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Master's Degree Salary Guide (2024)

Are you considering earning a Master's degree and wondering how it will impact your salary prospects? Check out our comprehensive Master's degree salary guide!

Feb 28, 2024
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Master's Degree Salary Guide

Pursuing a Master's degree can offer numerous benefits, including higher salaries and career growth opportunities. If you want to improve your employment prospects and get greater career advancement opportunities, a graduate degree may be worth it.

In our Master's degree salary guide, we'll help you get a better understanding of how a Master's can boost your earnings.

Master's degree salary vs Bachelor's degree salary

Education pays data from The U.S. BLS shows, that the median weekly earnings for Bachelor's and Master's degree holders have a $229 gap - salary for a graduate degree is 16% higher on average. Additionally, with an average 3% unemployment rate, for Bachelor's graduates, it's 0.8% lower, while for Master's graduates - 1.1% lower than average.

In the UK, the average salary difference, according to Payscale, is approximately 10%: after getting a Bachelor's degree you can expect to earn around £33,000 per year, while a Master's can get you £37,000.

Average salary of someone with a Master's degree

According to talent.com, the average Master's degree salary in the United Kingdom is £47,500 per year or £24.36 per hour. For example, a Mechanic may earn around £30,000 annually, while for someone who works as a Senior Project Manager, it can be twice as much.

For the US, on the other hand, the BLS Education pays state that the median usual weekly earnings for Master's degree holders are $1,661, which roughly translates to $86,372 per year and $41.52 per hour. Average annual wages from the NACE Salary Survey for the college Class of 2022 range from $48,716 for Recreation to $105,894 for Information in Computer Science.

The industry you're working in is not the only factor influencing the average salary of someone with a Master's degree. Depending on the experience level, in the UK, for instance, you can make up to £65,000 per year on average, so about 37% more.

The location also matters. Master's graduates in Virginia have the highest average salary - around $95,000, but for those working in South Dakota, the annual earnings are much lower - $55,591 on average.

Highest-paying Master's degrees

A man working on a computer

The highest-paid Master's major, according to the report from NACE, is Computer Science. For the Class of 2022, the average salary is around $106,000 per year, and the projection for 2023 was $110,000. Engineering and Business are in the top 3, with an average annual salary of $87,976-$98,036.

Fastest growing occupations that require a Master's degree as of May 2022:

  • Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners earned a median annual wage of $125,900 with projected 38% employment growth with about 29,200 openings each year
  • Data Scientists' median annual wage was $103,500 with a 35% growth of about 17,700 openings each year
  • Mathematicians and Statisticians earned a median salary of $98,920-$112,110 per year with projected 30% growth and about 3,500 openings each year
  • Epidemiologists' median annual salary was $78,520 and 27% employment growth with about 800 openings expected each year
  • Physician Assistants had a median annual wage of $126,010, 27% projected employment growth, and about 12,200 openings each year

Master's degree salary for different fields

Sources: NACE, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master’s degree in Accounting salary

As a Master's degree holder in Accounting, you can expect to earn around $70,000 annually, which is 20% higher than for those with a Bachelor's. Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow by 4% from 2022 to 2032.

To further boost your salary, you can also earn a CPA (Certified Public Accountant license). The median advertised salary for a CPA with a master’s degree is $82,800.

There are many career paths and advancement opportunities for you if you have a background in accounting. Entry-level public accountants can advance to senior positions as they gain experience and then, if they excel, they may even rise to executive positions. As claimed by Glassdoor, the average total pay for a Chief Financial Officer is $319,000 per year.

Master's degree in Counseling salary

The median annual wage for school and career counselors and advisors was $60,140 in May 2022. With a 5% projected growth, about 26,600 openings are expected each year over the decade.

Average annual salaries for counselors in the top industries:

IndustryAverage annual salary
State Government Marriage and Family Counseling$72,580
Elementary and secondary schools$65,930
Governmental Mental Health Councelors$50,600
Other educational services$52,390
Junior colleges, colleges, universities, and professional schools$50,370
Healthcare and social assistance$39,650

To work as a counselor you'll most likely be required to have a license. It varies depending on the location, but on average you'll need to complete about 50 graduate semester credit hours, 100 hours of face-to-face client counseling or 600 supervised practicum graduate hours, and 3,000 hours of supervised post-degree clinical experience.

Master's degree in Education salary

Annual reports from NEA show an alarming tendency for average educator pay to fail to keep up with inflation. The average public school teacher salary in 2021-2022 was $66,745. For 2022-2023 it was projected to increase by 2.6% to $68,469. However, when adjusted for inflation, the average annual salary actually declined by 6.4% over the past decade.

On the other hand, full-time faculty on 9-10-month contracts had an average salary range of $96,414-$74,173 at public higher education institutions. Two-year institutions paid at the lower end of the range, while four-year ones paid at the higher end.

There are many different doors that a Master's degree in Education opens for you. Although you can be a teacher with just a Bachelor's and a license, a graduate degree can help you to become a better professional and pursue leadership positions. It is also a requirement for careers in higher education.

Non-salary benefits of Master's degrees

Happy students walking in the park

Higher salary potential is not the only benefit of earning a Master's degree. In the current competitive job market, you'll need all the help you can get.

First of all, for many positions, especially for management and leadership, a Master's degree is an unspoken requirement. It can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your qualifications. Employers tend to choose those with graduate degrees to fill senior positions.

Second, depending on your personal goals, a Master's degree allows you to explore further research and education opportunities, such as a PhD. Besides, there are a lot of internships for Master's students, which not only help you grow your professional network but also may result in a job offer right after graduation.

Last but not least, a Master's degree is a great chance for a career change. Many Master's programs accept students with backgrounds that may not match the degree major. Moreover, an unconventional combination of degrees can play in your favor in the hiring process.

Conclusions

Among the many advantages of acquiring a Master's degree, higher salaries are probably the most convincing. Just 2 additional years of education can increase your annual earnings by 16%! On top of that, it allows for career growth and change opportunities, as well as networking.

While an average salary of $86,372 per year does sound enticing, don't make money your one and only factor. Use a Master's degree as a chance to get closer to achieving your long-term goals, improve and gain more skills in your focus area, and experience new things.

Keystone Team

Author

The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.