In 2012, the majority of top careers requiring Master’s Degrees exist within healthcare and computer industries. Specific skill-sets make degree holders invaluable to employers. Here are the top five best paying, fastest growing occupations that require a Masters degree according to Forbes Magazine and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
1. Physician Assistants
A physician assistant (PA) examines and treats patients with guidance from supervising doctors or surgeons. A Masters degree in Physician Assistant studies (MPAS), Health Sciences (MHS) or Medical Science (MMSc) is required to obtain state accreditation and employment. Average annual salaries are approximately $86,410 United States dollars (USD) as of October 2012. Analysts expect impressive industry growth of 30 percent by 2020.
Economists focus on production and distribution of goods and services. Most work independently within an office setting. Availability to work occasional overtime is crucial in order to meet project deadlines. Some entry-level positions are available but most require a Masters in Economics (M. Econ). As of October 2012, average annual salaries are approximately $89,450 USD. BLS predicts industry growth of six percent by 2020 with almost all available positions requiring advanced degrees.
3. Computer Scientists
Computer scientists work behind the scenes to invent new technologies and improve older systems in a variety of industries including business and medicine. Many jobs are located within government or research and development companies. Depending on the program, degree holders earn a Master of Science in Information Technology (M. Sci. IT) or Computer Science (MSCS). Average annual salaries are approximately $100,660 USD as of October 2012. Expected industry growth by 2020 is approximately 19 percent with plenty of employment opportunities for degree holders due to a current lack of qualified applicants.
Mathematicians develop math equations to solve various research problems. They frequently work in conjunction with scientists and engineers. A few positions exist for Bachelor degree holders but employers prefer advanced degrees. Most mathematicians have a Masters of Science in Mathematics. Some schools offer the highly specialized Masters of Art in Mathematics of Finance. Annual salaries average approximately $99,380 USD as of October 2012. The BLS anticipates industry growth of 16 percent by 2020.
5. Healthcare Administrators
Healthcare administrators manage daily operations within clinical areas or private practices. Some work for individual physicians while others handle group offices. Entry-level jobs require a bachelors degree, however most candidates posses a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). As of October 2012, the BLS listed average annual salaries at approximately $84,270 USD. Experts expect rapid industry growth of 22 percent by 2020.
People obtain advanced degrees for many reasons. Some are attempting to delay job searches while others are looking to advance within their current occupation. A competitive job market requires all Masters Degree candidates to investigate their desired course of study and see how it relates to an evolving society.