Top 10 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees 2024

Stephen Ramotowski
June 20, 2024 · 13 min read

Explore the top 10 highest paying master's degrees in 2024, with the potential to earn salaries over $100K. Discover your path to a lucrative career.

According to a study by the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) in 2021, a master’s degree can boost your earnings by up to 87%.

Additionally, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics supports that master’s degree holders earn up to 20% higher annual salaries more than a bachelor’s graduate and 100% more than high school diploma holders.

So, if you’re considering attending graduate school, this could be your sign. A master’s degree takes about two years to complete, but it’s a worthwhile investment providing you with higher level skills and increasing your value in the eyes of employers.

Do you want to know more about the highest-paying jobs that require master’s degrees in 2024? Look no further. Here is a list of the highest paying Master’s Degrees this year:

Top 10 Highest Paying Master’s Degrees 2024 (Inc Salaries)

1. Master of Science in Nursing

A master’s degree in nursing not only increases your salary over holders of an undergraduate degree. It also gives you a wider range of career options and better chances to advance to administrative or supervisory roles.

The top-paying career paths for Master of Science Graduates include:

● Nurse anesthetists

Nurse Anesthetists are a kind of registered nurse who specialize in anesthesiology or administering inhaled gasses and intravenous drugs for patients undergoing surgeries and similar procedures.

The role of anesthetists is crucial to ensure patient safety and avoid any discomfort or pain.

Average Annual Salary: USD 211, 300

Job Outlook: 38% growth by 2032

● Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants (PA’s) work under the supervision of a physician in diagnosing, examining, and treating patients.

Their responsibilities range from routine vaccinations to surgical care, depending on their specialty.

In some areas where doctors or physicians are only present a few days per week, physician assistants act as the primary care providers.

Average Annual Salary: USD 127,600 per year.

Job Outlook: 27% growth by 2032

● Nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner job requires an advanced degree, like a master’s or doctoral degree, and clinical training.

They play several roles from patient care, disease control and clinical work to health management.

In some cases, they also conduct research, participate in healthcare forums, and apply the latest findings to their practice.

Average Annual Salary: USD 121,000.

Job Outlook: 38% growth by 2032

2. Master of Science in Computer Science

Computer and information technology is a flourishing industry that will likely continue to expand, so pursuing a Master of Science degree in Computer Science is one of the best decisions you can make.

This degree provides valuable knowledge and updated skills for Information and Communication Technology professionals working in data management, security systems, drive innovation, computer system networks, and software development.

The highest paying roles for Master of Science in Computer Science graduates include:

● Data Architect

Data architects are responsible for designing, creating, and organizing systems to store data for organizations and businesses.

They maintain the accuracy and security of databases for use in various applications.

Average Annual Salary: USD 139,900.

Job Outlook: 8% growth until 2032

● Software Developer

A software developer creates computer or mobile applications that meet user needs and solve user problems.

This is done by developing underlying systems that control networks, perform tasks, and run devices.

Software developers study, design, test, maintain, and upgrade programs and software.

Average Annual Salary: USD 106,000

Job Outlook: 25% growth by 2032

3. Master of Science in Finance

A master’s degree in finance not only opens doors of opportunities in various fields.

It also provides a potential for career development and growth. There are many job options and openings for finance degree holders who are essential in any industry and business venture.

If you pursue a Master of Science in Finance, these are some of the highest-paying jobs you can apply for:

● Actuary

Actuaries use sophisticated software that use statistics, mathematics, and financial theory to compare and predict profitability or loss.

They use the data from these software to analyze financial risks and costs. They also help clients develop measures to minimize these costs.

Actuary positions are vital in the insurance industry and you typically require a graduate degree to qualify for this position.

Average Annual Salary: USD 160,200

Job Outlook: 23% growth by 2032

● Financial Manager

Financial managers are typically in charge of the financial health of an organization.

They assist clients in identifying and reaching their financial goals. Using financial reports, they project future growth or potential losses while also giving practical advice on investments and business ventures.

Average Annual Salary: USD 108,500

Job Outlook: 16% growth by 2032

● Financial Advisor

A financial advisor is hired by individuals, businesses, companies, or organizations to oversee and manage financial matters. These include tracking earnings, savings, insurance, investments, mortgages, taxes, and the like.

Average annual salary: USD 78, 600

Job Outlook: 13% growth by 2032

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4. Master's degree in Public Health Management

Public health is a rising concern, especially after the COVID pandemic. Professionals in this field aim to improve community health and prevent outbreaks through policy design and implementation based on research and need at least a master’s degree. A graduate degree program in public health or public health management gives you a chance to have a fulfilling career in health administration, epidemiology, and environmental health.

The highest-paying career paths for holders of a Master’s degree in Public Health include:

● Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists study the causes of disease, trying to find patterns and common risk factors.

