2024 Highest Paying Masters Degree Programs

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Earning one of the highest paying masters degrees could potentially lead to a career that puts serious cash in your pocket. While many graduate degrees can increase your median annual salary, some are particularly lucrative.

Highest Paying Masters Degree Programs

If you’re going to spend time and money furthering your education, then you might as well pick a master’s degree that pays well.

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You can check out the list below to get started on finding your high-paying dream career.

Highest Paying Masters Degrees

Earning a master’s degree could be your ticket to a high-paying job. If top salaries are your goal, you can check out the following list of the most useful masters degrees that pay well. You may find your next career path! All career data below is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Select the master’s programs that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

All of these fields offer masters degrees that pay well, plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security. Also, in addition to masters, these fields offer some of the highest paying bachelors degrees as well.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Master of Business Administration

Chief Executives
Annual Median Salary: $179,520
Job Growth: -6%

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Annual Median Salary: $133,380
Job Growth: 10%

Human Resources Managers
Annual Median Salary: $126,230
Job Growth: 9%

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a popular graduate degree because business studies apply to many different fields and industries. Business leadership can make a valuable difference in most organizations.

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Management and leadership are common topics for MBA courses. The curriculum may also cover accounting, marketing, and information technology. In addition, there could be classes in organizational dynamics and team development.

Many programs offer specialization tracks. Options might include Healthcare Leadership, Sustainability, or Global Business. MBA graduates often hold management roles. Some even advance to chief leadership positions.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Master of Science in Nursing

Nurse Anesthetists
Annual Median Salary: $195,610
Job Growth: 13%

Nurse Practitioners
Annual Median Salary: $120,680
Job Growth: 52%

Nurse Midwives
Annual Median Salary: $112,830
Job Growth: 11%

Current nurses can take the next step in career development by earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Common courses for an MSN program include Quality Management, Advanced Patient Care, and Evidence-based Practices. Pharmacology, diagnostics, pathology, and physiology are other common topics of study.

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Most MSN programs require new students to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some bridge programs accept RNs with a license but not a bachelor’s degree. Having an MSN is a key step toward becoming an advanced practice registered nurse, such as a nurse practitioner. This degree may also lead to management positions in the nursing field.

Master of Science in Computer Science

Master of Science in Computer Science

Computer and Information Systems Managers
Annual Median Salary: $159,010
Job Growth: 11%

Computer and Information Research Scientists
Annual Median Salary: $131,490
Job Growth: 22%

Computer Network Architects
Annual Median Salary: $120,520
Job Growth: 5%

Computer scientists understand the inner workings of computers—how their programs communicate, calculate, learn, and respond. Studies in this field incorporate science, mathematics, and engineering.

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The master’s degree curriculum for this field usually covers algorithms, probability, and artificial intelligence. You will likely take classes in data security and cryptography as well. Computer science professionals often specialize in areas like machine learning, big data, or robotics. Grad school specializations might be available through elective courses or preset concentration tracks.

Computer research scientists often work for software companies, research and development firms, and colleges. In-the-field computing professionals may work for organizations as IT managers, network architects, or software developers.

Master of Engineering Management

Master of Engineering Management

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Annual Median Salary: $152,350
Job Growth: 4%

Industrial Production Managers
Annual Median Salary: $103,150
Job Growth: 5%

Construction Managers
Annual Median Salary: $98,890
Job Growth: 11%

Organizations that employ teams of engineers need managers with engineering expertise and business savvy. An engineering management master’s degree can help you enhance the skills needed for such roles. Master’s degree programs in engineering management usually require students to have an undergraduate degree in engineering.

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Graduate programs in engineering management typically include a strong focus on leadership development. You’ll likely take classes in risk management, team development, and project leadership. The curriculum is often similar to that of an MBA program, but subjects are approached through a technical lens.

Engineering managers often work in manufacturing and engineering services. This training is also relevant in industrial production and construction.

