With the recession still going strong and unemployment at 8.6% in the United States, many look towards continuing their education in hopes that a master’s degree will broaden their chances of snagging a decent job after they graduate. Field in public service are growing and gaining a master of public administration could open new doors for your career. The most important decision is what kind of master’s degree a person should return for, and it is important to take into consideration whether that degree will, in fact, help in gaining a well-paying job after graduation. Below are the top three highest paying jobs needing master’s: crucial information in today’s world of scant jobs and rampant unemployment, especially since anyone going back to graduate school will have to take out loans to pay for their degree. Acquiring $30,000 in student loans (or more) without a good job to pay for it afterward is undoubtedly frightening.
According to Forbes.com, a physician’s assistant degree is the number one degree to obtain in this economy, with the job growth at 57% and the mid-career median salary at $98,900. The demand is high for this type of job, and many programs are only two years, making this even more appealing for those who want a degree to get a job, not necessarily to study a particular subject for the sake of academia. Physician’s assistants practice medicine under the supervision of licensed physicians, and do much of what someone with an M.D. will do: take medical histories, do patient exams, take X-rays, and treat minor injuries. For anyone with an interest in medicine and science, but is not necessarily interested in going through the rigors of actual medical school (a lengthy and expensive process), should consider a physician’s assistant program near them.
The next fastest-growing degree is computer science, with the job growth at 39% and the mid-career median salary at $111,000. Computer scientists, in a nutshell, create new technology, ranging from computer hardware to robotics to virtual reality-type technology. Many also work in universities researching new computer technologies and can focus more on scientific theory than actual hardware creation. With new gadgets being released every day (how many iPhones have been released already?), it’s no wonder that this field is an expanding and lucrative one. It should be noted, however, that many employers require not just a master’s but also a Ph.D. for this type of job.
The third best degree is civil engineering, with the job growth at 41% and the mid-career median salary at $98,700. Civil engineers design and manage those who build roads, buildings, bridges, sewage systems, and anything that a city could possibly need constructed. Although many American cities are struggling with budget cuts, roads and bridges will still need to be repaired, especially as the population continues to grow. With cities expanding, the field of civil engineering expands in kind. If you have any interest in design or architecture, this field might be a good choice for you.
All three of these fields have great job prospects for those graduating with a master’s, but ultimately you should follow what interests you the most. For those that are interested in helping others a emergency management masters degree could be a great addition to any one of the mentioned fields. If technical or scientific pursuits aren’t your cup of tea, don’t do it. But if any of these three fields excites you, get into grad school and get your degree. A great job is more than likely waiting for you at the end.