They use this information to reduce the occurrence, avoid risks, and find effective treatments for a variety of health problems and diseases.

Average Annual Salary: USD 174,000

Job Outlook: 27% growth by 2032

● Health Manager

Health managers, also called healthcare administrators or healthcare executives, are leadership positions responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services.

They manage staff, oversee budgets, organize facility processes, and stay updated with changing healthcare laws, regulations, trends, and technology.

Average Annual Salary: USD 85,800

Job Outlook: 28% growth by 2032

● Environmental Health And Safety Manager

Environmental Health and Safety managers aim to protect people from workplace and environmental hazards while also protecting the environment from human hazards.

They gather and analyze data, as well as conduct inspections to ensure adherence of work conditions and procedures to health, safety, and environmental regulations.

Average Annual Salary: USD 79,300

Job Outlook: 13% growth by 2032

5. Master of Science in Engineering

Some of the highest paying master’s degree positions are found in engineering disciplines. Graduates with up-to-date skills and knowledge on technological innovations and sustainable solutions are valued and expected to rise in the coming years.

The list of the top-paying career paths for Master of Science in Engineering Graduates include:

● Architectural and Engineering Manager

Architectural and Engineering managers direct, coordinate, and plan activities in the field of manufacturing and construction.

They are concerned with budgets, equipment checks, quality assurance, operations protocols, and schedules.

Average Annual Salary: USD140,400

Job Outlook: to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032,

● Petroleum Engineer

The main job of petroleum engineers is to find and extract oil and gas deposits through methods that increase the yield and reduce the costs.

Average Annual Salary: USD 103,500

Job Outlook: projected to grow 2% by 2032

● Chemical Engineer

By combining principles of chemistry, engineering, and physics, chemical engineers develop manufacturing processes and equipment.

They work in industries that produce paper, drugs, gasoline, food, electronics, clothing, and various chemicals.

Average Annual Salary: USD 88,600

Job Outlook: projected to grow 8% by 2032

● Industrial Engineer

A Master of Science in Industrial Engineering program focuses on reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and maximizing resources in various production industries.

They take advantage of the available technology, skilled workers, and latest research to increase the quality of products and services without sacrificing safety or the environment.

Average Annual Salary: USD 81,600

Job Outlook: grow 12 percent by 2032

6. Master’s in Data Science

In this data-driven modern world, industries rely heavily on data to improve services and products.

This is why professionals who can collect, analyze, and interpret large amounts of data are in-demand for making informed decisions, identifying patterns, predicting the direction of trends, and modification of laws.

The top-paying career path for Master’s in Data Science Graduates is a data scientist, described here:

● Data Scientist

Data scientists utilize various methods, tools, and sources to obtain and analyze data.

Valuable insights from these data are organized, interpreted, and presented using visualization software, maps, charts, and other graphics. Then, findings are communicated and used to aid decision-making, policy development, and technical planning.

Average Annual Salary: USD 129,600

Job Outlook: grow by 35% from 2022 to 2032, with 17,700 job openings each year.

7. Master’s Degree in Political Science

Political science is an interdisciplinary field covering sociology, psychology, law, and economics.

Although a master’s degree in political science opens doors for jobs like government positions and public affairs and administration, the best aligned is becoming a political scientist.

The highest-paying Master’s Degrees in Political Science jobs include:

● State Legislator

These legislators are responsible for planning, developing, introducing, and implementing laws and statutes at the state level.

They are elected officials that come up with and pass laws or bills that advocate for their constituents.

They oversee state agencies, ensuring efficient operations and proper allocation of government funds.

Average Annual Salary: USD 124,300

Job Outlook: The BLS currently has no data for state legislator job outlook since the position requires being elected for it. Moreover, changing demographics and term limits can impact the demand for legislators.

● Political Scientist

The bulk of a political scientist’s duties is to conduct research about political theory, political systems, international relations, comparative politics, and national politics.

Average Annual Salary: USD 124, 400

Job Outlook: Employment of Political scientists is projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032, with about 600 openings projected each year.

● Diplomat

A Diplomat, also known as a Foreign Service Officer, represents the interests of one’s country and its government in international settings.

Diplomats promote and maintain relations with other countries or international organizations.

They protect the rights of their citizens abroad, resolve conflict, and communicate economic, social, and political developments.

Average Annual Salary: USD 93,000.

Job Outlook: BLS categorizes diplomats under international relations professionals, the employment for which is projected to grow by 7% between 2022 to 2032.

8. Master’s Degree in Economics

A master’s degree in economics will equip you with advanced skills and knowledge on economic theories and principles while keeping you updated with latest market trends and conditions.

This is a valuable advantage to get higher paying positions in the field.

