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Top 50 Highest Paying Masters Degrees

highest paying masters
technical masters degree

Are you curious about the highest paying jobs? Research shows that bachelor’s graduates make more money than high school graduates.

Earn a master’s degree. Your starting salary and earning potential will go even further. With just a bachelor’s degree, your earning potential may not be as high.

What follows is a list of the highest paying master’s degrees. The list includes master’s of business administration (MBA) degrees. It also includes Master of Science and Master of Arts programs. These programs take around two years.

Check programs for specific financial aid information.

Are you still trying to decide what to focus on with your advanced degree? This list of the highest paying master’s degrees will help. Here are some of the best masters degrees to get a high salary. Find a career path that fits you.

  1. Petroleum Engineering – Mid-career: $187,600
  2. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists – Mid-career: $162,800
  3. Strategy – Starting Salary: $114,040
  4. Entrepreneurship – Mid-career: $138,300
  5. Marketing Management – Mid-career: $135,300
  6. Economics (MBA) – Mid-career: $131,800
  7. Computer Science – Mid-career: $129,900
  8. Marketing and International Business – Mid-career: $128,200
  9. Finance – Mid-career: $126,800
  10. Electrical Engineering – Mid-career: $124,700

The salaries listed are averages. All these fields are quite good. An engineer might start with a salary under $100,000. An experienced, recognized expert in the field can demand six figures. There are variations. The same job at different locations or within different organizations will offer different salaries.

We took an average of the data found at these three sources:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Check out how these advanced degrees and graduate education can earn you a lucrative career. College graduates looking to increase their earning potential may consider fields such as:

  • computer network architect
  • education administration
  • public administration
  • chief executive officer
  • medical school
  • healthcare specialists
  • information security analysts

Read on for the top 50 highest paying master’s.

See Also: 50 Best Online Master of Psychology Degree Programs

50. Food Science and Technology

Median Salary: $78,340

Another top masters program is food technology. Food technology is the process of getting food from the farm to the supermarket. Food technologists work in food research and development. They make sure the quality and safety of food products. The conduct scientific research to make progress in this field.

Courses in food technology are available at the graduate and certificate levels. You can take classes in food science and technology. A graduate degree builds on concepts introduced in an undergraduate degree. You’ll look at  issues of food science, such as genetic engineering.

See Also: Best Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree

49. Nurse Midwifery

best nursing mastersMedian Salary: $123,780

Nurse-midwives are advanced-level practice nurses. They provide primary care for women, adolescent girls and infants. They have a special emphasis on maternity and reproductive care. RNs can become nurse-midwives, too. They must earn an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) with a midwifery concentration.

In the best masters programs, BSN students gain the knowledge and skills needed to:

  • Prescribe medications (in some cases)
  • Order diagnostic tests
  • Conduct regular health exams
  • Refer patients to specialists

Students participate in clinical training along with traditional classroom instruction. They learn how to diagnose and treat health conditions. They also learn how to promote disease prevention for women and children. Clinical education is part of the curriculum. It provides students with hands-on training in various settings. This includes experience with childbirth.

With an an average beginning salary of $81,800, this is one of the highest paying master’s degrees.

See Also: 20 Best Master’s in Physician Assistant Programs

48. Family Nurse Practitioner Studies

Median Salary: $118,040

Family nurse practitioners are also registered nurses (RNs). They specialize in treating patients throughout all stages of life. This is from pregnancy and childbirth to geriatrics. They provide advanced nursing care in general or family medical practice.

Besides nursing care, family nurse practitioners:

  • Conduct examinations
  • Make assessments and diagnoses
  • Order or perform diagnostic tests
  • Perform minor surgical procedures
  • Provide medical treatment
  • Prescribe medications under the supervision of a licensed doctor

This is one of the best masters degree options out there.

See Also: 40 Fastest Online Master’s Degree Programs

47. Health Care Administration

Median Salary: $101,340

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Healthcare Administration

This is a common concentration within an MBA degree. Are you interested in advancing your careers in health care administration or management? You can find training in:

  • Long-term care administration
  • Policy analysis
  • Consulting
  • Health planning

Practical experiences are offered through required internship programs. This is one of the best master’s degrees to get hands-on experience. Students study things like:

  • Business English
  • Statistical Business Methods
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior

46. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Studies

Median Salary: $131,830

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program combines classroom learning and hands-on training. You will observe and work with patients.

You must hold registered nurse (RN) licensure or have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Some schools offer bachelor’s degree programs or RN classes. These lead into master’s-level classes in psychiatric health. This allows students to start on a mental health track right away. A graduate school might accept students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. This is only as long as the student fulfills certain course requirements.

