If you want to earn a comfortable salary, your best bet is to get a master’s degree. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with master’s degrees earn an average of $1,326 a week and experienced a 2.8 percent unemployment rate in 2014. Compare that with an average weekly salary of $1,101 for bachelor’s degree holders, $792 for associate’s degree holders, and $668 for people with only a high school diploma. It’s obvious that a master’s degree is a choice that can really pay off financially.
But your chances of financial success post-graduation also depend on the type of master’s degree you get since some degrees are more likely to pay off than others. Let’s take a look at five master’s degrees that are known to pay off with a generous salary and good job prospects.
1. Master of Public Health
If you want a wide range of job opportunities after graduation, you should look into programs for a Master of Public Health. You’ll be qualified to work in industries including community health and health education, city planning, civic affairs, international developing, housing, and transportation. There are plenty of civil service jobs available for MPH holders, on the local, state, and even federal level. Thanks to public health threats like the obesity epidemic and antibiotic resistance, as well as the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, demand for public health specialists will only increase in years to come. The average graduate earns about $84,000.
2. Master of Science in Nursing
You certainly don’t need an MSN in order to bring home a healthy paycheck as a nurse — nurses with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in their field bring home more than $65,000 a year and are in high demand as professionals. But earning an MSN can qualify you for so many more opportunities and allow you to earn even more money. Nurse practitioners earn more than $96,000 a year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and demand for master ‘s educated nurses is expected to skyrocket by 31 percent by 2022 as tens of thousands of Baby Boomers enter retirement.
Related: Why Choose Nursing as a Major?
3. Master of Science in Statistics
Statisticians rely on their knowledge of advanced mathematics to translate statistics into accessible data that corporations, governments, and individuals can put to good use. With an MS in Statistics under your belt, you can expect to earn an average of about $75,000 a year, or as much as $128,000 or more a year if you manage to work your way to the top of your field. You’ll earn the most money in information services, finance, and merchant wholesale. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for statisticians will increase by as much as 27 percent by 2022.
4. Master of Arts in Political Science
Political scientists research and provide expert insight on political trends, ideologies, and ideas. They study how political systems begin, evolve, and function. They may analyze governments and their policies, as well as the issues related to those policies. There are plenty of jobs for political scientists in government, academia, and industry — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for trained political scientists is expected to increase by 21 percent over the next 10 years. An average salary for a political scientist is about $102,000 a year, but top earners in this field pull down more than $148,000 a year.
5. Master of Science in Organizational Psychology
A Master of Science in Organizational Psychology can prepare you to work in almost any field, from health care to government, education, engineering, architecture, retail, scientific research, or even technical consulting.
Because organizational psychologists are necessary across such a wide range of industries, employment opportunities are expected to increase by 53 percent by 2022. You can also expect to bring home an average of about $90,000 a year, with top earners raking in more than $145,000.
If earning a great salary is important to you — and why wouldn’t it be — getting a master’s degree is the best way to ensure that you’ll be bringing home the biggest possible paychecks. Just make sure you earn a degree that will pay off in the form of a great salary and great job prospects. There are plenty of such degrees to choose from, so no matter what your interests, you’ll be sure to succeed.