20 Highest-Paying Master's Degrees You Should Consider in 2023
Learn about the high-paying jobs you can get after earning a master’s degree and the salaries you can expect to earn.
A master's degree is a postgraduate academic degree that can be terminal or non-terminal, meaning it may either represent the highest level of education required to work in a particular field or a prerequisite for earning an even more advanced degree.
Some high-paying master's degrees include those offered in business administration, nursing, software engineering, computer science, finance, IT, and economics programs.
The list of highest-paying master's degrees includes nurse anesthetists, software developers, IT managers, chief executive officers, financial managers, marketing managers, petroleum engineers, and other types of engineers.
Are you looking to choose a master's program that will help you land a job with a big salary? If you are near the end of your undergraduate studies (or have already finished), you need to choose your master's program carefully in order to have a higher income throughout your career.
To help you out, this article explains what a master's degree is and lists the highest paying master's degrees along with related job roles and average national salaries.
What Is a Master's Degree?
A master's degree is a postgraduate academic degree you can get after you've earned your bachelor's degree. For some professions, it's considered a “terminal degree,” which means it is the highest level of academic accomplishment required in the field. However, it can also be non-terminal because it is typically a prerequisite for pursuing an even more advanced degree, such as a doctoral degree.
Master’s degree programs usually last two years, but there are some exceptions. Each program has its own specific requirements, such as coursework, examinations, and a final research project or thesis.
Master's degrees offer a higher level of specialization (through coursework and practical training) than undergraduate degrees and often require students to engage in independent research. In master's programs, students often focus on the same academic area they studied during their undergraduate education. However, in some cases, you can choose a different area of study.
In the process of obtaining a master's degree, you'll gain critical thinking and analytical skills that will help you progress in your career and earn more money.
20 Highest-Paying Master's Degrees You Should Consider
As you read the following list of high-paying master's degrees, keep in mind that your actual pay will depend on location, your qualifications, market demand, and the industry.
Here's an overview of top-paying master's degrees, job roles, and average national salaries:
|Master's Degree||Job Title||Average Salary|
|Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)||Nurse Anesthetist||$195,610|
|Master of Science in Engineering Management||Engineering Manager||$151,466|
|Master of Business Administration (MBA)||Management Consultant||$146,892|
|Master of Science in Software Engineering||Software Developer||$139,470|
|Master of Science in Computer Science||Computer Hardware Engineer||$135,657|
|Master of Science in Finance||Financial Manager||$123,828|
|Master of Science in Information Technology||IT Manager||$122,618|
|Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies||Physician Assistant||$121,952|
|Master of Education (MEd)||School Principal||$115,913|
|Master of Science in Economics||Economist||$105,629|
|Master of Science in Physics||Physicists||$100,755|
|Master of Science in Engineering||Engineers||$100,640|
|Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering||Bioengineer||$98,452|
|Master of Science in Marketing||Marketing Manager||$87,923|
|Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering||Petroleum Engineer||$83,059|
|Master of Science in Applied Mathematics||Mathematician||$79,901|
|Master of Public Administration (MPA)||Political Scientist||$72,176|
|Master of Science in Industrial Management||Industrial Production Manager||$66,162|
|Master of Science in Healthcare Management||Medical and Health Services Managers||$65,798|
|Master of Arts in Sociology||Sociologist||$57,391|
Deciding which degree to pursue is an important choice and it may take a while for you to settle on the right master’s degree program. While thinking about your options, consider your interests, commitment, readiness, and long-term career plans.
Other Potentially Lucrative Jobs You Can Land with a Master’s Degree
Here are some other job titles that require a master’s degree:
|Master’s Degree||Job Positions|
|Master of Business Administration (MBA)||Business manager, financial analyst, marketing manager, human resources manager, management consultant, operations manager, project manager, strategic planner|
|Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)||Nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse administrator, nurse educator, nurse researcher, nurse consultant|
|Master of Science in Engineering Management||Engineering manager, project manager, operations manager, technology consultant, product manager, systems analyst|
|Master of Science in Software Engineering||Software architect, software project manager, quality assurance engineer, software consultant, research and development engineer|
|Master of Science in Computer Science||Software developer, data scientist, computer systems analyst, research scientist, cybersecurity analyst, machine learning engineer|
|Master of Science in Finance||Financial analyst, investment banker, financial manager, risk manager, financial consultant, portfolio manager|
|Master of Science in Information Technology||Systems analyst, database administrator, cybersecurity analyst, IT consultant, IT project manager|
|Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies||Healthcare provider in various medical settings|
|Master of Education (MEd)||Teacher, school administrator, curriculum specialist, instructional coordinator, education consultant|
|Master of Science in Economics||Research analyst, financial analyst, market researcher, policy analyst|
|Master of Science in Physics||Research scientist, geophysicist, data scientist|
|Master of Science in Engineering||Engineer in various disciplines (civil, mechanical, electrical, etc.)|
|Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering||Medical device engineer, research scientist, clinical engineer|
|Master of Science in Marketing||Brand manager, market researcher, advertising executive, sales manager|
|Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering||Drilling engineer, production engineer, reservoir engineer|
|Master of Science in Applied Mathematics||Data scientist, quantitative analyst, research scientist, operations researcher|
|Master of Public Administration (MPA)||Public administrator, policy analyst, program manager, government consultant, nonprofit executive|
|Master of Science in Industrial Management||Operations manager, supply chain manager, production manager, logistics manager|
|Master of Science in Healthcare Management||Hospital administrator, healthcare consultant, healthcare project manager|
|Master of Arts in Sociology||Market researcher, social researcher, policy analyst, community development specialist.|
Highest-Paying Master's Degrees Conclusion
Before you even finish your undergraduate education, you can start thinking about a master's degree. It’s an academic degree that can be terminal (the most advanced degree required for a specific job) or non-terminal (a prerequisite for pursuing a doctoral degree necessary to enter certain professions).
Among the many master’s degrees that pay well are those in business administration, nursing, engineering management, software engineering, computer science, finance, IT, physician assistant studies, economics, marketing, physics, chemical and biomedical engineering, and healthcare management.
When it comes to the best jobs for those holding a master’s degree in 2024 the list includes nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, software developers, financial managers, IT managers, marketing managers, and various types of engineers.
During your postgraduate education (master’s and doctoral degrees) you’ll explore your chosen field more extensively than during your undergrad studies and will gain the necessary experience and skills that will prepare you for higher-paying jobs throughout your career.
The most in-demand master's degrees in 2024 are the Master of Business Administration, Master of Nursing, and Master of Science (IT) degrees.
Master’s degrees that will help you land jobs with higher salaries include the Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Finance, and Master of Science in Information Technology.
The average salary of an individual who possesses a Master of Science degree in the US is $94,000 per year.
According to Business Insider, the lowest paying jobs with a master’s degree are anthropologists, archaeologists, curators, healthcare social workers, educational counselors, survey researchers, historians, and librarians.