1. Career Advice
  2. Career Change
  3. What are the best master's degrees for a career change? Check our top 10!
What are the best master's degrees for a career change? Check our top 10!

What are the best master's degrees for a career change? Check our top 10!

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • Why should you get a master’s degree?
  • The 10 best master’s degrees to have 
  • 1. Master of Business Administration (MBA) 
  • 2. Master in Computer Science 
  • 3. Master of Arts in Education 
  • 4. Master in Finance
  • 5. Master in Healthcare Management 
  • 6. Master in Information Technology 
  • 7. Master in Information Systems Security 
  • 8. Master in Project Management
  • 9. Master of Science in Marketing Analytics (MSMA) 
  • 10. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 
  • Key takeaways 

Thinking about going back to school and wondering what the best master's degrees are for a career change? Well, we’ve got the answer. Check out our list of the 10 hottest master’s degrees to earn.

If you’re feeling stuck or unhappy with your current career, or maybe you’re ready for something different, getting a master’s degree is a great way to start your career change. The coursework will give you the knowledge and tools you need to succeed in your new career path. It will also give you the opportunity to look at new options and interests.

Which degree to pursue depends on your career goals. Examine your choices and consider what fields best fit your aptitudes, long-term goals, and work preferences. 

This article will cover the following:

  • Why get a master’s degree?

  • Which master’s degrees are the best to have?

Why should you get a master’s degree?

Earning a master’s degree takes a lot of work and determination, but it can be  worth it for people looking to make a change in their career. Not only is it a career-switching catalyst, it also significantly improves earning power. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that people with a master's degree earned a median wage of $1,661 per week in 2022. This is $229 (about 16 percent) a week more than someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Statistical Insight
  • Having a master’s degree can increase your salary by up to 87 percent.

  • A poll found that around 52 percent of US employees are considering a career change this year, and 44 percent of those are already planning on making the change.

  • The average age to make a career change is 39 years old.

A master’s degree is a proven way to jumpstart a career in a specific field. It allows you to diverge from your bachelor’s degree and choose a distinctly different field. You also could specialize in something that complements your bachelor’s degree. Either way, it will give your career trajectory a significant boost.

Graduate school programs usually emphasize networking and making connections with people in your class, school, and chosen field. This can be another big factor in locating new career opportunities.

The 10 best master’s degrees to have 

Now we’ll look at some of the best master’s degrees to have in today’s economy. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of what the hottest and most in-demand degrees are.

1. Master of Business Administration (MBA) 

Business administration is the most overarching type of degree to have. It covers all industries and careers. It may seem like a generic or even trite choice, but it is a tried-and-true degree that is sure to help you get a great job at almost any company. MBA programs tend to focus on leadership and strategies; they will often include class projects and case studies to look into different sectors and industries. This can help you to pinpoint your career interests. 

How much should you expect to make? A study shows Fortune 100 companies and the big-three industries (consulting, finance, tech) the average salary for an MBA graduate is  $145,000.

2. Master in Computer Science 

If you’re into computers, math, or engineering, then a master in computer science may be a great choice for you. It includes skills in computer programming languages, software development, and computer engineering. Most computer science programs also include other areas of study, such as computer network architecture and information security. 

Many companies employ people with advanced computer science degrees. The job choices include most industries, and the average annual salary for a graduate with a master of computer science is $109K. 

3. Master of Arts in Education 

If you have a passion for teaching, then a master in education is the one for you. Teachers are always in demand, and those equipped with master’s degrees can find all kinds of opportunities across the country. 

Depending on which area of education you choose, salaries can range widely. The average annual salary for someone in the US with this degree is $103K.

4. Master in Finance

Business is about making money, and every business needs people to manage the money. That’s where a master in finance can come in handy. In this type of program, you’ll learn about corporate finance concepts, economics, accounting, financial analysis, modeling, and reporting. 

Knowing how to manage money can make you some good money! The average salary for a graduate with a master in finance is $80K annually.

5. Master in Healthcare Management 

Healthcare is a giant and growing industry. A master in healthcare management can be a great choice for talented people with a mix of leadership and management abilities. The program will give you the necessary healthcare industry knowledge, as well as ethical and sound business practices

This area covers a lot of ground, but a master’s degree in healthcare management can earn you from $69,000 to $133,000.

6. Master in Information Technology 

The digital world we live in relies on continually evolving information technology systems, architectures, and innovations. All these need well-educated IT professionals to create, build, manage, and maintain them. Information technology programs provide advanced training in systems design, computer networking, database management, and information security.

Information technology is an ever-growing field and employs many people. The starting salary ranges for an IT professional with a master’s degree are $68,000 to $92,000.

7. Master in Information Systems Security 

With data and systems security becoming more and more of an issue, information security is becoming a huge industry. There is an increasing need for information security professionals with advanced degrees. Information system security coursework includes information security and risk management, legal obligations, regulations, compliance and investigations, operations security, physical (environmental) security, security architecture and design, and telecommunications and network security. 

Someone with a master’s degree in this area can earn between $105,000 and $129,000.

8. Master in Project Management

 Every business runs on projects, and there’s a strong demand for talented people who can successfully manage complex projects. Project management involves cost tracking, regulatory compliance, multi-team collaborations, multitasking, and logistics oversight. An advanced degree in project management could be your key to having a challenging and high-paying new career.

Project managers with a master’s degree in project management can typically earn in excess of $134,000 a year. 

9. Master of Science in Marketing Analytics (MSMA) 

Marketing is a ubiquitous field that touches every industry and has evolved to include many specialty areas, including analytics. Data analysis is key for operating a successful big business. Companies need people with expertise in finding, manipulating, and interpreting massive amounts of data. A master of science in marketing analytics will provide you with a solid foundation in marketing strategies, consumer behavior, and market analysis, along with the skills and tools for synthesis, interpretation, and decision-making.

If you get a master of science in marketing analytics, then you can expect to find opportunities in an array of industries and businesses with salaries from $50,000 to more than $270,000.

10. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 

Having an advanced degree in nursing will make you a very valuable resource for any healthcare provider. Degree programs include many topics that cover family nursing, gerontology, mental health, informatics, and healthcare policy.

Nursing professionals with a master of science in nursing can earn a starting salary of around $70,000 and quickly move up to well over $100,000.

Key takeaways 

  1. Having an advanced degree gives you a distinct advantage for a career change.

  2. Some advanced degrees are more valuable than others. Choose wisely.

  3. Earning a master’s degree that compliments your bachelor’s degree can expand your career-change options.  

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