10 In-Demand Jobs That Require a Master’s Degree in 2024

Want to improve your salary potential and career prospects? Here are the 10 fastest-growing jobs that require a master's degree.
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Updated on February 29, 2024
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Portions of the following article were drafted using an in-house natural language generation platform. The article was then reviewed, fact-checked, and edited by multiple members of our editorial team prior to publishing.

As the job market becomes more and more competitive, you might consider getting a master's degree to help you stand out. A master's degree deepens your knowledge in a specific field and equips you with advanced research and critical thinking skills.

There's also the potential payoff: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master's degree-holders earned around $12,000 more in 2022 than those with just a bachelor's degree.

Ultimately, the benefits of a master's degree will depend on your field of study and the job market's demands. In this article, we'll explore some of the fastest-growing jobs that require a master's degree.

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10 In-Demand Jobs That Require a Master's Degree
Job Job Growth Rate (2022-2032) Median Annual Salary (May 2022)
Nurse Practitioners 45% $121,610
Statisticians 32% $98,920
Epidemiologists 27% $78,520
Physician Assistants 27% $126,010
Computer and Information Research Scientists 23% $136,620
Speech-Language Pathologists 19% $84,140
Genetic Counselors 16% $89,990
Marriage and Family Therapists 15% $56,570
Orthotists and Prosthetists 15% $77,070
Occupational Therapists 12% $93,180
Source: BLS

1. Nurse Practitioners

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 45%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $121,610

Nurse practitioners provide primary and specialty healthcare. These professionals assess patient needs, order and interpret diagnostic tests, draw up treatment plans, and prescribe medications. In some states, nurse practitioners can operate independently of doctors and even run their own private practices.

Specializations within this field include family health, pediatric health, adult gerontology, neonatal health, and women's health. The BLS projects a strong demand for nurse practitioners in the coming years, largely due to an aging population and a heightened focus on preventive care.

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2. Statisticians

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 32%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $98,920

Statisticians use mathematical and statistical techniques to collect, analyze, and interpret data, helping organizations make informed decisions. They work in sectors such as business, healthcare, education, and the government.

Given the increasing reliance on data in decision-making processes, the demand for statisticians is projected to rise. Those with a strong background in computer science, machine learning, or big data will likely have the best job prospects.

3. Epidemiologists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 27%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $78,520

Often referred to as "disease detectives," Epidemiologists are public health professionals who study the patterns, causes, and effects of health and diseases in certain populations.

Epidemiologists collect and analyze data, conduct field investigations of health problems, manage public health programs, and develop policies and procedures to control and prevent public health crises.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical role epidemiologists play in responding to public health emergencies and managing disease outbreaks.

4. Physician Assistants

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 27%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $126,010

Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals who practice medicine as part of a team of doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients with minor illnesses under a doctor's supervision. Duties can vary depending on your specialty, the type of practice, and state regulations.

PAs can work in hospitals, doctor offices, and outpatient clinics. The demand for PAs is on the rise due to an aging population and a growing need for healthcare services.

5. Computer and Information Research Scientists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 23%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $136,620

Computer and information research scientists invent and design approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study complex computing problems and develop new algorithms and computer languages, contributing to the advancement of computer science.

These scientists often collaborate with professionals from other fields.

Given the rapid pace of technological advancement, the demand for computer and information research scientists is projected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Featured Online Computer Science Programs

6. Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 19%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $84,140

Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders. They work with people who have speech and language difficulties due to a variety of reasons, including stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, and natural causes.

These professionals can work in schools, hospitals, and private practices. With an aging population and increasing survival rates for preterm infants and stroke and trauma victims, the demand for speech-language pathologists is projected to grow.

7. Genetic Counselors

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 16%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $89,990

Genetic counselors assess the risk of inherited conditions in patients. They provide information and guidance to other healthcare providers, patients, and patients' families about potential genetic conditions and diseases. Genetic counselors work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, labs, and doctors' offices.

