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Four high-paying careers that require a master's degree

Although plenty of people only need a bachelor's degree for their career, for others, earning a master's degree can be both a good career and financial decision. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median weekly wages for people who had a bachelor's degree in 2013 was $1,108. That number jumped to $1,329 for people who had a master's degree.

In addition to the potential to earn higher wages, people who complete graduate programs may put themselves in line for a promotion. Some companies have degree attainment requirements for certain positions or have a cap on the amount of responsibilities someone may take on without an advanced degree.

And if you've thought about switching careers, earning a master's degree may be vital to supporting that transition. Some companies and organizations may require employees in certain roles to hold a master's degree, and they won't even consider applicants without one. This may hold particularly true for certain careers in business.

Even if you've worked in the business world for years, you may never get your foot in the door without a Master's in Business Administration (MBA). Here are four high-paying careers that traditionally require a master's degree for employment, with some additional information from the BLS.

Career May 2013 National Median Annual Wage (2013) Responsibilities
Physician Assistant $92,970 Perform exams on patients; provide treatment; prescribe medicine; diagnose illnesses and injuries.
Nurse Practitioner $92,670 Work as primary and specialty-care providers; may work with individual segments of the population to provide health information and care; prescribe medicine; order medical tests.
Information Security Analyst $88,590 Watch for security breaches in a company's network; document the damages created by security breaches; protect sensitive information through the use of software and programs; create best practices within an organization to limit the chances of a security breach.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $80,330 Work with management to improve the quality of life within an organization; help with employee hiring and training; study the existing management style and make improvements where needed.

Those considering earning a master's degree should conduct research and speak to employers in their field to discover the potential benefits of advancing their education.

Sources:

Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, March 24, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm

Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151122.htm

Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm

Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm

Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

Physician Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291071.htm

Physician Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm

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