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

A master's degree is often necessary to secure a profession and advance 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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