northeastern university seal
EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

Introducing Hybrid NUflex—study in person or remotely this fall. Learn More.

Introducing Hybrid NUflex—study in person or remotely this fall. Learn More.

4 Industries Where a Graduate Degree Pays Off

You want a rewarding career, right? One with room for advancement, a higher salary, and recognition for all your hard work. But how do you take that next step?

A graduate degree can position you for your ideal career, helping you gain the specialized knowledge and credibility you’re looking for. Certain industries also demand a high level of skill and expertise that an advanced degree can help provide. In particular, computer and information technology, healthcare, data analytics, and education administration are four fields that are both fulfilling and in-demand—and often prefer or require that candidates have an advanced degree. Let’s take a closer look at how a graduate degree pays off in these industries.

Top Industries for Graduate Degree Holders

Computer and Information Technology

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this sector are expected to grow 12 percent by 2024—much higher than the median average. The average annual wage rings in at $82,860—more than double the national average—and by earning a graduate degree, you could see an additional 31 percent boost in salary. Here are several different types of positions in the computer and IT field, along with the salaries they command:

  • Computer and Information Research Scientist: In this role, computer and information research scientists analyze and develop new approaches to computing technology. They solve complex problems in almost every industry, from finance to medicine. The median salary for this role is $111,840, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $169,680.
  • Computer Network Architect: Computer network architects design data communication networks, such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These range from small interdepartmental networks to large multinational communication systems. They also create models to measure and predict an organization’s needs. Computer network architects earn an average wage of $101,210.
  • Systems Software Developer: Systems software developers design, test, improve, and assess computer programs. Certain developers design the applications that help people complete specific tasks on a computer or smart device, while others design the systems that run the devices or control their organization’s networks. The median salary is $106,860.
  • Information Security Analyst: In this role, analysts plan and deliver security processes to safeguard an organization’s computer networks and systems. Information security analysts are in high demand as cyberattacks become more common. Most analysts work within the consulting, computer, or business industry, and their median salary is $92,600.

Healthcare

Healthcare is expected to grow 19 percent by 2024—much higher than most industries. This is due to an aging population and growing technological advancement within medicine. The industry also values employees with graduate degrees, with advanced degree holders earning 50 percent more than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Positions in this field include:

  • Medical and Health Services Manager: Medical and health services managers plan, direct, and organize medical care. They oversee offices, clinics, hospitals, and other medical settings. Managers implement any changes pertaining to healthcare laws and technology. They earn an annual wage of $96,540.
  • Clinical Research Manager: Clinical research managers have extensive experience within a specific clinical area, such as cardiology or cancer research. They often work alongside a hospital or facility’s staff and command an average salary of $87,836.
  • Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapists help injured, sick, or disabled patients improve the skills they need for day-to-day living. Occupational therapists earn a median salary of $81,890.
  • Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners, also known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), manage patient care by prescribing medication, examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing treatment. Nurse practitioners can deliver 80 to 90 percent of the support that primary care physicians provide. They command a median salary of $107,460.

Data Analytics

As the size and complexity of companies’ data evolves, firms in almost every industry need skilled data analytics professionals. According to Data Science Central, 7,500 companies in the U.S. alone are hiring for analytics positions. A graduate degree pays off in the industry, with 39 percent of advanced roles preferring or requiring a graduate degree. These roles include:

  • Senior Big Data Engineer: Big data engineers collect and analyze large sets of data to help businesses make smarter decisions. They interpret, analyze, and dispatch an organization’s data, enabling a company’s software and hardware architecture. They make a median income of $124,230.
  • Data Warehouse Manager: Data warehouse managers build, develop, and support data within facilities. They work with database developers, administrators, and managers to make sure an organization’s systems compliment their data architecture. They also design and implement strategies to gather data from operational databases while identifying and mitigating potential threats to data storage. Data warehouse managers command a median salary of $128,698.
  • Business Intelligence Analyst: In this position, analysts gather data to determine market trends that help companies generate more revenue and make smarter business decisions. Business intelligence analysts make a median salary of $82,273.

Education

Education administrators have the skills and knowledge they need to make a lasting impact on their schools and community. They do this by establishing a vision to help students and teachers succeed. Senior-level roles are typically obtained with an advanced degree. According to data from Burning Glass Labor Insight, 40 percent of industry job postings prefer or require a graduate degree. Popular roles include:

  • Elementary and Secondary School Education Administrator: “Superintendent” is a popular job title in this category. Superintendents manage a school district and, in turn, direct their district’s budget, staffing, programming, and infrastructure. Administrators also work with a school board to establish a district plan that delivers successful outcomes. They command an average annual salary of $95,540.
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator: Postsecondary education administrators typically work in a college or university and may function in a variety of roles, such as dean, provost, or president. Administrators often direct faculty research, fundraising, academics, and student affairs while being responsible for implementing strategic goals. They make a median wage of $90,760.
  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal: Principals set academic goals while managing the daily operations of their school. They hire and oversee a broad range of teachers and staff, create reports on student outcomes, oversee budgeting, and maintain a dynamic academic environment for students. They make an average salary of $92,510.

Interested in learning more about earning your graduate degree? Read our articles on grad school success, including “How to Choose the Right Graduate School” and “7 Advantages to Earning Your Master’s Degree Online.