See Also: Best Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree

45. Physician Assistant Studies

Median Salary:$121,530

Physician assistant master’s degree programs prepare students for many careers in medicine. These include positions in hospitals, doctor’s offices and community health clinics. Most Master of Science programs need a bachelor’s degree to apply.

Most institutions ask for certain prerequisite courses to enter the program. Physician assistants might have to complete several hours of chemistry, biology and medical terminology.

You’ll complete a combination of medical coursework and hands-on clinical experience. You might cover advanced education topics like:

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physical Diagnosis
  • Genetics
  • Ethical Concerns in Medicine
  • Patient Assessment

44. Geology

best masters geologyAverage beginning salary $56,600; higher level salary: $102,700

An advanced degree in geology can prepare you for many careers. You could become a geological research or continue on to a doctoral program.  Candidates often can tailor their graduate programs to meet their research interests.

Examples of specific research options with this master’s degree include:

  • Stream restoration
  • Natural resource management
  • Tectonics

You’ll likely have to write and defend a thesis. You may complete a project to graduate.

You can work in the corporate, nonprofit or government sectors. Some popular career options include:

  • Soil scientist
  • Seismologist
  • Geologist
  • Petrologist

43. Leadership

Average beginning salary $62,300; mid-career salary: $103,000

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership

Communication leadership is another top master program for high salaries. It offers an advanced look at leadership theory. You’ll also learn organization logistics in business.

You’ll need to have a professional level of knowledge of communication and business. You will conduct independent research for their final thesis or project. Coursework includes:

  • Innovative communication
  • Intercultural communication
  • New media strategy
  • Social factors in communication
  • Communication technology
  • Organizational leadership

You might also pick up some basic business and management skills along the way.

You can pursue a variety of positions. Your  proven leadership qualities and communication expertise will be valued. Job prospects include:

  • Business Communication Consultant
  • Public Relations Consultant
  • Life Coach
  • Media Manager

42. Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Average beginning salary $87,300; $106,400

Acute care nurse practitioners work with patients who have serious conditions. These often require surgery. You might work in hospitals in nursing homes. Acute care nurse practitioners must hold both an undergraduate degree and graduate degree in nursing. You will also need a state nursing license.

You may need to be a licensed RN with the state your school is in. You might also need to have previous critical care experience. These graduate programs include advanced scientific advanced education coursework in:

  • Pharmacology
  • Patho-physiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Practice-related topics like patient care management

Many graduate programs include clinical training requirements as well.

41. Information Security

Information SecurityAverage beginning salary $72,100; mid-career salary: $106,600

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Cybersecurity

Master’s degree programs in information security are also known as computer security programs. They provide training in the software and technology used to protect important data. These Master’s degree programs tend to be interactive and hands-on. There is significant project-based instruction.

Courses combine training in the principles of security with experiential learning. You’ll learn the practices to keep systems secure, such as:

  • Information security theory
  • Database security
  • Secure software design
  • Software development
  • Intrusion detection and response
  • Encryption principles
  • Computer forensics

Graduates can apply for many computer-based administrative, analytical and managerial positions. You may work for the federal government. Jobs prospects include:

  • Database administrator
  • Network systems intrusion forensic analyst
  • Information technology security manager
  • Software developer

40. Project Management

Average beginning salary $66,600; mid-career salary: $107,800

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Project Management

You will learn the concepts of organizing, evaluating, and completing business projects.

Students apply project management tools and resources to actual or simulated projects. This determines project effectiveness. Prospective students may complete group projects. Possible course topics may include:

  • Fundamentals
  • Resource management
  • Strategic project approaches
  • Electronic management tools
  • Team leadership

Project management is an essential skill in many industries, from construction to computers. Graduates can find a variety of jobs. Often, individuals need experience in those industries before they may become project managers. Possible career options with this master’s degree include:

  • Project manager
  • Information systems manager
  • Quality analyst
  • Sales manager
  • Project management consultant
  • Industrial production manager

39. Statistics

Average beginning salary $66,200; mid-career salary: $108,400

Another one of the top MA programs is Statistics. You can enroll in either a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree program in statistics. You will learn about advanced strategies for collecting, analyzing and presenting data. Depending on the graduate school, programs can be offered both as thesis and non-thesis options. This could be the difference between an M.S. and an M.A.

