What's the Starting Salary for Someone with a Master's Degree?

The average starting salary for a graduate with a master's degree varies greatly depending on the subject of study and chosen career. Read on to see what your field of interest pays entry-level employees.

Overview of Degree Options

Just a few graduate degrees you can earn are a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Education (M.Ed.), among many others. Once you complete a program, you can apply for jobs in fields such as science, business, management, and education.

Important Facts About Potential Careers

Civil Engineers Marketing Managers Elementary/Middle/High School Principals
Key Skills Organizational, math, and problem-solving skills Creativity, analytical, and interpersonal skills Decision-making, leadership, and communication skills
Similar Occupations Landscape architect, urban planner, surveyor Market research analyst, advertising sales agent, public relations manager Instructional coordinator, preschool director, special education teacher
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth 10% growth 8% growth
Work Schedule Often 40+ hours a week to meet design requirements and deadlines Full time, sometimes 40+ hours a week Full-time, sometimes weekends and evenings to attend school functions

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salaries Based on Career Field

If you earn your master's degree, your average starting salary will depend on the job position that you choose. For example, earning a master's degree in physical sciences and working as a fish and wildlife manager would earn you a smaller salary than earning a master's degree in the same subject and working in an engineering position. Some of the variations in salary based on specific job positions are listed below.

Science Field

You can earn a master's degree in many areas of science, including biology, ecology, chemistry, and engineering. With your degree, you might become a fish and game warden or a fish and wildlife manager. Based on May 2018 salary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fish and game wardens in the 10th-90th percentile range earned yearly wages between $40,090 and $80,140 (www.bls.gov).

With a degree in the physical sciences, you can also become an engineer. PayScale.com reported that the 10th-90th percentiles salary range for entry-level civil engineers was $44,000 - $67,000 in May 2019. Entry-level electrical engineers in the 10th-90th percentile range made between $50,000 - $79,000 at that time.

Business Field

If you earn your MBA, you can apply for leadership positions that offer relatively high starting salaries. You can find a job as a financial, health services, marketing or technology manager. According to PayScale.com, entry-level financial managers in the 10th-90th percentile range earned between $39,000 and $100,000 as of 2019. Medical and health services managers at that time earned between $42,000 - $95,000, with entry-level workers making an average of $61,140.

PayScale.com reported that entry-level marketing managers in the 10th-90th percentile range earned between $32,000 and $71,000 as of May 2019. Entry-level information technology managers in the same range made annual wages ranging from $37,000 - $93,000.

Based on Salary.com figures, having an MBA may increase your earning potential. The website reported information technology project managers who earned MBAs made median annual salaries in the range of $100,262 - $106,826 in July 2019. Marketing managers with MBAs earned median annual salaries ranging between $97,546 and $105,894. Finance managers with MBAs earned median annual salaries in the range of $116,190 - $124,815.

Education Field

An education M.A. or M.Ed. program can allow you to pursue a job as a school administrator, director or principal. The BLS stated that the 10th-90th percentile salary range for elementary and secondary school administrators was $61,490-$144,950 as of May 2018. High school principals in the same earning range made $56,000 - $131,000 as of June 2019, reported PayScale.com. Entry-level elementary school principals in the 10th-90th percentile salary range earned between $40,000 and $92,000, according to PayScale.com.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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