10 Careers Where a Graduate Degree Actually Matters

Enrolling in a graduate school program is a decision many ambitious, career minded individuals wrestle with. In theory, a graduate degree can facilitate promotions or new responsibilities in your field. However, taking the graduate entrance exams and paying for the program are no small matter. Given the additional training, a graduate degree often correlates to better compensation. Advancing the following 10 career fields will require a graduate degree.

  1. Higher Education

Teaching at the university level, either as an adjunct instructor or tenured professor, will require a graduate degree. Additionally, there may be a minimum numbers of hours for classes in the major required to apply. Some executive level or accelerated graduate programs reduce the number of hours in their program and may make you ineligible to teach at some universities. Professors make an average of $98,000 annually. That’s pretty good considering they get the summers off.

  1. Lawyers and Judges

While you don’t technically need to a juris doctorate to pass the bar, the likelihood that you’ll be prepared without attending law school is highly unlikely. Those interested in practicing law or continuing on to judgeships should definitely plan on law school in their future. The median salary for lawyers and judges respectively is $112,000 and $119,000 per year.

  1. Marriage and Family Therapist

If you’re primed to work with clients stricken with psychiatric disorders from anxiety to depression to substance abuse, you’ll need a graduate degree in order to become licensed. This is a necessary skill set as family, couples, and individuals seek professional help. The median annual salary is around $48,000.

  1. Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners provide primary healthcare to patients in the medical system. Nurses with a nursing degree can complete a master’s degree program and expect a median annual salary of just over $92,000.

  1. Industrial Organizational Psychologists

Experts in this field use psychological principles to solve workplace problems. A master’s degree in this specialty is required, but graduates can expect to earn a median annual salary of $80,000 when they land a job.

  1. Physician Assistant

A physician assistant needs a master’s degree from a physician assistant training program before they can practice. Although they must be supervised by a doctor, physician assistants perform exams, treat injuries, and deal with patient illnesses. This high growth sector pays an annual salary of $92,000.

  1. School and Career Counselors

Professionals in this field help students make career or educational decisions. You’ll find school and career counselors in public and private schools, working in administration at the university level, or providing services through private practice. The median salary in this field is just over $53,000.

  1. Librarians

Are you surprised? It’s true. Most librarians have a graduate degree in library science. You’ll find them helping people conduct research or locating information for personal or professional use. Librarians work for the local government, universities, and primary or secondary schools. For their service, librarians are compensated a median salary of $55,000 a year.

  1. Curators

When you think of curator, you probably think art gallery. Most curators work art or historical items for museums and are required to have a graduate degree. Curators can also work with zoos and botanical gardens and enjoy an annual salary of $49,000.

  1. Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors work with people to overcome mental or physical challenges to live an independent life. Someone recovering from surgery or some injury would likely cross paths with a rehabilitation counselor on the road to recovery. While this is a helpful position, it does require a graduate degree and experts in this field earn about $34,000 a year on average.

 

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