Students are more curious than ever to find out about the best master’s degrees for the future. In their first spring 2023 enrollment snapshot, the National Student Clearinghouse indicates a 4.6 growth in graduate enrollment rates.
Sources suggest workers have used their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to rethink their current careers. According to a recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, 2021 saw an 18% increase in medical school applications nationwide compared to 2020.
In addition to drawing a diverse group of students, American medical schools enrolled 62,443 candidates for the academic year 2021–2022.
Still, increases in enrollment don’t necessarily equate to increases in employment. Listed below, we’ve outlined some of the most promising graduate degrees to pursue in the coming years, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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What Are the Highest-Paying Master’s Degrees?
Are you thinking of going back to school? You’re not alone. When employment goes down, applications tend to go up. Check out the list below for information on the best master’s degrees for the future.
1. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
To qualify for the master’s of science in nursing (MSN), you must first complete a bachelor’s of science in nursing. Some institutions will accept associate degree programs, so long as the applicant submits proof of completing two to three-semester hour courses in statistics and nursing research. You may require other courses, including nutrition, microbiology, human anatomy, and physiology.
The degree program prepares graduates for a career as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse-midwife, nurse anesthetist, or in health care administration.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals in these roles can earn a median salary of $123,780 per year, or $59.51 per hour. And the six-figure salary potential isn’t the only exciting thing regarding the profession.
BLS also suggests that employment within the field will grow by 45 percent over the next decade. That rate far exceeds those projected for other industries. That growth attributes mainly to an aging population who will soon need professional medical care and a generation of nurses preparing for retirement.
2. Master of Business Administration (MBA)
A Master’s of Business Administration almost always requires that incoming students hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Though a background in business is often helpful, students from different academic areas can apply. Critical thinking, writing, and analytic skills are essential for MBA programs.
Some institutions require students to pass the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) before being accepted into their MBA program. Core courses typically revolve around statistics, accounting, and economics.
Because MBAs prepare students for a wide range of professional responsibilities, job prospects remain promising. Courses in marketing management have become particularly popular as of late. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketing managers earn a median pay of over $133,380 per year or $64.12 per hour.
Other popular positions to pursue with a Master’s in Business Administration include management consultants, health services managers, financial managers, and business operations managers.
3. Master of Engineering Management
A Master of Engineering Management program will require applicants to possess a bachelor’s level education explicitly focusing on engineering, technology, mathematics, computer science, or the physical sciences.
These programs are typically tailored toward individuals who are already working within the engineering field but are looking to expand their careers. Courses help prepare students for leadership positions emphasizing business and management skills.
According to BLS, engineering managers make just shy of $150,000 annually, with the top 10 percent earning more than $208,000 annually. That makes engineering management one of our list’s highest-paying master’s degrees.
4. Master of Science in Data Science
The Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) is a relatively new program introduced to accommodate advances in technology. Students enrolled in these master’s degree programs should develop expertise in computer programming, machine learning, data forecasting, and data analytics expertise.
Upon graduation, students will utilize these skills to interpret data and make recommendations to help drive positive business results. They will qualify for word across the information technology industry.
According to BLS, computer and information research scientists earn a median annual salary of $131,490 ($63.22 per hour). The organization also suggests the field will experience job growth of 15 percent over the next ten years – an estimate far exceeding that of other professions.
5. Master of Public Administration (MPA)
A Master of Public Administration focuses on biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy, administration, and social and behavioral sciences. By the end of the master’s degree program, graduates will be able to improve health among specific populations through awareness, education, policy, and research.
This program type prepares students for various professions, the most profitable being an epidemiologist or biostatistician. These titles generate a median annual salary of $78,830 and$96,280, respectively. The job growth rate in these industries is at 30% and 33%, respectively, which is must faster than average.
6. Master of Economics (M.Econ., M.Ec., MS in Economics)
Graduate programs in economics will help develop expertise in economic theories including micro-and macroeconomics, econometrics, economic forecasting, and financial and computational economics. Students can also specialize in a particular industry.
Job opportunities for graduates are on the rise. BLS data shows that the field will grow by 14 percent over the next few years, particularly in research and consulting services. Other popular positions for these degree holders include financial economists, micro- or macroeconomists, or industrial economists.
On average, graduates from a master’s of science in economics program can expect an average of $105,630 annually.
7. Master of Finance
Students interested in earning a Master of Finance will learn to manage acquisitions, investments, and capital and conduct financial reports. Though often compared to an MBA, the master’s in finance zeros in on financial theory, mathematics, markets, reporting, and valuation. These programs are shorter than MBAs, allowing you to complete them in just one year.
This program will prepare graduates to work in trading, investment, or risk management. Potential positions include financial manager, controller, investment manager, investment banker, and money manager.
BLS reports that the field is growing fast, with over 100,000 new opportunities hitting the job market by 2029. Financial managers generally earn well over six figures, with a median annual salary of $131,710.
8. Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
A Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies will combine coursework and clinical experience to prepare students to become critically thinking clinicians.
Didactic science courses will cover topics such as medical ethics, clinical radiology, introduction to obstetrics, and gynecology. Students will also participate in clinical rotations in family medicine, pediatrics, behavioral and mental health, or general surgery.
Opportunities are exploding for aspiring physician assistants. The BLS predicts the number will grow by a staggering 31 percent over the next few years. This expansion circles back to higher demands for healthcare services as the population continues to grow and age.
According to the organization, physician assistants earn an annual median salary of $121,530. The job growth rate between 2020 and 2030 is at 31%.
9. Master of Science in Computer Science
Thanks to the widespread use of computing technology, there is a massive demand for qualified professionals. According to the results of NACE’s Summer 2022 Salary Survey, which serves as the Class of 2021’s final salary report, the highest-paying fields for master’s degree holders were computer sciences and engineering. The only category of master’s majors in the Class of 2021 to earn a beginning salary above $100,000 was computer sciences, with an average of $102,782.
Courses typically revolve around programming, systems architecture, operating systems, and cloud computing. Employment opportunities range from software engineering to information security and database administration.
BLS reports that employment among computer scientists is growing faster than in other professions and that individuals with this title earn an annual salary of just under$131,490.
Best Jobs to Get With a Master’s Degree
Here is a list of some of the top-paying master’s degrees:
Nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of $123,780.
Information Systems Manager
Information systems managers earn an average annual salary of$159,010.
Data analysts earn an average annual salary of $82,360.
Chemical engineers earn an average annual salary of $105,550.
Marketing managers earn an average annual salary of $133,380.
Engineering managers earn an average annual salary of $152,350.
What is a Graduate Degree?
A master’s degree is an advanced degree in a specialized field that you can pursue after earning an undergraduate degree. These programs typically take anywhere from 36 to 54 hours to complete, which is about a year and a half of school for full-time students.
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Graduate degrees are available in many subjects, from healthcare to law, finance, and more. Admission requirements will vary by subject. More specialized disciplines require specific undergraduate experience, while other programs will accept students with a more general bachelor’s degree.
Master’s degree holders will generally have access to a broader range of leadership positions with higher earning potential.
What’s the Point of Going to School After Earning a Bachelor’s?
College graduates earn about $32,000 more than those with just a high school diploma. They also enjoy much lower rates of unemployment. These figures become even steeper when master’s degree programs enter the picture.
Individuals with a master’s degree education are also eligible for more job opportunities, a luxury that seems to have increased with time. According to a report by the BLS, the number of jobs requiring master’s degree programs will grow at 16.7% through 2026. This is double the rate of growth of all occupations.
Graduate programs also provide recipients more career options, as they will be deemed eligible to advance more quickly in their chosen field.
Is a Master’s Degree Worth It?
A master’s degree from the right school will increase your earning potential and widen your knowledge. It gives hands-on experience in your area of study and helps you form a network of professionals for life. Here is a list of the benefits in detail:
- Higher wage – The Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2022 suggests that those with a master’s degree earn a median annual salary of $86,372. Compared to this, the median salary for bachelor’s degree holders is $74,464. That is an 16% hike.
- Job growth rate – The occupations you stand to get into after a master’s degree is set to grow at 16.7% through 2026. Compared to this, the growth rate for bachelor’s degree jobs is at 7.4%.
- Work satisfaction – The opportunities and earning potential that accompany a master’s degree translate into higher work satisfaction. According to research, 89% of professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher reported higher job satisfaction.
- Expand the knowledge and skill set – A master’s degree augments your knowledge and skill in your area of expertise. For example, a person with a bachelor’s degree in computer programming can enroll in a master’s degree to help in project management and leadership skills.
- Become a specialist – A master’s degree lets you gain expertise in an area. This is not available in a bachelor’s degree program. For example, a bachelor’s degree holder in computer science can specialize in portfolio and program management to take leadership roles in the industry.
- Handle complex problems – With a master’s degree, you can move beyond the technical knowledge and invest in complex problems such as research and project management, analysis, and synthesis. This makes you a high-value employee for the company.
- Grow the professional network – Master’s degree programs have many students who have already spent significant time in the industry. They bring a rich knowledge of real-life scenarios and raise the bar of learning. According to Zippia.com, companies fill 85% of job vacancies through networking. A majority of jobs, around 70%, are never published publicly and are either posted internally or created specifically for candidates that recruiters meet through networking.
- Hands-on learning – Master’s degrees focus on experiential learning so that you are ready to work in the industry right off the bat. The course curriculums have case studies, research, and part-time work opportunities that use the principles you learn in academic theory.
However, you must choose the right school for your master’s degree. Consider how the school can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. The faculty at the school need to align with and perhaps be professionals from the industry they teach subjects in.
If you are already a working professional, you may want to choose a school that provides online and distance learning programs that you can take without leaving the job.
Begin your graduate school journey with the New England Institute of Technology!
Embark on an exciting career path with our master’s degree options. Students can select from the construction, engineering, nursing, and information technology industries.
Even after earning their degree, graduates will have access to our career services department to ensure they become professionals in the field. We partner with businesses and organizations to learn about current job opportunities so our students can stay ahead of the competition.
The data speaks for itself. 94% of the graduates from our class of 2021 are working in their desired fields. We also offer a wide variety of associate and bachelor’s degrees for those who are just beginning their academic journey. Get more information on opportunities at the New England Institute of Technology today.
DEGREES FOR ADULT LEARNERS AND WORKING PROFESSIONALS
Earn your degree from NEIT and begin your new career path today!
Which master’s degree is most in demand?
Some of the most in-demand graduate degree programs include the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master in Healthcare Administration.
What master’s degree is hardest?
While all graduate degrees require hard work and dedication, some programs are notoriously demanding. Some of the most challenging graduate degree programs include engineering, business, and the physical sciences.
Will I make more money with a master’s degree?
Though earnings will vary depending on different factors, including experience and location, a master’s degree program is an excellent way to increase your earning potential.
The average weekly wage for people with a bachelor’s degree is closer to $1,248, and that of those with master’s degrees is almost $1,500.