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Natural Sciences Managers
Annual Median Salary: $137,900
Job Growth: 6%

Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $97,410
Job Growth:6%

Biomedical technology plays a key role in improving people’s health and streamlining medical treatment. Earning a master’s degree in biomedical engineering could help prepare you for leadership roles in this exciting field.

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The curriculum for this degree typically covers mathematics, statistics, and modeling. Human physiology and biology are also important topics in this field. Some biomedical engineering master’s programs require a thesis project. Writing a thesis can help provide a strong foundation for future doctoral studies in this field.

Biomedical engineers often work for medical equipment companies, research firms, and healthcare facilities. A master’s degree can potentially lead to roles in biomedical engineering management.

Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $130,850
Job Growth: 8%

Mining and Geological Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $97,090
Job Growth: 4%

Environmental Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $96,820
Job Growth: 4%

The oil field depends on experienced petroleum engineers with technical know-how and leadership abilities. A petroleum engineering master’s degree can help you hone this unique set of skills. Petroleum engineering experts need to understand geophysics, geomechanics, and geostatistics. Master’s degree programs in this field typically cover the study of wells, drilling, and reservoirs.

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Some petroleum engineering programs have a thesis requirement. Others have students spend more time on coursework that addresses their professional areas of focus. Petroleum engineers often work in the oil and gas industry. They may also work in manufacturing. The expertise gained in a petroleum engineering program could also apply to environmental or geological engineering positions.

Master of Science in Finance

Master of Science in Finance

Financial Managers
Annual Median Salary: $131,710
Job Growth: 17%

Personal Financial Advisors
Annual Median Salary: $94,170
Job Growth: 5%

Financial Analysts
Annual Median Salary: $81,410
Job Growth: 6%

People and organizations rely on finance experts’ guidance to make decisions about the future. A master’s program in finance can help you increase your credibility as a trustworthy finance professional. Finance studies may include courses on both corporate and personal investments and financial decisions.

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These degree programs often explore advanced topics related to economics, financial markets, risk management, modeling methods and financial statements. Some finance students choose concentration tracks. Options at your school might include Accounting, Investments, Business Finance, or Personal Financial Planning.

Finance professionals may work in consulting, corporate finance, or individual financial planning. A master’s degree might also be a prerequisite for some managerial roles.

Master of Science in Engineering

Master of Science in Engineering

Computer Hardware Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $128,170
Job Growth: 2%

Aerospace Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $122,270
Job Growth: 8%

Chemical Engineers
Annual Median Salary: $105,550
Job Growth: 9%

Engineering is a diverse field with many branches. It includes chemical, industrial, computer, nuclear, civil, and aerospace engineering. Master’s degrees can be earned in any of those fields. Your curriculum will depend on your area of specialty, but there are some courses common to every engineering discipline.

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The core studies of engineering often cover dynamics, control systems, modeling, and operations. At the master’s degree level, engineering students usually advance their leadership skills as well. Engineering graduates can work in a variety of settings depending on their specialization areas, but manufacturing and consulting positions are common. Some graduates become engineering managers.

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Physician Assistants
Annual Median Salary: $121,530
Job Growth: 31%

Physician assistants play an important role among doctors, nurses, and patients in healthcare settings. According to the BLS, this is one of the highest paying jobs and requires specialized training that is available through master’s degree programs.

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The curriculum for this degree typically covers anatomy, diseases, and medication. You’ll likely learn about healthcare law, professional decision making, and evidence-based practices. You may also explore particular areas of medicine, such as obstetrics and geriatrics.

Clinical training is critical for this degree. Supervised internships are usually required to provide hands-on experience. The program may also include a capstone research project. The majority of physician assistants work in doctor’s offices. Others have jobs in hospitals, schools, and outpatient healthcare facilities.

Master of Science in Economics

Master of Science in Economics

Annual Median Salary: $105,900
Job Growth: 24%

Annual Median Salary: $105,630
Job Growth: 13%

The study of economics provides insights into the past and helps individuals and organizations make decisions about the future. Economics graduate students take classes on both microeconomics and macroeconomics. They also study advanced math and statistics, dive into the topic of econometrics, and evaluate global finance issues.

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Some schools focus on applied economics. In that discipline, economists use economic principles and theories to evaluate real-world decisions and their potential results. Economists often work in government positions. Other common employers are financial institutions and research firms. Economists’ ability to understand money and deal with data can also be useful in data science and actuarial careers.

Master of Science in Mathematics and Statistics

Master of Science in Mathematics and Statistics

Annual Median Salary: $108,100
Job Growth: 3%

Annual Median Salary: $95,570
Job Growth: 35%

Operations Research Analysts
Annual Median Salary: $82,360
Job Growth: 25%

The field of mathematics and statistics has both theoretical and practical sides. Math and statistics students often explore the ideas and concepts behind advanced algorithms, calculations and analytical approaches. They may also put those ideas to work in decision making, technological development, or other areas.

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Whichever your goal—theoretical or applied mathematics and statistics—you will likely study data mining, differential equations, and linear models. You may also explore topics from related fields, such as dynamics or computer science. Mathematicians and statisticians often work for the federal government or higher education institutions. These fields are also beneficial in consulting and research and development.

Master of Science in Healthcare Management

Master of Science in Healthcare Management

Medical and Health Services Managers
Annual Median Salary: $101,340
Job Growth: 32%

Healthcare organizations are typically headed by business leaders. Pursuing a degree in healthcare management or healthcare administration can help you develop the necessary business acumen and fuse it with industry-specific knowledge.

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To earn a degree in healthcare management, you will likely be required to take classes like American Healthcare Systems and Healthcare Economics. Other parts of the curriculum may address information technology, quality assurance, legal regulations, and healthcare marketing.

Health and medical managers often work in hospitals, physicians’ practices and residential facilities. There can be government jobs for these professionals too. Potential job titles often include practice manager and medical records manager.

Master of Science in Cyber Security

Master of Science in Cyber Security

Information Security Analysts
Annual Median Salary: $102,600
Job Growth: 33%

Cyber security professionals guard computer data against security attacks. This is a critical need in today’s world and is one of the highest paying jobs, according to the BLS. Many companies are anxious to hire competent security professionals.

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A cyber security master’s program can help you learn how to build strong, secure systems and protect networks against cyber attacks. Course topics may also include information law, computer forensics, and business data. Possible concentration options for this degree are Technology Management and Information Systems.

Commonly, people with this degree are called information security analysts. Those professionals often work for computing companies, financial institutions, and private businesses.

Master of Sociology

Master of Sociology

Annual Median Salary: $92,910
Job Growth: 5%

Survey Researchers
Annual Median Salary: $59,740
Job Growth: 4%

Sociologists are researchers who study the world and the people around them. A graduate program in sociology can help you develop the necessary research, data analysis and writing skills needed to succeed in this profession.

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The curriculum for such programs typically includes classes in sociological theories of the past and present. You will likely take courses in data, statistics, and research design as well. There is often the opportunity to take a variety of electives based on your areas of interest. A thesis requirement is also common in this field.

Sociologists often work for research organizations and schools. Similar organizations may also hire them as survey researchers.

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-Language Pathologists
Annual Median Salary: $79,060
Job Growth: 29%

Speech-language pathologists are experts who address communication and swallowing disorders. They often help children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and those who have experienced illnesses or injuries.

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In a speech-language pathology program, you’ll be required to study a variety of topics related to speech, hearing, and cognition. You’ll likely discuss how to implement speech-language practices in specific settings, such as schools or elder care facilities.

Practicums are common in speech-language pathology. You may gain hands-on experience in several different settings before graduation. Speech-language pathologists are also known as speech therapists. They often work in schools or healthcare offices. Some work in hospitals or nursing homes.

How to Choose a Graduate Degree Program

There’s a lot to think about when enrolling in a master’s program. Some of the main things to consider are:

  • Accreditation: It’s always a good idea to insist on regional accreditation as one of your top priorities.
  • Cost: It is important to take a look at the per-credit-hour tuition and the value of your financial aid package at any school you’re considering.
  • Field of study: Of course, the college you choose should have a graduate program that actually interests you. In addition to median annual salary considerations, it is important to think about whether you’ll enjoy working in that field.
  • Program length: The quicker a program is, the sooner you may qualify for raises or promotions.

Evaluating graduate school programs based on these factors can help you decide where to apply.

What Masters Degree Should I Get?

high paying masters degrees

Everyone has different strengths and interests. Identifying yours can help you find the right degree program for you. If you’re great with numbers, then studying math or economics might be fitting. Being a natural leader could be helpful for success in business administration or healthcare management.

Your previous experience may influence your master’s field. A healthcare background might mean that you’re ready to go to physician assistant or nursing school. Current engineers may enter engineering management programs. If money is a top consideration, you might want to study computer science or engineering. Those fields often lead to six-figure careers.

How Much Is a Master’s Degree?

Tuition rates for high paying master’s degrees can vary widely from school to school. Even within the same college, different graduate school departments may charge different amounts. In general, though, you can expect to pay between $400 and $1,200 per credit hour. A master’s degree program will likely require between 30 and 90 credits.

It may not be cheap to earn a master’s degree, but financing options are often available. Options may include federal loans and scholarships through your college. Military discounts are sometimes available, and in-state students usually receive reduced rates at public universities, even for advanced degree programs.

Are There Companies That Pay for Grad School?

highest paying master's degrees

Earning one of the highest paying master’s degrees can be expensive, but getting your company to chip in may significantly reduce your costs.

It’s possible that your workplace may even pay for the whole thing! Companies are most likely to contribute to degrees that have the potential to benefit their bottom line. It will be helpful if you can demonstrate how your graduate school studies will contribute to the organization and its profits.

To request tuition funding, you’ll likely need to make the request in writing and be sure to share how your schooling will make a difference for both you and your company after earning your advanced degree.

What Are the Most Lucrative Masters Degrees?

If you’re going to invest in getting a graduate degree, you might want to make sure that you’re earning one of the top paying master’s degrees. The list below, which includes job possibilities and average salaries based on BLS data, may help you pinpoint a top earner.

  • Computer Science: computer and information research scientists ($131,490), computer systems managers ($159,010)
  • Information Science: computer and information research scientists ($131,490)
  • Occupational Therapy: occupational therapists ($85,570)
  • Software Engineering: software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers ($110,140)
  • Statistics: statisticians ($95,570), operations research analysts ($82,360)

Personal earnings can vary significantly based on factors like experience and employer.

What Are the Most Valued Masters Degrees?

The most valued master’s degrees are typically ones that can increase your professional contacts, provide industry expertise, grow your earnings, and lead to promotions. The following list provides a few such examples of the most useful degrees with potential careers that can be pursued and median annual salary data from the BLS.

  • Data Science: database administrators and architects ($98,860)
  • Finance: financial managers ($131,710)
  • Healthcare Administration: medical and health services managers ($101,340)
  • Petroleum Engineering: petroleum engineers ($130,850)
  • Political Science: political scientists ($122,510)

The most valued master’s degree for you may be different than those listed above. Your most valued degree is likely to be the one that will lead to the career of your dreams.

What Are the Most Profitable Masters Degrees?

Getting a master’s degree often leads to a raise. In the best cases, it’s a big enough raise to offset the cost of school. These are some degrees that have a reputation for doing just that.