You’ll learn to determine how probability theory and regression analysis can be applied to real-world situations. This can help solve problems in a variety of settings. Statistics is a wide branch of mathematics. Therefore, prospective students can often choose to specialize in areas such as:

  • Linear models
  • Statistical genetics
  • Bioinformatics

Statisticians are in demand in several different fields. They are responsible for  analyzing data that can affect an entire  organization. Jobs with this master’s degree include:

  • Biomathematician
  • Biostatician
  • Educational testing statistician
  • Medical statistician
  • Public health statistician

38. Industrial Engineering

Industrial EngineeringAverage beginning salary $69,200; mid-career salary: $112,000

Master’s degree programs in industrial management cover engineering and business subjects. Students must study:

  • Industrial facilities management
  • Systems analysis
  • International trade

You’ll cover issues like transportation and accounting related to the production of goods. You will complete a research-based thesis conducted under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Courses for this master’s degree include the following:

  • Management information systems
  • Human factors in engineering
  • Engineering management

You may find jobs in manufacturing, finance, and transportation. This is the best masters degree to get for versatility. Sample job titles include:

  • Systems manager
  • Operations consultant
  • Manufacturing director
  • Production supervisor
  • Transportation coordinator
  • Engineering manager positions

37. Human Computer Interaction

Average beginning salary $82,500;mid-career salary: $112,700

The Master’s degree in Human–Computer Interaction (HCIM) is interdisciplinary and advanced. The program covers how to design, assess, and put in place new information technologies. These technologies must be appealing and easy to use for everyone.

These graduate degrees prepare students to become  leaders in industry and government. You could also be successful in doctoral work.

You’ll be able to meet a variety of industry and government needs, including those as:

  • Technical project managers
  • Technology evaluators
  • User interface developers

36. Information Assurance

Average beginning salary $66,200; mid-career salary: $112,900

You’ll combine coursework in computer science, information technology and the social sciences. They teach students about data protection. You’ll relate IA methods to the legal and cultural aspects of data security. You’ll also cover personal identity protection and computer networking.

The coursework in MSIA programs is interdisciplinary. It covers computer technology and criminology. You’ll also cover business concepts like human resources. Students complete research papers or group projects. You may take classes like:

  • IA technology
  • Information assurance history and theory
  • Identity theft protection
  • Computer forensics
  • Computer network security

You can get a management job in a consulting group, corporation, or the government. You can choose from the following careers:

  • IT manager
  • Network security consultant
  • Government information security specialist

35. Telecommunications

TelecommunicationsAverage beginning salary $72,100; mid-career salary: $113,400

Pursue a master’s degree in telecommunications and you can specialize in:

  • Information security
  • Computer networking
  • Telecommunications business management

You might earn a Master of Science in Telecommunication Systems. You could also earn a Master of Science in Telecommunications and Software Engineering.

You will learn about telecommunications technologies through in-depth lab work. Non-thesis options are available in many programs. Topics of study for this master’s degree may include:

  • Communication engineering principles
  • Operating systems
  • Telecommunication signals
  • System protocols
  • Performance assessments
  • Communications security

Telecommunication job opportunities are available everywhere. You might work for cable providers, telephone companies and Internet providers. You could also work at a wide variety of high-technology companies with these communication skills. Sample job titles include:

  • Telecommunications consultant
  • Network analyst
  • Systems engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Network architect
  • Systems developer

34. Economics (Master’s Degree)

Average beginning salary $61,600; mid-career salary: $113,600

There are differences between an Economics Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree (see #6) and this one. This is a two-year business administration degree program in economics. It provides a high level of training in economic theory. Some schools offer various economic specialization options in areas such as:

  • Microeconomics
  • Applied economics
  • Financial economics
  • Computational economics

The coursework in an economics master’s degree program is flexible. This makes it possible to choose a specialization. You’ll cover introductory concepts in macro and micro economic theory. Then, you’ll delve into your chosen specialty. Core concepts may include:

  • Economic growth
  • Econometrics
  • Economic forecasting
  • Micro and macroeconomics
  • Numerical computation

All economists work to analyze economic information. They may work in a variety of specialized fields. Economists may study the financial information of specific industries, companies or time periods. Possible job titles could include:

  • Industrial economists
  • Microeconomists
  • Financial economists
  • Macroeconomists

33. Materials Science and Engineering

Average beginning salary $70,000; mid-career salary: $113,900

Materials science uses physics, engineering and chemistry to analyze matter. You’ll take a close look at a substance’s properties, like strength, durability and elasticity. This helps to determine its suitability for particular applications. Students in a bachelor’s engineering program may take these courses. Specialization in the field is instead done at the master’s level.

