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Importance of a Masters Degree: How Will IT Help My Career?

A master's degree is often necessary to land certain jobs or for career advancement within some fields. Many careers that require master's degrees are typically found in sectors such as research and academia. Professionals with a master's degree often benefit from higher pay and increased job responsibilities.

Achievements with a Master's Degree

A master's degree can open many career doors, including certain career fields, advancement opportunities and higher salaries. Careers that may require a master's degree include special education teacher or counselor, college professor, advanced practice nurse, school administrator, occupational therapist and speech-language pathologist.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Advancement opportunities can include moving into managerial or administrative positions and obtaining licensure and certification. For example, according to the BLS, school principals working in a public setting can be licensed as school administrators. Most states require a master's degree to obtain this designation.

Salary Information

According to U.S. News & World Report, workers with master's degrees generally earn higher salaries than workers with less education. The following is a sample of median salaries for careers that require a master's degree, as provided by the BLS in May 2014:

  • Nurse Practitioner - $95,350
  • Education Administrator - $89,540
  • Occupational Therapist - $78,810
  • Physician Assistant - $95,820
  • Speech-Language Pathologist - $71,550

Salary Comparisons for Masters Degrees

PayScale.com lists the highest paying jobs for master's grads. As an example, all petroleum engineers earn a median salary of $99,611 - higher than an entry-level, master's degree-earned salary of $96,500, but much lower than a mid-level engineer with a similar education ($173,000). Likewise, the median salary of an average nurse anesthetist ($133,805) is below the range of one with a master's degree ($139,000-$159,000). The same can be said of electrical engineers: $89,919 compared to a master's range of $80,600 to $128,000.

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