17 High-Paying Jobs With Master's Degrees (With Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 3, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated June 3, 2022

Published October 7, 2019

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Your education level can significantly impact your career options and earning potential. College graduates with master’s degrees can typically secure higher-paying jobs than job seekers with less education. 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. It gives you more training in your field of study when you are looking into your career options. Examples include a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Laws (LLM). A master’s degree may provide you with better job prospects, more career responsibilities and a higher salary. You might need one to advance past a certain point in your career, particularly if your goal is a senior leadership position. 

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. On average, it takes two to three years to complete most master’s degree programs.

Related: Tips for Choosing the Right Master's Degree Program

High-paying jobs with master’s degrees

A master’s degree may help you obtain a position with a high-paying salary. Here are some careers requiring advanced degrees with average salaries of more than $100,000. For the most up-to-date salary information, click on the salary link.

1. Health care administrator

National average salary: $101,340 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Primary duties: The coursework for the Master of Healthcare Administration 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.

2. Industrial production manager

National average salary: $103,150 per year, according to the BLS

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.

3. Mathematician

National average salary: $103,588 per year

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, economic, engineering, computing or other industries.

4. Physician assistant

National average salary: $104,780 per year

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.

5. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $105,550 per year, according to the BLS

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.

6. Economist

National average salary: $105,630 per year, according to the BLS

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.

7. Chief executive officer

National average salary: $106,233 per year

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. 

8. Computer scientist

National average salary: $108,944 per year

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. Software engineer

National average salary: $110,140 per year, according to the BLS

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.

10. Information technology director

National average salary: $112,207 per year

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.

11. Engineering manager

National average salary: $114,552 per year

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. Chief financial officer

National average salary: $123,532 per year

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. 

13. Pharmacist

National average salary: $125,948 per year

Primary duties: A Master of Science is one of the requirements to become a pharmacist. Becoming a doctor of pharmacy takes at least three years of postgraduate study. Board certification is also needed to be successful in this position. As a pharmacist, you are responsible for mixing, measuring and dispensing prescribed medications.

14. Petroleum engineer

National average salary: $130,850 per year, according to the BLS

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, petroleum engineer, among others.

15. Marketing manager

National average salary: $133,380 per year, according to the BLS

Primary duties: A consistently high-paying graduate degree, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) 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.

16. Nurse anesthetist

National average salary: $147,244 per year

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. 

17. Physician

National average salary: $195,927 per year

Primary duties: Health care specialists like physicians and dentists require an advanced degree from an accredited medical and dental school. Internships and residencies allow you to pursue specialized careers within the health care field.

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