• Dina

What Jobs Need a Master’s Degree?



Many students choose to pursue a graduate degree after four years of college, some to gain skills to help them grow in their own industry, some to pivot to a different career, or to earn a higher income by obtaining a more advanced degree.


While many reports show that U.S. college enrollment has fallen in the wake of the pandemic, graduate school enrollment has seen an unexpected surge.


What types of schools are students applying to? According to the report of the Council of Graduate School, from 2019 to 2020, the number of applications submitted to public universities increased by 6.1%, private universities by 9.2%, concentrated in academic research universities (more than 20 doctoral programs) . Applicants of doctoral programs increased by 2.8%, master’s degree programs by 9.6%, certainly a huge hit!


In regard to majors, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, majors including computer science, engineering, biological sciences, psychology, and art all saw increase in graduate students.


Among them, computer science major saw the biggest growth in its graduate student population. Under the pandemic, people need a high-paying job more than ever. Between Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, graduate student enrollment in computer science-related majors has grown by 19.9%, a wild figure. Business majors, meanwhile, saw a drop in graduate student enrollment in Fall 2021, going down by 1.4% since last year.



Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center


How does the job market look for those with a master’s degrees?


Combining sources from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Payscale, and the American Association of Universities, an agency predicted that the top 10 Master's Degrees with the highest demand by 2026 are:


1. Accounting

Median Annual Income of an Accounting and Auditing Specialist: $73,560

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +7%

Median Annual Income of a Financial Management Specialist: $134,180

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +17%


2. Computer Science

Median Annual Income of a Computer and Information Scientist: $126,830

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +22%


3. Dietetics and Nutrition

This professional mainly has to do with food biology, nutrition, food distribution policy, food technology, etc.

Median Annual Income of a Nutritional Scientist: $63,090

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +11%


Median Annual Income of an Agricultural and Food Scientists: $68,830

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9%


4. Human Resources

Median Annual Income of a Human Resource Management Specialist: $121,220

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9%‘


Median Annual Income of a Vocational Training and Development Management Specialist: $115,640

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +11%


5. Library Science

Median Annual Income of a Librarian/Library Media Specialist: $60,820

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +9%


6. Mechanical Engineering

Median Annual Income of a Mechanical Engineer: $90,160

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +7%


Median Annual Income of an Engineering Manager: $149,530

Median Annual Income of an Aircraft Engineer: $118,610


7. Mathematics and Statistics

Median Annual Income of a Mathematician/Statistician: $93,290

Projected job creation by 2030: +33%


Median Annual Income of an Actuary: $111,030

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +24%


8. Nursing

Median Annual Income of a Nurse: $117,670

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +45%


9. Public Health

Median Annual Income of a Health Services Manager: $104,280

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +32%


10. Software Engineering

Median Annual Income of a Software Engineer: $110,140

Projected Job Growth by 2030: +22%


For many careers mentioned above, a master’s degree is required at the entry level, including mathematics/statistics, nursing, library science. In addition, a master's degree can lead to more opportunities in some industries. For example, many employees of big tech companies choose to pursue MBA degrees to transition to management positions.


A survey by Georgetown University found that graduate degree holders can earn up to 28% more than undergraduate degree holders in certain industries.


The figure below shows the income gap between graduate and undergraduate degree holders in the fields of computer science, statistics, and mathematics. Dark green bars represent the income range of Bachelor’s degree holders for each respective major, and light green bars represent the income range of Graduate degree holders.



Noticeably, the income gap between Bachelor’s degree holders and Graduate degree holders within relatively popular social science majors like psychology, economics, and political science is even larger than that within STEM majors.




Overall, the more humanities related the field is, the larger the aforementioned income gap. Within majors in the humanities, students with a graduate degree in history, languages and literatures, or comparative literature have a much higher earning potential than those with Bachelor’s degrees. Students who are planning to pursue studies in the humanities should seriously consider continuing their studies in graduate school.



Pursuing a Master’s degree can be a complex decision, and it involves a series of factors including your background, your prospective field of studies, your prospective career trajectory, etc. At Enlighteens, we are dedicated to students’ lifelong learning and progress. We believe that learning at any stage is a means to accomplishing each individual student’s personal long term goals, not an end. At the end of the day, our goal is to help every student become the best version of themselves, with a full understanding of their unique strengths and potentials.




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