dcsimg

Ten Highest Paying Graduate Degrees

Our list of the highest paying graduate degrees  is based on 2011 mean salary data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’ve split our list into two sections: the first represents the highest paying Ph.D. and professional careers, while the second shows the highest paying careers that typically only require a master’s degree.

We decided to include master’s degrees, because while Ph.D. programs can often lead to higher salaries, they also usually require a bigger time commitment -- something that’s not for everyone.

Note: Chief executives were omitted from this list.

Top paying professional and Ph.D. degrees

It may come as no surprise that doctors and dentists represent all five of the top-paying jobs in the country. These professionals must complete medical or dental school, which usually lasts four years, and up to eight years of residency and internship programs, in addition to passing national and state licensure exams. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for physicians and surgeons is quite good as employment is projected to grow up to 24 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012), while the dentistry field is expected to grow by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

1. Anesthesiologists: $234,950 national annual mean salary

Anesthesiologists are medical professionals who administer pain-relieving anesthetics before, during and after surgery. They monitor a patient’s vitals throughout surgery and adjust the level of anesthetics as needed (BLS.gov, 2012).

2. Surgeons: $231,550 national annual mean salary

Surgeons specialize in treating injuries and disease by performing medial operations. Some are general surgeons, while others choose to specialize. Example specialties include orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, and plastic surgery (BLS.gov, 2012).

3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists: $218,610 national annual mean salary

OB/GYNs specialize in medical care involving the female reproductive system. They provide medical guidance to women during the pregnancy process, and also are experts on women’s health issues, such as breast cancer and hormonal disorders (BLS.gov, 2012).

4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: $217,380 national annual mean salary

These hybrid medical specialists combine surgical and dental expertise to treat conditions of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.  According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, they can surgically treat diagnoses like oral cancer, cleft lips and palates, TMJ disorders, sleep apnea, impacted teeth, and facial reconstruction.

5. Orthodontists: $204,670 national annual mean salary

Rounding out the highest-paying Ph.D. programs are orthodontists. Orthodontists are dentists who give people great smiles by realigning teeth and jaws with braces and other appliances. They can help correct issues like overbites, under-bites, spacing and crowding for both cosmetic and health reasons (Colgate Oral and Health Resource Center, 2012).

Highest Paying Master’s Degrees

1. Industrial- Organizational Psychologists: $124,160 national annual mean salary

Utilizing their mental health skills in corporate settings, industrial-organizational psychologists apply their psychological expertise to help improve workplace efficiency and solve problems. They can help boost employee morale and plan policy changes.

While many psychologists must obtain a Ph.D., industrial-organizational psychologists usually only require a master’s degree. Additional certification might be required to practice psychology in certain states.  According to the BLS, job outlook is forecasted to be much better than average (35 percent national growth) between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

2. Political Scientists: $105,040 national annual mean salary

The authority on everything politics, political scientists study the intricacies of national and international political systems, both past and present. They research current trends through data analysis and forecast the future political landscape among other duties. Political scientists often specialize in one of four fields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations or political theory.

These professionals typically hold a Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy, Master of Public Affairs, or similar graduate degree. According to the BLS, job outlook is projected to reach up to 8 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

3. Mathematicians: $101,320 national annual mean salary

Mathematicians use their number-manipulating and equation-cracking talents to solve practical problems in a variety of business and government settings. They often accomplish this by developing mathematical models and computational methods. Two of the major types of mathematicians are applied mathematicians and theoretical mathematicians.

It is common for individuals with master’s degrees in mathematics to not actually become mathematicians, but to instead get jobs as computer programmers, systems engineers, or statisticians, to name a few. The BLS projects up to 17 percent job growth for mathematicians between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

4. Post-secondary Education Administrators: $97,170 national annual mean salary

Post-secondary Education Administrators are responsible for overseeing a variety of administrative functions at the university and college level. Depending on the department they work in, they might help create admissions policies, maintain student and course records, or schedule non-academic student activities and events.   

A master’s degree is usually sufficient for high-level careers in this field; however deans and provosts are required to hold a Ph.D. degree. According to the BLS, national job growth between 2010 and 2020 is expected could be up to 19 percent (BLS.gov, 2012).

5. Elementary and Secondary Education Administrators: $90,200 national annual mean salary

Members of this education profession are often principals in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. They take charge of general administrative duties and supervise the teaching staff. Principals often have teaching experience in addition to holding a master’s degree in education leadership or administration.

In most states, aspiring public school principals are required to become licensed as school administrators, while private school principals are not. The BLS forecasts this career field to reach up to 10 percent national job growth between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

Schools
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads

            Why is Boston University ranked #39 in national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017? And what is the catalyst that prompts 33,106 students to call BU their home every semester? It's in our DNA: an inherent desire in each of our students, faculty, and staff to vigorously and dauntlessly pursue knowledge—and embrace the unlimited possibilities that come with it. Founded in 1839, Boston University is one of America's largest and most respected private research universities. It offers a unique combination of academic excellence and social relevance for its more than 33,000 students from 135 different countries. 

            • Online Courses

            Winthrop University is a public, comprehensive university located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with a rich tradition spanning more than 130 years.

            • Online Courses
            UNC Kenan-Flagler is one of the world's top-ranked business schools. At UNC Kenan-Flagler, you develop the skills that make you a highly effective leader and prepare you for long-term career success. The strength of the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA degree comes from a school culture in which members live the business school's core values of excellence, leadership, teamwork, integrity and community.
            • Online Courses
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
            • Online Courses

            The George Washington University (GW) was founded in 1821 and is located in Washington, D.C., the heart of international law, health care and business. Our location and close relationships with prominent health care agencies and their officials distinguish the opportunities we provide our students.

            • Online Courses

            At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We’re defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

             

            American University is a private, college-centered research university located in the nation’s capital. It was chartered by the United States Congress in 1893 to build public service, and is now home to a prestigious faculty, guest speakers and visiting world leaders who are influential practitioners and prominent thought leaders.

            • Online Courses
            • Ranked 25th among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • One of the world’s leading private research universities.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 9:1, and 56.8% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has an average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, of 96.8 percent.
            • Dedicated to a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education since 1880.
            • Its faculty includes National Academy members, Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and more.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            Good for Working Adults
            • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
            • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
            • Equipped with over 17,000 titles in their library.
            • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
            • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. The GRE is not required to apply to the MSW@USC program. Complete in as little as 1 year with a BSW.
            • Earn a Master of Social Work online from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
            • The CSWE-accredited program features live, online classes and hands-on field experiences near your community.
            • Bachelor's degree is required to apply
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            • Recognized as the largest university in the Chicago area, with 27,580 students and 15 colleges.
            • Listed as one of the top 200 research-funded institutions in the world, with more than $291 million research funds in FY 2013.
            • Proud to be a tobacco-free campus, prohibiting all forms of tobacco within campus boundaries.
            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits