Online master’s degree programs offer many perks, from rolling admissions allowing the student to start the program whenever they are ready, to lectures being available for viewing at any time. Many employers are willing to offer promotions and pay raises to their employees after receiving advanced degrees, and many employers will even pay all or a portion of an employee’s tuition costs for the sake of getting a better-educated worker. So what are the best graduate degrees to pursue, and what are the top master’s degrees in demand?

What are the Graduate Degrees that Pay Off?

As we have noted before, the top three graduate degrees that pay off are a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), which can lead to a position of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with an average salary of over $173,000, not including bonuses and other incentives. Master of Health Administration, which can lead to a position as a Director of Nursing with an average annual salary around $173,000. The third graduate degree that pays off is a Master’s degree in a Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program, which can lead to a position as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) coming in with a salary around $150,000. With these top master’s degrees in demand, graduates can go just about anywhere and find a high-paying job.

What are the Top Master’s Degrees in Demand?

One of the top master’s degrees in demand is the Master of Science in Finance. This advanced degree in finance allows for an individual to apply for a wide range of job specialties. This includes analysts, tax experts, risk managers and many others requiring strong financial skills. One of the jobs that are in demand for a Master of Science in Finance are Chief Financial Officer (CFO), which has a projected growth of 8% by 2026. Another position is a Financial Analyst, who uses data to guide others away from financial risks. This projected growth of this position is 11% by 2026. Another position for this Master’s Degree that’s in demand is an insurance underwriter, with a projected growth of 15% by 2026. Insurance is the perfect place for those with this type of financial knowledge. Underwriters specifically perform data analysis combined with emerging technology to perform job functions.

What are the Top Master’s Degrees for the Future?

It’s impossible to really predict what direction the economy or job market will take in the future – after all, if we could do that, we’d never suffer a downturn or recession. But by judging where we’ve been and where we are, we can make some pretty reasonable estimations of what kinds of careers and education will be lasting.

Obviously, computers aren’t going anywhere, so the easiest answer is “Get a degree in computer science or engineering.” But au contraire – not so fast. What kind of computer science degree are you getting? Not to knock programmers, but as computers get more sophisticated, we’re going to see them essentially able to program themselves. Not anything that is tied to a particular technology, either; just as computing power grows exponentially, so to does the technology itself change rapidly.

The smartest way to set yourself up for the future, in the technology industry, is analytics. Big Data isn’t just a buzzword – it’s the ocean we swim in, and the people who have command over the databases, and the knowhow to make sense of the floods of information, are the ones who will always be in demand. Data analytics, system analytics, mathematicians and statisticians; they aren’t romantic, and they aren’t easy, but they’re endlessly adaptable.

The graduate degrees that pay off best aren’t always the ones that pay the most right now; they’re the degrees that keep paying off for a good, long career.