Materials scientists study the structure and properties of matter. Students of materials science learn how to analyze all types of materials. Again, this is meant to determine their usefulness and limitations in applications. These applications include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Nanotechnology
  • Electronics

They examine manufacturing processes to find weaknesses. They also determine procedures that are more effective.

Engineering schools offer materials science at the master’s level. This is as a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Material Science and Engineering. It could also be as a Master of Materials Science and Engineering (MME). Students learn to use assays, chemical analyses and electron microscopy. These help determine the structure and composition of substances. They use various forms of stress testing. This is to estimate physical characteristics and failure points.

32. Operations Management

Average beginning salary $71,700; mid-career salary: $115,000

Most master’s degree programs in operations management cater to working professionals. These programs cover various methods and tools that can be used to govern people, projects and processes.

Graduates with master’s degrees in this field can pursue management-level positions in the following areas:

  • Supply chain management
  • Logistics and transportation
  • Purchasing and quality control
  • Production lines
  • Manufacturing
  • Operations analysis

31. Information Systems

Average beginning salary $58,800; mid-career salary: $115,200

These programs are designed to prepare students for management jobs in information technology. You’ll take a combination of business and computer courses. Some programs allow students to choose an area in which to specialize. Examples include project management or information systems security.

Required courses for an online master’s degree in information systems vary. It depends on whether the program is more business or technology focused. Some master’s degrees require core courses in areas like statistics or marketing. Others require courses in areas that include networks or systems analysis. You might choose a specialty area, such as:

  • Software development
  • Interactive design
  • Healthcare information technology
  • Geographic information systems

30. Operations and Supply Chain Management

Average beginning salary $74,800; mid-career salary: $115,800

This is a field that uses management concepts and principles. You’ll improve the delivery of goods and services.

To apply, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree. You may also need work experience. You should have a basic understanding of areas such as:

  • Computing
  • Mathematics
  • Accounting
  • Statistics
  • Economics

You may need to complete foundational courses before beginning more advanced study.

You will gain professional skills in logistical areas. These include warehousing, transport, distribution and packaging. You’ll also master operational areas such as:

  • Product design
  • Development
  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Manufacturing
  • Customer service coordination
  • Demand planning
  • Life cycle reinforcement
  • Product launching

You can work in a variety of professional settings. This includes labor relations, human resources and compensation analysis. Occupations with this master’s degree may include:

  • Production manager
  • Project engineer
  • Supply chain executive
  • Operations analyst

29. International Business

International BusinessAverage beginning salary $58,300; mid-career salary: $115,900

Global markets are vital to today’s economy. If you are interested in business, you should pursue a Master of Business Administration program. Make sure it is one concentrating on international business. Admission into an MBA program requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Graduate test scores such as GMAT or GRE.

Some programs may also require students to submit a current resume.

Students enrolled in the MBA program will study international issues. You’ll also take basic business courses in:

  • Finance
  • Strategic planning
  • Human resources
  • Management

Each master’s degree program varies in their curriculum. Some common courses may include:

  • Financial accounting
  • Financial management
  • International marketing
  • International strategic management
  • Global finance

28. Software Engineering

Average beginning salary $79,100; mid-career salary: $115,900

Software engineers design, execute and test computer software. One of the most common degrees offered is a Master of Science in Software Engineering. You will participate in engaging classroom lessons. You will also take computer laboratory courses in software program development.

You can expect classroom lectures and laboratory courses. Examples include:

  • Enterprise software
  • Software architecture
  • Software engineering requirements and management

Other common classes include:

  • Data modeling
  • Quality assurance
  • Testing software programs
  • Project management
  • User interface design
  • Developing web applications

27. Engineering Management

Average beginning salary $70,100; mid-career salary: $116,200

A master’s degree in Engineering Management is a degree often earned by practicing engineers. You’ll gain the management skills necessary for a promotion and become an engineering manager.

A Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree can often be earned at your company’s expense. Courses covered in an MEM degree include:

  • Corporate finance
  • Marketing
  • Statistics and accounting
  • Operations management
  • Risk analysis

Engineering is an ever-changing field. An engineering manager must pursue extra coursework to stay current with developing technologies.

Engineers will have the opportunity to begin managing projects. This degree prepares students to perform many management functions. This can be done while getting instruction in the general management skills that apply across careers. Examples include:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Accounting
  • Risk analysis

26. Taxation

Average salary $58,200; $116,400

A master’s degree in taxation can help you earn a job as a tax specialist or tax adviser.