  • Business Administration: chief executives ($179,520), marketing managers ($135,030)
  • Biology: microbiologists ($79,260), biological scientists ($85,530)
  • Speech-language Pathology: speech-language pathologists ($79,060)
  • School Administration: elementary, middle, and high school principals ($98,420), postsecondary education administrators ($96,910)
  • Communication Studies: public relations managers ($125,780)

These jobs and earnings aren’t a guarantee with any degree but are commonly pursued by people with these degrees. The salary information is based on averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Are the Most in Demand Masters Degrees?

Most in Demand Masters Degrees

The BLS is predicting strong job growth over the next decade, especially for certain industries. As you’re looking for the best paying masters degrees, it’s a good idea to consider growth projections as well as salaries.

These are some of the degrees with careers projected to have high job growth rates.

  • Computer Science: 22% growth rate for computer and information research scientists
  • Nursing: 52% growth rate for nurse practitioners
  • Nutrition and Dietetics: 11% growth rate for dietitians and nutritionists
  • Software Engineering: 22% growth rate for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers
  • Statistics: 35% growth rate for statisticians

Although growth predictions and job availability can change, these are currently some of the most booming industries.

What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree?

Master's Degree careers

The highest paying degrees at the graduate level come from many different fields, and they can lead to a vast assortment of careers. If you study healthcare administration, you might become a medical services manager.

According to the BLS, advanced degree business administration students may have a variety of promising management options, including sales, HR, or IT management. MSN students may become nurse practitioners or nursing managers. Physician assistant graduates usually choose a career working alongside doctors, and speech-language pathologist graduates usually become speech therapists.

The BLS lists many career paths for engineering degrees. They include petroleum, chemical, and environmental engineering. What you can do with your master’s degree will depend on your specific field of study, but getting a master’s degree should help open the door to a variety of career opportunities.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree?

Master's Degree programs

Master’s degree programs vary in length. Many are around 36 credit hours and don’t require a thesis. Full-time students can often complete those in about one year, especially if they attend full-time (including during the summer) and choose online master’s programs with accelerated calendars.

Graduate school programs with higher requirements, such as those that involve 60 to 90 credit hours, typically take longer. Writing a thesis paper, completing internships, or earning clinical hours can increase the overall length of a program as well. Attending part-time will also increase the length of time it takes to earn your master’s degree.

How Much Does a Master’s Degree Increase Your Salary?

On average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with bachelor’s degrees earn $69,368 per year. People with master’s degrees make on average $81,848. The actual wage increase that comes with a graduate degree can vary greatly from one industry to the next, though.

According to the BLS, business specialties in which a graduate degree can really bump up your salary include logistics, finance, and marketing. In education, administrative degrees may be the best choice. Healthcare administration and physician assistant degrees are top wage boosters in the medical sector. Salary increases also depend largely on a person’s location and employer.

Is Getting a Masters Worth It?

Is Getting a Masters Worth It

Yes, getting a masters is worth it for many students. Not only do people with master’s degrees usually earn more than people with bachelor’s degrees, but they also have higher employment rates.

According to the BLS, the unemployment rate for workers with master’s degrees is 2.6%. For those with bachelor’s degrees, it’s 3.5%. Plus, the expertise you’ll gain in a master’s program could help you advance in your career and equip you for leadership roles.

For some careers, having a master’s is a must, even for entry-level positions. Examples include nurse practitioner, speech-language pathologist, school administrator, and economist.

Getting Your Masters Degree Online

Masters Degree Online

Many professionals grow their expertise, improve their employability, and raise their salaries through master’s degree programs. Graduate studies in fields like engineering, business administration, speech pathology, mathematics, nursing, and economics can potentially lead to high-paying jobs.

As you’re searching for a master’s degree that makes the most money, you may want to check out the degree programs at online schools. Online graduate programs can help qualify you for a pay raise just like on-campus programs can.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level by earning an advanced degree, you can start searching for accredited online master’s programs today.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.