In the United States, a student achieves a certification known as a master’s degree, sometimes referred to as a master degree, master or graduate degree, after they’ve completed a certain level of knowledge acquisition and training. Typically, they must show that they’ve achieved the highest level of specialized education and understanding in a specific field of research or professional study.
Why Is a Master Degree Important to Gain Money?
In every industry, employers pay the most knowledgeable and skilled people the highest salaries because they know that these workers are worth every penny. They don’t have to spend a lot of money training someone with less knowledge and skill who might leave at any moment or use that training to acquire a job with a competitor. They also know that these certification holders possess extra abilities outside of field-specific ones. They’re capable of incredible complex problem solving, critical analysis and independent thought. They also often receive leadership and externship (job shadowing) or internship (hands-on) training that employers highly value.
A worker can use this certification as proof of their worth and leverage during salary and benefit negotiations, especially if they received it recently and can show that they’re up-to-date on important job-related information, such as recent state or federal regulations and technologies. A worker who has extensive hands-on, professional experience without it is unlikely to beat a candidate who has it when competing for a job or promotion because they might be seen by an interview or employer as lacking in some way.
According to information from 2021 gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, master’s degree holders age 25 and older are less likely to be unemployed than those with a bachelor’s or none whatsoever. Full-time wage and salary recipients with it make approximately $240 per week more (median) than those who only have a bachelor’s. They make $765 more than those who only have a high school diploma.
How Much Time and Money Do I Have to Invest to Get One?
A full-time program typically takes approximately two years with or without completion of an undergraduate program or receipt of credits for hands-on training or professional experience. It can cost between $12,000 and $50,000 per year.
The amount of time and money that a person spends to achieve this qualification depends on a wide range of factors, including the field of study, their short-term and long-term goals, their schedule, the program’s offerings, the requirements of the academic institution, professional credit opportunities, the specific program’s cost, and relocation, housing and other extra cost considerations.
Some students can’t afford full-time study because of their schedules or budgets and must study part-time and attend night or remote classes. External factors, such as major life events like childbirth, weddings and natural or manmade disasters, can also extend the completion timeline. Whenever a program takes longer, they face higher costs because of cost-of-living increases each year.
What Are the 8 Best Master Degrees to Gain Money?
The top eight change often because of national and international trends in business, education, finance, politics and other areas. The global COVID-19 pandemic has altered the job landscape to the point that it’s impossible to say with certainty that any one certification will definitely always remain at the top over the next six months or year.
That said, certain ones and associated professions seem like safe bets because they almost always guarantee a six-figure salary:
– Science (MS): This one can be used to succeed in a broad-range of positions with or without a specific job attached to the program. It’s the preferred option of many people who want to become chief financial officers, computer scientists, engineering managers, industrial production managers, information technology directors, mathematicians, petroleum engineers, pharmacists, physician assistants and software engineers.
– Science in Nursing (MSN): A shortage of highly skilled nurses and nurse practitioners is currently crippling many hospital systems throughout the U.S. because of the pandemic. Per a recent October 2022 Fortune article, nurse practitioners are needed more than ever before because they receive specialized training that allows them to fill in for doctors, especially in areas like rural communities that have doctor shortages.
– Health Administration (MHA): A worker doesn’t need to become a nurse or doctor to make money in the healthcare industry. Although a nurse can become a chief nursing officer with this certification, the pandemic has caused a shortage in general administrative leadership staff as well. Clinics, hospitals and entire healthcare systems need non-nursing executives and directors who possess this education.
– Business Administration (MBA): Although this one is also often combined with specialty training based on a specific position, it’s another great option for a wide range of careers. An MBA that focuses on Marketing Management, for example, is critical because marketing positions are on fire while many businesses struggle to keep up with hard, chaotic times. Skilled economists with an MBA in Economics who can lead think tanks, businesses, organizations and others to analyze economic trends and anticipate future changes are also highly needed at this time.
– Aerospace Engineering (MSAE): Climate change and pandemics have extensively altered how and when people travel. Corporations and governments need skilled aerospace engineers to help them come up with cost-effective, environmentally friendly solutions to their biggest problems, including finding methods to transition away from dangerous fossil fuels and deal with high plane traffic and congested skies.
– Biochemistry (MBiochem): Individuals specializing in biological life and chemistry are needed in diverse roles. For example, many pharmaceutical companies need skilled people with this certification in their laboratories working on advances for treating diseases. There’s also a need for petroleum engineers with it to find new solutions to harmful traditional methods of extracting fossil fuels while dealing with increased demand.
– Computer Science (MCS): Many tech companies and governments can’t keep up with consumer and commercial demand for new technologies that solve everyday and emerging or worsening problems. People with this certification work on innovative solutions using existing technologies or by creating new ones. They might also become the chief technology officer of a company that deals with a high-demand area, such as data security or artificial intelligence.
– Science in Dentistry (MSD): All physicians, internists and dentists must pay for highly extensive and expensive training. Yet, dentists have a better overall job outlook. Private-practice and group dentists don’t have to deal with many hospital and healthcare system stresses. People always need their services. A dentist with an MSD can increase their salary by offering additional treatments or taking on educational roles.
Conclusion: Pros and Cons of a Master Degree
These certifications are obviously beneficial for a variety of reasons. They can increase a worker’s professional reputation and provide leverage in fiercely competitive job or promotional scenarios. Why then do so many workers feel that they wasted their time and money in the effort to acquire one?
Some options obviously offer workers more power in the job market than others. A worker must always make certain that a specific program can actually help them achieve their career and money-making goals and that the certification comes from an academic institution that has a great reputation. They also need to make certain that they’re not attempting to enter a local market or geographic region that’s experiencing oversaturation of skilled workers. The worst possible outcome for some graduates is that they spend more than $100,000 on their education only to discover that they can’t make enough money to pay off their debts. There are too many people they must compete against with too few openings; or they have to live in an expensive area close to their workplace that makes paying down debts difficult.
The good news is that non-profit, employer-based and government funding options exist for some programs, especially medical-related, scientific and technology ones. Additionally, less-expensive remote opportunities have opened up since the start of the pandemic. Workers merely need to perform their due diligence before signing up for a specific master’s program.