A Master’s Degree is one of the most expensive things you will every buy. In fact, it’s probably the most expensive piece of paper in which you will ever invest, because all the other large purchases you will make throughout the course of your life at least come with a tangible concept such as a house or something in which you can drive. A Master’s Degree might seem immediately like a great idea; you pay a lot of money, but then you will get this amazing job in a career-field you love that will make you the happiest person on the planet because you are being paid well to do something you love, right? Well, not always. Sometimes you spend thousands – or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars on a Master’s that doesn’t exactly pay off. There are plenty of these degrees that don’t exactly come with the guarantee of a high-paying job in a field you love, and sometimes they’re more a waste of money than anything else. But if you’re working on a Master’s Degree in any of the 10 following subjects, perhaps you are doing the right things. The world has shown us over the past few years that if you are going to obtain a Master’s Degree, you might want to contemplate one on this list since they are the ones most worth the money you will pay to obtain that piece of paper and that small change to your resume.
Philosophy and Religious Studies – $62,000
With a degree in this field, you can earn an average of $48,000 per year. Go to school a bit longer, obtain the Master’s and you will earn a lot more than that. In fact, you will earn as much as $12,000 a year more than that – and sometimes more depending on where you live, your experience and the company for whom you work.
Special Needs Education – $64,000
Special needs children and adults do need all the help offered to them so that they can live the lives they deserve to live, and we don’t think that the income for helping those with special needs is high enough in the least. But if you do decide to get a graduate degree in this field, your income will jump to $64k from $49k, which is impress and worth the time.
Language and Drama Education – $64,000
This is not a field in which many people work, so the pickings are pretty good. Although the job rate in this field is not quite as high as it is in others, it is something that will pay off. A graduate degree in this field is going to increase your income more than you think. It goes from $48k to $64k with just a piece of paper. The career field is one that most people aren’t really even aware exists, which is why there are people who are paid so well.
Family and Consumer Sciences – $65,000
Without a Master’s in this field, you will earn an average of only $47,000. It’s not a bad income, per say, considering it is more than many households in many locations make as a whole, but it’s not great. It’s not really enough to live a really nice lifestyle with a lot of luxuries and freedoms, but you are working your way to that when you obtain your graduate degree in this profession.
Psychology – $68,000
This is a degree that does pay off, since the average psychologist without a graduate degree earns only $53,000 per year. While this income level is not bad at all, it’s not as good as it could be to spend a few more semesters earning a much more valuable degree in your field.
History – $85,000
Depending on where you use this degree, you can earn as much as $62,000 with just a college degree. Go to grad school, however, and that amount jumps significantly. History is a place that proves it really does pay to know what you are talking about, and the pay scale in this career field is very obvious about that. You can earn a lot more by paying for this degree. History is a very important subject, and the world needs scholars who are well-versed in the history of the world so that they can ensure we don’t all go around making the same mistakes repeatedly.
Area Ethnic and Civilization Studies – $88,000
If you want to be the kind of person that travels the world and studies areas and the lives that once lived there – like an explorer – then this is the field for you. Without a grad degree this field pays about $58,000 per year. When you have that Master’s degree in hand, however, that income jumps $30,000 a year. It’s a big bump.
Political Science – $98,000
It does pay to work for the government, and this degree proves it. Even if you don’t want a graduate degree in this field, you’ll earn a lot of money with a Bachelor’s degree. The average PolySci major earns $74,000 per year working in this field, but you can bump that up to $98k with a Master’s Degree. It’s worth it.
Biology and Life Sciences – $104,000
Without a graduate degree in this program, you will earn approximately $65,000. While that’s nothing to turn your nose up to, you could earn $104,000 if you go ahead and get the Master’s degree in this field. It’s a huge jump and one that is completely worth the time, money and effort you will put into obtaining this particular degree.
Chemistry – $111,000
Not to sound like I’m condoning the kind of lifestyle you saw on Breaking Bad or anything, but I’m sure we can all agree that chemistry does pay off for some people. It pays off even more if you get an advanced degree in the field. Your income will jump from a paltry $73,000 (ha) to an impressive $111,000 per year with this degree.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images