The program coursework emphasizes research and covers technical basics. These include tax compliance and planning. Taxation students also take financial planning courses. Examples include:

  • Strategic tax planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning
  • Bankruptcy tax planning

Some master’s degree programs might even offer an internship in taxation. Typical courses in this program will cover:

  • Tax concepts and tax research
  • Federal taxation and international
  • Corporate taxation and partnership taxation
  • Taxation of individuals
  • Business expenses
  • Deductions and credits
  • State and local estate
  • Gift taxation

This program prepares students for a wide range of senior or upper-management careers. These might be in accounting, taxation or consulting. Some popular job titles include:

  • Vice-president corporate tax department
  • Senior tax manager
  • Senior tax accountant
  • Senior accountant
  • Tax consultant
  • Tax adviser
  • Financial analyst

25. Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace EngineeringAverage starting salary $74,400; mid-career salary: $116,500

In this degree, you will study the theories and principles of aerospace engineering. You will improve your understanding of the design technologies and science behind the discipline. It takes between one and two years to complete. Course topics include:

  • Mechanics of materials
  • Mechanical design
  • Control systems design
  • Structural dynamics

You could work at the entry level in a number of occupations. A few possible career options are:

  • Design researcher
  • Engineering services
  • Aerospace product and part manufacturing.

24. Physics

Average beginning salary $64,700; mid-career salary: $117,100

In a physics master’s, you will explore relationships between time, space, matter and energy. You’ll learn theoretical and applied research methods.

You will explore advanced topics in the field, including quantum and statistical mechanics. Some programs allow you to choose an area of concentration, such as:

  • Astrophysics
  • Biophysics
  • Material physics
  • Nonlinear dynamics

A thesis or research project may be required. The program will take two years of study.

You may conduct research in labs or educational institutions. Sample job titles include:

  • Materials scientist
  • Accelerator physicist
  • High school or community college physics teacher.

23. Information Technology Management

Average beginning salary $62,500; mid-career salary: $117,300

A master’s degree program in information technology management often involves the study of:

  • Database design
  • Supply chain management
  • The development of emerging technologies

You’ll take courses in both business management and computer science topics. This will prepare you for leadership positions within an IT department or organization.

22. Systems Engineering

Average beginning salary $76,700; mid-career salary: $117,600

Systems engineering refers to the development of reliable and effective systems.An interdisciplinary program, it teaches core principles. These principles can be applied to problem-solving tasks in many industries.

A key feature of this program? The goal is to maximize customer satisfaction while also working within the constraints of a business. As a systems engineer, you will evaluate a system. You will also assess whether it can meet cost and performance goals on schedule. Courses cover:

  • Concepts of applied science
  • Technology management
  • Analytical modeling

Concentration options in things like mechanical systems and telecommunications systems are offered. Graduate students advance to research concepts. This prepares them for advanced careers in academia, government, and private industry.

Systems engineers usually work with computer hardware. You may choose to develop telecommunications networks. Some engineers with master’s degrees in this field design products that work on the network’s infrastructure. These include mobile computing devices and smart phones.

21. Biomedical Engineering

Average starting salary $66,800; mid-career salary: $118,400

Biomedical engineering (BME) programs integrate engineering and medical principles. They work to improve healthcare treatment and diagnosis. Your work will involve research and development. An undergraduate degree and graduate program in BME are both interdisciplinary. They’re also customizable to a student’s interests.

Master of Science degrees in biomedical engineering focus on interdisciplinary training. Courses span biology, medicine and engineering. Some programs include options for business classes. Programs include thesis and non-thesis tracks. Graduate students take courses such as:

  • Biomaterials
  • Artificial organs
  • Tissue engineering

20. Management Information Systems (MIS)

Management Information SystemsAverage beginning salary $68,300; mid-career salary: $118,700

Master of Science degrees Management Information Systems includes courses in business, communications, computer science and management. You’ll gain leadership skills that prepare you for positions in information security and communication systems. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for this science-heavy advanced degree.

Typical coursework may include:

  • Systems analysis
  • Control and planning
  • Database system management
  • Computer science overview
  • Project management

Students can find careers as:

  • Systems analysts
  • Systems managers
  • Information systems directors
  • Network analysts
  • Database administrators
  • Database architects

19. Information Technology

Average starting salary $70,700; mid-career salary: $119,500

See: 35 Best Online Master’s in Information Technology

To apply for an Information Technology advanced degree, you will need a bachelor’s in a related field. Coursework in statistics is preferred. Applicants from related fields like library science or industrial engineering might qualify.