Here are some high-paying graduate degree jobs in economics:

● Economist

Economists work for businesses, governments, or firms to provide insight on the production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services. They explore trends in employment and prices of products in various fields including healthcare and business.

They conduct research and analyze data to forecast possible developments and propose amendments to laws and regulations.

Average Annual Salary: $114,700

Job Outlook: Employment is expected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, with around 1,200 projected openings per year.

● Financial Analyst

Financial analysts assess the performance of a client’s investments and evaluate opportunities for making profit.

They study how political conditions, economic trends and policies affect investments and offer guidance for individuals and businesses on where to commit their money.

Average Annual Salary: USD 79,900

Job Outlook: 8% employment growth from 2022 to 2032, about 27,400 openings per year

9. Master of Business Administration

After graduating from an online BBA program, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) can lead to a financially fulfilling career and supervisory positions in many industries. MBA graduates often land the positions of executives, managers, or organizational leaders.

The high-paying career paths for Master of Business Administration include:

● IT Manager

An IT manager handles the team tasked to perform all computer-based work for a company or organization.

Because of this, an MBA major in technology is helpful to understand the human resources and technical side of the job.

Average Annual Salary: USD 116,400

Job Outlook: Employment for this position is projected to have a 15% growth from 2022 to 2032.

● Business Operations Manager

Business operations managers possess excellent communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills to help a department or business achieve its goals.

They handle a range of responsibilities ranging from finances and project management to human resources.

Average Annual Salary: USD 93,800.

Job Outlook: Overall employment in management positions is foreseen to grow faster than the average for all occupations, with about 1.1 million projected job openings each year from 2022 to 2032.

10. Master’s Degree in Education

The highest earning positions for graduates of Master’s degree in Education are:

● Chief Academic Officer

Chief Academic officers oversee an institution’s academic programs. They ensure that students are given the optimum instructional environment and highest quality of education.

They also develop the curriculum and maintain the compliance of university standards with state and federal regulations.

Average Annual Salary: USD 137,500

Job Outlook: A 4% growth in employment is projected for this position from 2022 to 2032.

● Academic Dean

An academic dean is a postsecondary education administrator working to ensure that the faculty and staff are able to deliver quality education and service. They help establish academic goals and assist in providing resources to achieve them. Average Annual Salary: USD 128,900

Job Outlook: Employment for this position is projected to have an 8% growth until 2032.


Conclusion

Pursuing a master’s degree may be a strategic investment for your future, offering not only specialized expertise but also the potential for financial success with the highest salaries.

Many degrees available such as MBA, MSN, MS in Computer Science, and Master of Engineering can lead to some of the top-paying roles across various industries.

Nexford University can help you achieve your higher education goals through distance learning and master’s degree programs offering a focused skillset.


FAQs

What is the highest paying master’s degree in 2024?

A nurse anesthetist with a master’s degree in nursing will be the highest-paying master’s degree job in 2024.

According to data from Glassdoor, Nurse Anesthetists can earn an annual pay of USD 182,000 to USD 331,000 with an average salary of around USD 211,000 per year.

What is the best type of master's degree?

The best graduate or master’s degree to get depends on your career goals, interests, and the industry you prefer to work in.

However, in general, the top 8 highest-paying master’s degrees include:

  • MS in Nursing,

  • MS in Computer Science,

  • MS in Finance,

  • Master’s in Public Health,

  • MS in Engineering,

  • Master’s in Data Science,

  • Master’s Degree in Political Science,

  • Master’s Degree in Economics.

The other two are an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Education.

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Which masters degree is best for the future?

The best master’s degrees for the future are Master of Science in Nursing degrees.

This master’s degree is worth pursuing because it can provide opportunities for some of the highest paid master’s positions.

The BLS also projects that the employment for such positions will have a 38% growth by 2032.

What skills can I learn from a masters degree?

You can learn a variety of both hard skills and soft skills from a master’s program.

Hard skills include advanced research skills, deeper specialized knowledge in your fields, project management skills, and analytical skills.

You can also gain soft skills such as communication skills, leadership skills, networking, independence, collaboration, organization, and time management skills.

If you're ready to discover the skills you need to stay on top of your career, Download Our Free Report now.

Is a masters degree required to get the highest paying jobs?

Not all highest-paying jobs need a master’s degree.

However, earning a master’s degree can lead to improved employability and earning potential in many industries and fields. A master’s degree can even give you the opportunity to land higher-level positions.

Why is it beneficial to gain a masters degree?

Aside from an increase in expertise, the value of a master’s degree also increases your salary by a large sum.

For example, CNBC found that a master’s in business administration qualifies for 51% more in average starting salary than bachelor’s degree holders.

The good news is you can take an online MBA program through Nexford University.

About the author
Stephen Ramotowski
Stephen Ramotowski

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