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Top-Paying Graduate Degrees: Which Degrees Lead To A High Salary?

Salaries for master's degree graduates vary depending on the type of degree and job title one holds. Some master's degrees have incredibly high salary potential, along with specific job paths.

There is a wide variety when it comes to potential salary for master's degree-holders. Looking at the median mid-career pay and growth from early- to mid-career pay for some of the top-paying master's degrees can be a helpful way to visualize this.

Top-Paying Master's Degrees by Salary Potential

Considering the investment of time and money that goes into getting a graduate degree, it is no wonder that pay potential ranks high among the factors considered when choosing a career path. Ranked strictly by looking at the median salary of the degree-holders, the following chart outlines the top-paying master's degrees by mid-career salary potential as listed by PayScale.com using data from 2016-2017.

Degree Mid-Career Pay
Nurse Anesthesia $156,000
Strategy $149,000
General & Strategic Management $146,000
Entrepreneurship $139,000
Corporate Finance $138,000
Finance & Economics $137,000
Computer Science & Engineering $134,000
Finance $130,000
Operations Research $130,000
Electrical & Electronics Engineering $129,000

Best Master's Degrees for Salary Growth

Using 2016 data from PayScale.com, Forbes.com looked at the growth from early- to mid-career salaries for the best master's degrees and factor in other statistics such as stress and satisfaction. The chart that follows picks out the ten best master's degrees based on these statistics and gives their salary growth.

Degree Early-Career Pay Mid-Career Pay
Biostatistics $68,800 $104,000
Statistics $71,500 $112,000
Speech-Language Pathology $61,700 $82,300
Communication Sciences & Disorders $62,400 $79,900
Physical Therapy $71,700 $86,800
Management Information Systems (MIS) $64,400 $118,000
Computer Science (CS) $84,300 $125,000
Physician Assistant Studies $88,600 $105,000
Occupational Therapy (OT) $64,200 $81,300
Software Engineering $84,200 $118,000

Jobs and Salary Info for Top Degrees

The following master's degrees each offer varying career paths and salaries. According to PayScale.com data as of April 2017, individuals with one of the following three degrees commonly hold the following positions and corresponding salaries.

Master of Science in Engineering

Ranges available for the field of engineering reflect the high talent and demand for their field. For example, with an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, electrical engineers took home anywhere from $49,807 to $119,534. With the same degree, software engineers earned a median of $91,368 for the year, while their partners in hardware earned an average of $107,500.

Master of Science in Finance

Median salaries in finance can vary. With a M.S. in Finance, financial analysts can earn $87,235. That amount changes for investment analysts, who have median incomes of $67,407. Finally, finance managers will see median salaries of $75,750 with this degree.

Master of Science in Statistics

Statisticians with an M.S. in Statistics can expect to earn a median salary of $75,000, while risk analysts and data scientists earn median salaries of $75,987 and $84,500, respectively, with the same degree.

If pay potential is an important factor for you when choosing a career path, then information on what degrees can lead to high salaries is invaluable. Master's degrees in various engineering fields, business fields, and healthcare fields are some of the more common subjects found among top-paying graduate degrees.


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