You’ll take courses with elements of:

  • Telecommunicatoins
  • Information security
  • Software development
  • Decision support systems
  • Business information systems
  • Networking

Courses cover topics such as:

  • Computer systems
  • Java programming
  • Protocols of network architecture
  • Software design
  • Electronic commerce
  • Telecommunications

Information technology is important to modern life and the success of many organizations. It involves the transmission, storage and analysis of pertinent information. You could work in fields like:

  • Public accounting firms
  • Computer auditing
  • Risk management
  • Corporate computer systems analysis

18. Computer Science (Master of Science Degree)

Average starting salary $79,700; mid-career salary: $119,500

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Computer Science

Computer science graduate degrees focus on applications of computing technology. They also cover computer programming, including:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Software engineering
  • The development of programming languages
  • Computer hardware engineer

Common core coursework can include:

  • Computational applied logic
  • Algorithms
  • Operating systems
  • Software engineering
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Database and network systems

Get a master’s in computer science (MBA in computer science is #7). Gain some experience in the field. Then, you can be competitive for mid- to high-level positions in computer systems and applications. What positions can you compete for? It depends in part on your previous experience. This experience might include experiences in other fields like business or biology.

You’ll need a related bachelor’s degree and a few years of work experience to apply.

17. Applied Mathematics

Average starting salary $62,000; mid-career salary: $121,300

Applied mathematics master’s programs focus on how mathematics is used as a language within various fields. These are fields other than mathematics. It is a wonderful complement to undergraduate studies in science, engineering or computers. You’ll gain flexibility by taking electives.

The courses are interdisciplinary. This allows students to study the use of mathematics in various fields. Most programs are designed to allow students to focus on their personal career goals.

16. Computer Engineering

Computer EngineeringAverage salary $78,200; mid-career salary: $124,700

Computer engineers create and maintain computer systems. They may specialize in one aspect of computer engineering. For example, you might choose hardware or software engineering.

Hardware engineers design computer circuitry and other computer devices. Computer software engineers develop computer applications and programs. Good math and analytical skills are necessary.

15. Mechanical Engineering

Average beginning salary $80,600; mid-career salary $122,000

Mechanical engineers design and build anything with moving parts. This includes everything from air conditioners to automobiles. Mechanical engineering is the broadest of any engineering specialty. Those who practice mechanical engineering can pursue careers in:

  • Biotechnology
  • Automotive services
  • Nuclear energy
  • Aerospace

You’ll pursue in-depth study in areas such as manufacturing, design, or robotics. You may have the opportunity to choose a thesis or non-thesis track of study. The non-thesis option might require  an independent study or more courses in place of a thesis. It is designed to prepare individuals for further study via a doctoral program, too.

14. Chemical Engineering Master of Science

Average starting salary $73,900; mid-career salary, $122,100

Chemical engineers apply  the knowledge of chemistry and the principles of engineering to the chemical industry. They provide the link between science and manufacturing. They are involved in a wide variety of activities. These include:

  • Equipment design
  • Process developing for largescale chemical manufacture
  • Planning and testing ways of producing
  • The treatment of byproducts
  • Supervision of manufacturing activities

Chemical engineers are employed in not only chemical but other manufacturing concerns. You might work in:

  • Electronics
  • Photography
  • Clothing
  • Pulp & paper products
  • Medicine & healthcare
  • Biotechnology
  • Business

These programs include extensive research components. Many students focus their studies in a particular area of specialization. Specializations include:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical engineering

Chemical engineering graduate degree programs include many advanced versions of the same courses offered at the bachelor’s degree level. Coursework topics may include:

  • Advanced thermodynamics
  • Advanced process systems engineering
  • Advanced separation processes

13. Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear EngineeringAverage beginning salary $70,500; mid-career salary $122,600

Most entry-level nuclear engineering positions require a bachelor degree. Many advanced research or supervisory jobs are only available to people with a graduate degree. Any engineer who works in the public sector must be licensed by the state. A graduate degree can take between two to four more years. The process to obtain a license varies by state. It usually requires you to pass a test and work as an intern for a certain period. Some courses that students will need to take include: e

  • Engineering analysis
  • Nuclear reactor design
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Nuclear reactor engineering

Nuclear engineers research and develop the processes and systems used in nuclear energy. They design, develop, and monitor the nuclear plants used to generate power. They may work on the nuclear fuel cycle. This includes the production, handling, and use of nuclear fuel. It also refers to the safe disposal of waste produced by nuclear energy. They may also work on fusion energy. Some specialize in the development of spacecraft nuclear power sources. Others find industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials. This includes the equipment to diagnose and treat medical problems.