The demand for genetic counselors is projected to increase significantly in the future due to advancements in genomics and personalized medicine.

8. Marriage and Family Therapists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 15%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $56,570

Marriage and family therapists help individuals, couples, and families manage and overcome problems within their relationships. They use various therapeutic techniques to address mental health conditions, communication problems, and other issues that may impact family dynamics.

These therapists work in an array of settings, including private practices, mental health centers, and substance use treatment centers. Increasing awareness around mental health and the importance of therapy has led to an increased demand for marriage and family therapists.

Featured Online Family Counseling Programs

9. Orthotists and Prosthetists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 15%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $77,070

Orthotists and prosthetists design and create medical supportive devices, such as braces and artificial limbs, and measure and fit patients for them. These professionals work closely with doctors and other healthcare workers, often following up with patients to ensure the devices function properly.

With advances in medical technology, the demand for orthotists and prosthetists is projected to grow significantly over the next decade.

10. Occupational Therapists

  • Job Growth Rate (2022-32): 12%
  • Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $93,180

Occupational therapists help people of all ages perform everyday activities, such as eating, getting dressed, and using a computer, usually after the loss of these abilities due to illness or injury. These professionals develop plans that take into account the patient's physical condition, environment, and lifestyle.

Occupational therapists work in many settings, including hospitals, schools, and patients' homes. The demand for occupational therapists is projected to grow due to an aging population and an increased need for occupational therapy services, according to the BLS.

So Should You Get a Master's Degree?

Deciding whether to get a master's degree is a big commitment that requires careful consideration. Remember that getting a master's degree means you'll be investing a lot of time, effort, and money — though the payoff could be big.

One of the key advantages of a master's degree is that it can open doors to careers that require advanced expertise. It can also lead to higher salaries.

Still, the value of a master's degree will greatly depend on your field of study and the job market. In some sectors, work experience and on-the-job skills may be more valuable than a graduate degree.

Before you decide whether to get a master's degree, consider your career goals, the demand in your field, the return on investment, and your personal circumstances. Consider speaking with real professionals to get their perspectives on potential roles and career paths.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jobs With a Master's Degree

Do jobs pay you more if you have a master's degree?

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Having a master's degree tends to lead to a higher salary and more career advancement opportunities compared to having only a bachelor's or associate degree.

According to 2022 data from the BLS, master's degree-holders earned around $230 more per week than those with just a bachelor's degree, and around $660 more per week than those with just an associate degree.

Ultimately, the pay benefits can differ greatly depending on your industry, role, and experience.

Which master's degree is best for the future?

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The best master's degree for the future depends on industry growth and where your interests and skills lie. Top fields for master's degree-seekers based on salary potential include engineering, computer science, law, and allied health.

Artificial intelligence is another field growing immensely in popularity that could lead to more job opportunities down the line.

How much should a master's degree increase your salary?

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The bump in pay you can earn from getting a master's degree varies widely by industry, with an average increase of around 20%, according to Indeed.

Certain fields, like business administration and engineering, may see even higher jumps in pay. Nevertheless, it's important to weigh these potential gains against the cost of the degree and your career goals.

What master's degree has the highest salary potential?

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Master's degrees in healthcare, tech, and business can earn you some of the highest salaries for master's degree-holders.

According to Payscale, graduates with a master of business administration (MBA) earn an average annual base pay of $97,000, while those with a master of science in nursing (MSN) earn an average annual base salary of $103,000.

What are the disadvantages of getting a master's degree?

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Getting a master's degree is a big investment of time and money, including tuition and living expenses, which may increase your debt. Full-time study also often requires putting your career or personal commitments on hold.

Finally, the stress and competitive nature of graduate programs can affect your mental health, and there's no assurance that a master's degree will result in immediate job advancement or a salary raise.

Despite all this, a master's degree is generally considered worthwhile if you have clear goals and a plan for budgeting expenses.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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