Based in Philadelphia, BestMastersDegrees.com was created to help prospective graduate students make informed decisions about what kind of degree to pursue and where to pursue it. Our main focus is providing rankings and profiles of degree programs across a variety of the most common Master's degree areas.
There is a long list of potential disciplines and programs, and deciding the rest of your life can be stressful and seem confusing. We help you narrow down your choices, until all that remains are those programs that will best equip you to be as successful as possible.
Graduate School – You'll Be Glad You Did
Earning your Master's degree just might turn out to be the single greatest determining factor in both your ability to find a job and to demand a higher salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor, the number of jobs in the United States typically requiring a Master's degree is expected to grow by 22% by the year 2020. This places it first among all educational levels.
In 2013, the unemployment rate for individuals possessing a Master's degree was only 3.4%, compared to 6.1% for all workers, according to those same statistics.
A Master's degree has a tremendous influence upon a person's earnings. In 2013, the median weekly income for a person in possession of a Master's degree was $1329, compared to a Bachelor's degree ($1108), an Associate's degree ($777), some college ($727), high school diploma ($651), and less than a high school education ($472).
The Master's Degree is Important, but So Is the Field
In recent years, the majority of Master's degrees in the United States are awarded in technical or professional disciplines, as an attractive, and often, required educational credential sought by employers. This demand for advanced degrees in certain fields has driven the salaries up in those fields. Here are some career positions where the minimum entry requirement is a Master's degree:
Political Scientist: About half of all political scientists work for the federal government. In general, their time is spent analyzing political ideas, policies, strategies, and trends. The median salary is a very robust $102,000 and the job rate is expected to increase by 21%.
Mathematician: Those who pursue this field will use their knowledge of advanced mathematics to analyze data, formulate new principles in mathematics, and work with other industries to solve any number of problems. In 2012, the median pay for mathematicians was $101,360. Even though the field is small, it is expected to grow by 23% by the year 2022.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse: This profession could include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Duties might include prescribing medicine, ordering tests, and diagnosing health problems and ordering treatment. The median salary was $96,460 in 2012, and by 2022, the field is expected to grow by 31%, resulting in almost 48,000 new jobs.
Economist: It is the job of an economist to evaluate any economic issue. They do this by analyzing data and by studying how goods and services are produced and distributed. The median salary for an economist is $91,860 a year, and the market is expected to grow by 14% by the year 2022. After a few years of actual work experience, a midcareer economist might earn a median salary of over $115,000.
Physician's Assistant: A PA is able to practice medicine, under the supervision of licensed physicians and surgeons. Their formal education allows them to examine patients, form diagnoses, and prescribe treatment. The median pay is over $90,930, and by 2022, the job market in this field is expected to explode upward by 38%.
Postsecondary Education Administrator: These professionals work in colleges, universities, and technical and trade schools, and they oversee academics, student services, and, sometimes, faculty research. The median starting salary is $86,490 per year, and by 2022, the field is expected to grow by 15%, creating over 23,000 new jobs. A related field is School Principal ($87,760, 6% job growth).
Occupational Therapist: Disabled, injured, or ill patients will see an occupational therapist for the rehabilitation that they will need to improve or stabilize their ability to perform everyday tasks. An occupational therapist can expect to make a median salary of $75,400 per year, and by 2022, the field is expected to grow at a rate of 29%. In addition, there are a number of other fields where a Master's degree, while not an absolute requirement for entry into the field, can make an extreme difference, midcareer.
Civil Engineer: This career field has an expected growth rate of 19.7%, and holders of a Master's degree can realistically expect a midcareer salary of $102,000 per year.
Information Systems Manager: Like many other fields related to technology, this career path is expected to have higher-than-average job growth, approximately 15.3%. Most companies require a Master's degree and five years of work experience as a prerequisite, but those who earned this position can realize a median yearly salary of $123,950. This is the highest-paying of all computer jobs.
Business Administration: This is a career field where you can realize an immediate and significant pay increase when you go from a Bachelor's to a Master's, and that lucrative gap only increases midcareer. An entry-level degree in business administration has a starting salary of approximately $41,000 per year, but with a Master's degree, you can expect the median salary of $57,500. By midcareer, that MBA will command a yearly paycheck averaging $104,000. In addition, this degree can be very flexibly applied, making you a good candidate for a wide variety of lucrative management positions in the private sector.
It doesn't matter what type of Bachelor's degree you have, because we have the expertise and the information needed to help you find the graduate program that takes into account both your interests and talents and your career goals. With the right guidance at this critical juncture in the process, you will be ideally situated to best achieve the highest success in both graduate school and in your chosen career.
About the Editor
Susan Wegener is a PhD student and teaching assistant at Purdue University. She recently completed her Master's Thesis on the topics of Jewish identity and sexuality in the 19th century writer Amy Levy's poetry and novels, and is working on a longer piece on Jewishness in Virginia Woolf's The Years. She is Senior Associate Editor of The Virginia Woolf Miscellany.
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Contact: Marianna Chara