12. Political Science

Median pay: $122, 510

Having a master’s degree pays off if you are looking to get into a political science career. Political scientists work within political systems such as the U.S. political system or foreign relations. They may:

  • progress and promote political theories
  • analyze data from public opinion
  • conduct and submit research

11. Corporate Finance

Average starting salary $77,800; mid-career salary: $122,800

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Finance

Professionals in corporate finance help corporations raise money to:

  • Support and expand business operations
  • Put together acquisitions
  • Manage cash resources
  • Ensure future economic stability

You could find yourself at an international company or a local business with a global market. Professionals hit the ground running. They take on major responsibilities and problem solve their way to success.

Financial officers are responsible for improving the company’s value. For instance, Columbus Ohio’s American Electric Power has a financial group that focuses on:

  • Flexibility
  • Legal compliance
  • Regulatory support
  • Liquidity

The finance department of the AEP is in charge of:

  • Creating and instigating financial policy
  • Developing the financing program
  • Directing cash flow
  • Coordinating with investors and financial organizations

Corporate finance positions are comparatively stable. Most are performance-based. Most people in the financial services industry are employed in such areas as:

  • Commercial banking
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial planning
  • Investment banking
  • Money managing
  • Insurance
  • Real estate

Some might work as a financial analyst as well.

Almost every firm, government agency and organization have financial managers who:

  • Oversee the preparation of financial reports
  • Strive to reduce risk
  • Direct investment activities
  • Implement cash management strategies

A finance degree can increase your earning potential. A chief financial advisor makes a median salary of $131, 710. If you are looking to get into a higher paying job you may get into a finance program. An undergraduate program alone may not be enough for the highest paying potential.

10. Electrical Engineering

Average starting salary: $78,200; mid-career salary: $124,700

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Finance

This profession demands a strong foundation in physical science and mathematics. You’ll also need a broad knowledge of engineering techniques. Of course, an understanding of the relation between technology and society is essential, too.

You’ll gain a theoretical foundation and the interdisciplinary skills needed to deal with new ideas and new applications. These are the hallmarks of modern electroscience.

Coursework might include a study of electromagnetics, photonics, and nanotechnology.

9. Finance

FinanceAverage salary $68,300; mid-career salary: $126,800

See: 50 Best Online Master’s in Finance

In an MBA in Finance, you’ll learn the fundamentals of finance. You’ll take technical finance courses. You’ll also gain the management skills necessary for any business setting. A finance degree is one of the top paying master’s degrees.

The MBA in Finance online program prepares you to enter or advance in a number of careers. These could range from investment banking to securities to small business development. Coursework from the finance program generally includes learning practical, valuable skills in areas such as:

  • Marketing
  • Strategic management
  • Information technology

These skills could be applied to any setting. The median pay for financial managers is $131, 710.

8. Marketing and International Business

Average beginning salary $61,700; mid-career salary: $128,200

The International Marketing MBA covers fundamental approaches of understanding markets. You’ll analyze competitors, product portfolios, and consumer behavior from an international perspective. The program emphasizes current developments in e-marketing strategies. It also addresses changes in advertising and the use of media. You’ll graduate with the tools, skills and mindset required to be an effective international marketer.

Coursework will generally include studies of:

  • Global economics
  • Finance
  • Strategic management
  • Human resources
  • Business and management
  • Communication

An MBA in Marketing can open a number of professional doors to opportunities in a wide range of fields. Career paths graduates with an MBA degree in marketing can pursue include:

  • Creative advertising agencies
  • Fashion marketing
  • Film marketing and publicity
  • Biotech
  • Aviation
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Freelance consultancy
  • Teaching

7. Computer Science (Master’s in Business Administration, Computer Science major)

Average starting salary $83,000; mid-career salary: $129,900

“Working with computers” is now a component of nearly every white-collar occupation. Yet there is high demand in a variety of fields for experts with a deeper understanding of computer and information systems. They need people who are capable of:

  • Developing rich applications integrated with a database back-end
  • Designing software capable of interoperating with complex network infrastructure
  • Consulting opportunities involving optimization of client software and hardware

The field of computer science is continually fueling innovation. With a master’s degree in computer science, you will arm yourself with the technological knowledge necessary to be an innovator.

Your coursework will balance CS foundational theory and applied technical courses. Core classes might include Programming, Algorithms, Databases and Systems. Electives include new and innovative courses to keep up with the fast-paced world of IT. Examples include:

  • Software Engineering
  • Big Data
  • Data Analytics
  • Machine Learning
  • High Performance Computing
  • Mobile Application Development
  • Web Development
  • Cloud Computing

You’ll be able to advance a career in technology research or development. Jobs in the computer science field can  be found in a company’s information technology department or even a government agency.

