What Can I Do With A Masters Degree?

After completing a bachelors degree program, many students choose to pursue a graduate degree. The masters degree is the most common type of graduate degree. Earning a masters degree can help you improve and advance your opportunities for employment. Colleges and universities around the world offer outstanding masters degree programs, helping students gain the knowledge necessary to achieve higher positions in the workforce. But what can you do with a masters degree?

highest paying jobsHighest Paying Jobs with a Masters Degree

Career options available to you once you earn a masters degree often depend on whatever subject you chose to study. Countless companies across the globe have higher-paying positions to offer to people with master degrees. In fact, according to CareerBuilder.com, depending on the subject, people with master degrees may make anywhere from $1,000 to over $30,000 more a year to start their new jobs than those who come out of college with bachelor degrees. The US Census Bureau reported in 2009 that individuals with professional degrees (master degrees or higher) earned an average monthly income of over $11,000. Check out some of the top paying jobs for people with masters degrees here.

Nurse Anesthetist

A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA or nurse anesthetist for short) spends much of his or her time working with physicians, surgeons, and anesthesiologists in order to provide the best treatment possible every step of the way for patients undergoing surgery. Nurse anesthetists evaluate and help prepare patients for surgery and assist in the administering of anesthetics and other medical necessities. Nurse anesthetists are highly personable and compassionate with patients and have excellent listening skills. A nurse anesthetist also possesses a masters degree in nursing or a specialty within nursing, and he or she has gained license as a registered nurse, as well.

Nurse anesthetists may earn an annual salary of over $130,000, based on education and experience levels. Nurse practitioners and midwives also make very good pay with master degrees.


A mathematician is involved in the discoveries and developments of new mathematical concepts and theories. Mathematicians test concepts and theories to verify their validity and submit their findings for review before the new concepts and theories are introduced into the education system. Mathematicians also assist in making important business decisions based on financial statistics. They have master degrees in mathematics and are quick and analytical thinkers.

Mathematicians may earn a salary of over $98,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.


A hydrologist focuses his or her work on observing the various forms of precipitation and how they affect water levels. He or she also takes water samples to test quality changes in bodies of water in specific environments and in what way changes within those environments may impact water conditions. Hydrologists possess master degrees in hydrology, natural sciences, and other relevant subjects. They pay strict attention to detail and are highly organized.

Hydrologists may make around $75,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.


A sociologist studies behavioral patterns of groups of people in order to develop understanding of culture and social interaction and organizations within a society. To better gather useful data, he or she also conducts interviews and surveys for people within those groups. A sociologist typically possesses a masters degree in sociology and has outstanding written and oral communication skills in addition to excellent research and analytical skills.

Sociologists may earn close to $75,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

The Masters Degree: FAQs

In addition to knowing some of the best paying jobs you can get with a masters degree, people often have many other questions when it comes to whether they should choose to pursue earning master degrees. A few of the most common questions about the masters degree are addressed here.

How long does it take to earn a masters degree?

The average masters degree program takes a full time student approximately two years to complete. On the other hand, there are some colleges and universities that offer joint bachelors-to-masters degree programs. These programs take approximately five to five and a half years to complete for full time students as opposed to earning your bachelors degree in four or five years and then spending an additional two years earning your masters degree.

Can I earn a masters degree where I earned a bachelors degree?

bachelors-to-masters degreeMany colleges and universities around the world offer both bachelors and masters degree programs. However, just because a school offers a bachelors degree you are interested in does not mean that school also offers a masters degree that will coincide with your area of interest. You should also note that there are many schools and technical institutes that do not offer master degrees at all, so it is crucial that you do your research before making any final decisions on what school to attend.

It is possible, however, to earn a masters degree at a school other than that where you earned or plan to earn your bachelors degree.

What percentage of Americans have at least a masters degree?

Over 41 percent of Americans who hold bachelor degrees also possess master degrees, and that percentage continues to grow as more and more people are attending colleges and universities across the country to improve their education and futures.

Can I join the military with a masters degree?

Yes. The United States Armed Forces are proud to accept not only high school graduates from around the country, but also college graduates with advanced knowledge in all sorts of fields in order to benefit the Department of Defense. Joining the military after graduate school is by no means discouraged. The Armed Forces gladly accept Americans with master degrees in engineering, aerospace management, aviation, and more. Whether you are interested in joining the air force, navy, army, marine corps, or coast guard, having a masters degree may be particularly beneficial.

Can I teach with a masters degree?

If you are interested in becoming a teacher, it is a wise decision to pursue either a bachelors degree or masters degree in education within the subject you want to teach. However, if you are highly knowledgeable in a subject but do not possess a bachelors or masters degree specifically relevant to education, it is possible for you to earn a teaching certificate. Requirements for teaching vary from state to state. Teach.org offers more information for people interested in becoming teachers.

What can I do with a masters in psychology?

Psychology is a very popular subject, so it is no wonder that this is one of the most frequently asked questions about the masters degree. Contributing to the community is one of the most rewarding benefits of finding a job in psychology. There are many career options available to you if you have a masters degree in psychology. Here are just a few: social workers, substance abuse counselor, clinical psychologists, industrial-organizational psychologists, and forensic psychologists. For more information on majoring in psychology, click here.

The decision is up to you. Should you or should you not get a masters degree? If you have a tight schedule, many schools offer online masters degree programs. You may also opt to be a part time student as opposed to full time; however, it is crucial to note that whatever degree program you choose will most likely take longer to complete if you are a part time student. Earning a masters degree is a great way to advance your education and, in turn, your odds of employment. It opens many more career opportunities on your road to success.

*Note: Statistics are generalized based on CareerBuilder.com, the US Census Bureau, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.