highest master's pay
Graduates can earn the right money with the right courses. Source: Narinder Nanu/AFP

A master’s degree expands your knowledge and can make you an expert in the field you’ve chosen to enter — both of which can lead you to some of the highest master’s pay today.

But as not all master’s degrees are created equal, you have to pick the right one.

Here are some fields to venture into if you are looking for that five-figure salary that will pay for the yacht, the flashy sports car, or your dream holiday to the Caribbean Islands.

highest paying pay

Some of the highest master’s pay today go to anesthesiologists. Source: Didier Pallages /AFP


It is no surprise that one of the highest master’s pay goes to a professional from the healthcare sector, i.e. an anesthesiologist.

If you have completed a master’s degree in this field, you are looking at an annual salary of US$401, 413 according to Salary.com.

The starting salary is about US$362,200 and depends on the level of education, experience, certifications, and additional skills.

Ever wonder why anesthesiologists earn so much?

They are an integral part of the medical field, particularly where a surgical procedure occurs. This puts them in high demand.

Anesthesiology is also a highly specialised field, so professionals in this field undergo years of costly education, training, residency, and fellowship.

The reason to do a master’s in this field? Completing only a bachelor’s in anesthesiology will only earn you between US$323,629 to US$349,923.

That’s up to US$77,784 less than someone with a master’s degree.

highest masters pay

This profession doesn’t only have the highest master’s pay but is in demand. Source: Adek Berry / AFP

Obstetricians and gynaecologists

Again, unsurprisingly, the next highest master’s pay is from the medical field as well.

Obstetrics (OB) has everything to do with pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and post-delivery. Gynaecology involves women’s health issues.

Needless to say, because both are such specialised fields, they are in high demand and always needed no matter which part of the world you are in.

Both fields require that students complete medical school and then complete residency training in either of these areas. They can also choose to sub-specialise and complete fellowship training right after.

An obstetrician with a master’s degree can earn up to US$295,752 on average but it can go up to US$370,601.

The average gynaecologist can earn anything between US$267, 200 and US$370,600.

The reason for professionals to go on and earn a master’s in these fields includes having an enhanced understanding of the speciality field and having access to vigorous research opportunities.

highest master's pay

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but some of the highest master’s pay can be found at Wall Street. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images via AFP)

Investment banker

Investment bankers are fond of the good life, and having the right accreditation gives one lucrative pay.

Generally, one begins their education with a bachelor’s in accounting or finance before progressing to a master’s.

The benefits of a master’s degree in finance are more advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that can benefit the clientele, especially in a rapidly changing field.

This enables investment bankers to gain more clients in the long run and serve them better, which clearly translates to more money.

Investment and finance are versatile industries — one can go into trading, stocks, asset management, mergers, and more, depending on their interests.

As of March this year, the average investment banker salary was US$261 650 annually. It is estimated that from 2021 to 2031, there is an expected 10% growth in employment in this field.

IT manager

Next on the list of professionals who have high master’s pay are IT managers.

Experience matters in this field — this benefits those with a master’s. This is because while studying for a master’s, students have access to research, data, and in-depth knowledge.

An IT manager can earn an average of  US$198, 750. Which state you are residing or working in can also impact these figures.

According to US News and World Report, an IT manager in San Jose, California, can earn US$228,030 while a person with this job title in New York will make US$202,800.

It has been estimated that between 2021 and 2031, there will be 82,400 new IT manager jobs, so having a master’s already has good prospects.

highest master's pay

Money isn’t everything for psychiatrists, but it sure helps them earn some of the highest master’s pay today. Source: Christophe Simon/AFP


Graduating as a psychiatrist opens many doors, but with an extra certification, you are looking at a higher-than-average master’s pay.

This occupation is the highest-paying for psychology majors because a psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor.

In the US, a psychiatrist can make between US$220,139 and US$274, 661. It also differs based on location, with professionals in San Francisco earning 25% more and 17.5% more in New York.

Holding a master’s degree also allows you to continue on to a PhD if you wish to, something that is not possible if you only have a bachelor’s.

Besides the great salary potential, psychiatrists with a master’s can venture into different areas, like sports, forensics, geriatric or addiction psychiatry.

Financial controller

A financial controller position is another example of better earnings for those with a master’s degree.

Typically, one would start off with a bachelor’s in finance or accounting and then progress to a master’s degree.

Many of them may choose to do an MBA as well.

The role largely depends on the type of organisation they are in, but the focus is to ensure that the budget set for the organisation is kept in line so there are no excess expenses.

They are also tasked with handling policies and procedures to do with financial reporting, strategic initiatives, and budgeting.

A financial controller in the US can earn between US$231,660 and US$253,893, whereas a bachelor holder will only make US$228,746 to US$250,728.

highest master's pay

Software developers have the chance to earn one of the highest master’s pay in their job scope. Source: Jen Schlueter/ AFP

Software developer

Software developers have the potential for a high master’s pay in the US, earning up to US$151,960.

A master’s degree is essential for those wanting to pursue specialisms, go into training or apply for a leadership role.

This translates into a higher income.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, there have been over 162,900 openings in jobs for developers, quality assurance analysts and testers over the decade, and this trend will continue.

So, students, there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to cash in the big bucks.

highest master's pay

There are many engineering fields to go into and they offer some of the highest master’s pay today. Source: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Engineering manager

It’s safe to say that anything with “engineering” in it pays well.

But is it worth getting a master’s in engineering? Definitely.

It may not be fully required to work in this field, but it can give you a leg up in the industry and create fantastic opportunities for work.

An engineering manager usually has a few certified engineers working under them; this requires deeper knowledge of the field and a longer length of tenure for the experience.

An engineer with a master’s degree can earn between US$140,086 to US$148,501 annually.

While you can still get a job with a bachelor’s, there are limitations to what else you can do.

Thinking of eventually going into training or teaching? You will need a master’s. Or do you want to lead engineering research and development? Then you will also need a master’s.

Marketing manager

If you are not into the sciences but still want to earn a high master’s pay, then look for jobs in the marketing field.

Having a master’s degree shows you have an array of advanced technical skills so you can take on more responsibility, lead a team and use this to ask for better compensation.

You can also venture into any industry you want because the skills you have will be useful no matter what you pursue, be it sports, fashion, oil and gas or medical equipment.

A marketing manager in the US can earn between US$100,659 and US$131,696.

highest master's pay

A petroleum geologist can recommend safe ways to extract oil and gas from rocks. Source: Martin Bernetti/AFP

Petroleum geologist

A petroleum geologist is an interesting career path, and you can receive a high master’s pay with the right certification.

A professional in this field studies rock formations and mineral samples to determine the location of oil and gas.

On average, they make between US$99,991 and US$123, 131. The estimate for a petroleum geologist with a master’s degree is US$111,100.

The industry does employs geoscientists with bachelor’s degrees in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, and geology.

However, with a master’s degree, you can not only work with policymakers and engineers to mitigate climate problems, but you can also transfer your skills to other energy industries.