6. Economics (MBA)

Average starting salary $71,400; mid-career salary:$131,800

An Economics MBA will give you the skills needed to maximize a business’s potential. You’ll learn how to investigate the risks and potentials in investing in both local and foreign markets. You’ll also make an informed decision based on your research. You will learn to analyze international finance markets and trade.

You’ll be responsible for making decisions regarding pricing of a product. You’ll also be involved in setting its market and advertising it. You’ll be trained in industrial relations, marketing policies and investment decisions. Your skills will be particularly useful in keeping up with globalization. You’ll help businesses optimize their profit and develop a sustainable business.

Some degree courses may offer further specializations. These include:

  • Urban economics
  • Labor economics
  • Economic analysis

5. Marketing Management

Marketing ManagementAverage starting salary $63,000; mid-career salary: $135,300

An MBA in Marketing Management program lets students develop skills to run the marketing branch of a business or corporation. The curriculum includes both theory and practice. You’ll take courses involve conducting and analyzing extensive market research. You may even put together marketing campaigns.

You’ll learn about product development, management and sales promotion. Many MBA programs in marketing and marketing management place a strong emphasis on social networking. You’ll also cover Internet technologies and emerging media platforms. These are areas that corporations utilize more to market products and services.

Courses in an MBA in Marketing Management program focus on practical strategies. It also covers emerging technologies in the marketing field. Some common courses in the curriculum cover:

  • Product development and design
  • Brand and product management
  • New media platforms
  • Sales promotion

4. Entrepreneurship

Average starting salary $68,100; mid-career salary: $138,300

An MBA in Entrepreneurship program strengthens your expertise for starting, building, or advising new business ventures. You’ll gain a foundation in:

  • Financial accounting
  • Global marketing
  • Operations management
  • Data analysis

Common entrepreneurship MBA courses include:

  • Generating new startup and venture ideas
  • New venture feasibility
  • Financing
  • Managing
  • Marketing new ventures
  • The legal structures behind a new business
  • Sustaining a startup
  • Venture capital

3. Strategy

Starting salary $114,040

A career in strategy is one of the highest paying masters degrees. Programs with a concentration in strategy may focus on the domestic or global stage. Courses for one of the highest paying careers include:

  • Executive leadership
  • Global management strategy
  • Managing diversity in an organization
  • Team building.
  • Strategic management
  • Global strategy
  • Industry analysis

You’ll learn how to contribute to and lead the decision-making process at all organizational levels. Your main goal will be to maximize profit and anticipate competitor response. Strategic management courses prepare students to assess business needs. Then they can implement techniques to achieve success. You can take traditional daytime, evening and weekend courses. Most require two years of study. You’ll have a great deal of flexibility in choosing courses.

2. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse AnesthetistsStarting salary $140,900; mid-career: $162,800

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) is one of the highest paying jobs with a master’s. CRNAs administer anesthesia to patients before and after surgical. They also help with diagnostic, therapeutic, and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and emergency services, including airway management. CRNAs oversee the health of patients post-surgery. They’re an advanced practice registered nurse with specialized skills.

CRNAs can work independently. Their practice varies by state. They provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting and for every type of surgery or procedure. They’re the only anesthesia-providers in most rural hospitals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a high demand for CRNAs, especially in medically underserved areas such as rural areas and inner cities. It is one of the highest paying jobs.

CRNAs need at least a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program. The programs take 24 to 36 months to complete. They require a current registered nurse’s license.

CRNAs have to pass a national certification examination and have at least one year of work experience. This should be in an acute-care nursing setting, such as a surgical intensive-care unit or a medical intensive-care unit. 

A Certified registered nurse anesthetist is one of the top paying master’s degree. A nurse anesthetist

1. Petroleum Engineering

Average starting salary: $102,800. Mid-career: $187,600

One of the highest paying careers is a petroleum engineer. A petroleum engineer is involved in nearly all of the stages of oil and gas field evaluation, development and production. They maximize hydrocarbon recovery at the lowest cost while working to reduce environmental impact.

Petroleum engineers are divided into several groups:

  • Petroleum geologists
  • Reservoir engineers
  • Drilling engineers

These people work in multidisciplinary teams alongside other engineers, scientists, drilling teams and contractors.

Typical courses for this career path would include:

  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Well Logging
  • Well Drilling and Completion
  • Petroleum Production Operations Support

This job has a starting salary over $100,000. The mid-career salary is nearly $190,000. This is the cream of the crop when it comes to the highest paying master’s degrees.

See Also: Best Online Master’s Programs in HCI

Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor