Which Master's Degrees Yield the Highest Starting Salaries?
Are you looking to advance your career and earning potential by earning a master's degree? Are you unsure of what field of study upon which to invest your educational dollar? If so, keep reading for information on a few of the highest-paying master's-degree careers on the market today.
Highest-Paying Master's Degrees: An Overview
Many of the high-paying careers that require master's degrees are in healthcare, science and business. Lucrative careers in these areas include physicians' assistants, engineers and management professionals. In May of 2010, Forbes.com released a list of master's degrees that lead to jobs that aren't only high-paying but that also have promising futures. Additionally, U.S. News and World Report reported on a number of graduate-level jobs that pay more than $100,000.
Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies
A master's degree in physician assistant studies can prepare you to work directly with doctors, surgeons and other healthcare professionals. In this type of degree program, you'll learn to assist doctors with taking medical histories and determining which medications to give patients. Coursework will deal with primary care medicine, pharmacology and emergency medicine. According to Payscale.com, the middle 80% of physicians' assistants in their first year of work made $56,939-$84,299, as of 2011. In 2010, Forbes.com noted that the median mid-career salary for those with a master's degree in this field was nearly $99,000.
Master's Degree in Petroleum Engineering
According to 2008 info from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineering was the highest-paying engineering discipline in the nation, with professionals earning a median annual salary of $108,020 as of that time. Petroleum engineering, as a career field, also ended up on U.S. News and World Report's list of seven graduate-level career fields that commonly pay over $100,000. Master's degrees in this field may be awarded as either Master of Science or Master of Engineering degrees; some degrees may be more focused on research, while others would prepare you for practical application. In 2011, Payscale.com noted that most petroleum engineers with less than one year of experience earned $51,521-$96,820.
Master of Business Administration in Management Consulting
Also earning a place on U.S. News' list of high-paying graduate degree careers is management consulting. Payscale.com reported in 2011 that the majority of those in their first year as management consultants earned $47,495-$120,626. MBA programs that carry concentrations in management consulting train you to advise all types of businesses on strategies for tackling a wide variety of management issues. Courses in this type of program often address accounting, management control and market research.