5 Master degrees that will earn you MASTER salary


I have a friend, and let’s call her Vivian. Vivian was a decent student, graduated from one of the top high schools in Georgia. Though as an above average student, she eventually enrolled in a community college. She went on to work for a non-profit organization. Unfulfilled with the pay, Vivian returned to school five years later to obtain her master degree in health technology management. She now makes $19 an hour as a coordinator for a local hospital.

By many standards, making $40K a year is not bad. According to the Census Bureau, the national US household income for 2015 (the latest report) is $55,775. See how you compare here at the Motley Fool. However, if you were to invest in a Master degree, wouldn’t you want to at least earn a hefty salary from it?

If so, check out these five master degrees that will get you a fat pay check after you graduate.

1.       Master of Financial Engineering

If you are good at math and programming with an interest in working for Wall Street, consider a Master of Financial Engineering. Only a dozen of schools in the nation that offer this program. Many schools including as Baruch, Berkeley, UCLA post employment statistic each year, showing the average base salary of $100K a year or higher. And that doesn’t include sign on and year-end bonus. I know that these schools are notoriously hard to get in, but there are other schools such as Claremont that are easier to break in. Though, I would imagine it would harder to compete with the Cornell student when applying for a job at Goldman Sachs. But if you don’t care for prestigious financial employers, then there are still plenty of banks that need financial engineers. According to Glassdoor, the national average of financial engineer is also $102K.

2.       Master of Data Analytics

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, consider a Master of Data Analytics. Many students graduating from this program end up working as Data Scientists or Data Analysts. Data Scientists can command an average salary of $117K and could go up to $150K if you work for one of the tech giants according to Forbes. North Carolina State University offers a 10-month Master of Science in Analytics. Graduates can expect a job at the end of the program with a starting salary close to $100K.  

3.       Master of Business Administration

Many experts argue against obtaining an MBA because there are too many of us (I too hold an MBA.) According to Fortune, there are nearly 200,000 students graduated from a master in business degree each year. I question the value of an MBA from a sketchy online university or even a local community college. Don’t’ get me wrong. Many of these people went on and did great things, but on average, I am not sure if it’s the right choice. Now, if you can make into a top 50 MBA programs, you can expect a 6-figure starting salary. Evidently, the top 10 MBA schools yield the highest probability of obtaining a 6-figure starting salary, particularly because many consulting firms only recruit from top 10, but I think you still have a chance if you attend a 2nd tier program. For example, University of Georgia, Terry School of Business, which ranks 55th on US News, cranks out an average starting salary of $91K and $17K sign on bonus. This does not include yearend or performance bonus.

4.       Master of Nurse Anesthesia

Okay, we all know that one should not go into Nursing for the money, because you need a big heart not a greedy one to become a nurse. I have a lot of respect for nurses after hearing some inspiring stories from my wife (who is a fellow). However, this is relevant to the article, so I will provide the information. According to Nurse.org, a Certified Nurse Anesthetist can command a salary of $133K. Similar to an Anesthesiologist, the job can be demanding. But hey, $133K a year is a sweet deal while helping patients at the same time.

5.       Master of Science in Nursing

Also, according to Nurse.org, a Nurse Practitioner can expect to earn $98K a year. To enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing, you are expected to have at least one year of nursing experience as well as a Bachelor in Nursing along with many other things. Similar to a Nurse Practitioner, a Physician Assistant (Master of Physician Assistant) can also command an average salary of $98K according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unlike enrolling in a Master in Science in Nursing, you don’t need to have a BSN before enrolling in a Physician Assistant program – that is as long as you meet the science courses requirements (along with other things of course.)


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