

Primary duties: If you are interested in the advanced function of mathematics in fields such as engineering, management and science, a Master of Science in applied mathematics may help with your career. You can specialize in focus areas such as numerical analysis, scientific computing and mathematical biology. With this degree, you can find mathematician jobs that require you to research and apply complex math concepts to business, economics, engineering, computing or other industries.

3. Physician assistant

Primary duties: With a Master of Science in physician assistant studies, you are qualified to provide patient care such as counseling, examinations, diagnoses, writing prescriptions and carrying out treatments. You may choose to specialize in a particular area such as genetics, immunology or pharmacology. Physician assistants work directly under physicians in hospitals, community clinics and doctor’s offices.

4. Health care administrator

Primary duties: The coursework for the master’s of health care administration degree teaches you a variety of skills critical to health care management, including strategic planning, policy, statistical business methods, organizational behavior, economics and consulting. This degree prepares you to be an effective leader in the health sector. Graduates can find health care management and executive positions.

5. Economist

Primary duties: A Master of Science in economics gives you a deep understanding of economic theories such as micro- and macroeconomics, econometrics, economic forecasting and growth, and applied financial and computational economics. You can specialize in the finances of a particular industry and find work as a financial economist, micro- or macroeconomist or industrial economist. You can also earn an MBA in economics if you want to study industry, marketing, trade and investments on a local or global scale. With this degree, you can specialize in labor or urban economics and economic analysis.

6. Software engineer

Primary duties: With a Master of Science in software engineering, you can pursue highly skilled roles in a variety of industries. You will learn to design, build, test and maintain software, computer applications and operating systems, in addition to coding. software engineers often find work in the programming, computer service or system design fields within corporate or government organizations.

7. Chemical engineer

Primary duties: Chemical engineers will need a master’s to advance professionally. Their job duties include equipment design, producing and testing products, overseeing manufacturing and more. They often work in the chemical industry but also fill needs in fields such as photography, electronics, health care and product manufacturing. When pursuing a Master of Science in chemical engineering, students can choose to specialize in areas such as nanotechnology, thermodynamics and biotechnology.

8. Computer scientist

Primary duties: If you have a Master of Science in computer science degree, you will enter into a growing field. If you choose this path, you will learn advanced computer language and algorithms and be able to design and manage software, networks, security and databases. You can focus on specific areas such as programming languages, software engineering or artificial intelligence. With this degree, you can find employment as a computer and information systems manager.

9. Petroleum engineer

Primary duties: Petroleum engineers design extraction methods for crude oil or natural gas development and production. Professionals pursuing this niche degree will gain an understanding of concepts ranging from physics and chemistry to geology and thermodynamics to economics and mathematics. Jobs you might qualify for upon obtaining a Master of Science in petroleum engineering include petroleum geologist, production engineer or drilling engineer, and petroleum engineer, among others.

10. Marketing manager

Primary duties: A consistently high-paying graduate degree, a Master of Business Administration in marketing management sets graduates up to run a company’s marketing department. You will learn about consumer behaviors, brand position, product development, media platforms and promotional strategies so you can lead a team in creating marketing campaigns and relationships with customers. Possible jobs include marketing director or manager.

11. Engineering manager

Primary duties: There are many different types of engineering manager positions, many of them among the highest-paying careers with a master’s degree. They typically require a Master of Science degree in an engineering discipline. Depending on your specialty, you may work in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering or other engineering fields. An engineering manager is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating production activities within an engineering project.

12. Information technology director

Primary duties: Professionals with a Master of Science in information technology will likely have plenty of high-paying job opportunities, thanks to the increase in cloud computing, data storage and information security. This degree teaches you about software development, business information systems, security, telecommunications, programming, networking, and e-commerce. You can find employment as an information researcher, computer systems analyst, software developer, computer network architect or director of information technology.

13. Nurse anesthetist

Primary duties: Certified nurse anesthetists with a Master of Science in nursing anesthesia are some of the highest-paid nurses. They are responsible for providing pain management services and administering anesthesia for surgeries and procedures in hospitals, dental practices and outpatient centers.

14. Chief executive officer

Primary duties: If you want to be a business leader, such as a chief executive officer (CEO) in any industry, you will need an MBA. This degree will give you a strong background in leadership, teamwork, management best practices, communication skills and quantitative analysis. You can specialize further depending on the field in which you want to work, such as health care or technology management.

15. Chief financial officer

Primary duties: A Master of Finance degree prepares graduates to oversee a company’s investments, financial reports, mergers and acquisitions, cash management and capital. If you pursue a Master of Science in finance degree, you will learn skills like advanced accounting and management. With this degree, you can get a job in local or international finance as a financial manager or officer, controller, financial planner, investment banker, money manager or risk manager.

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