Top 5 Graduate Degrees for Jobs

By Holly Schoch , last updated December 22, 2011

In order to get a jump-start on the job market, graduate degrees are the way to go. With the economy in its current state, everyone is scrambling to find jobs that not only pay well, but allow them the job security they need to live as comfortably and happily as possible. The most important and crucial way to ensure this happens is by choosing the proper degree. Undergraduate degrees aren’t enough these days.

Getting an MBA

There are a number of graduate degrees that can put you in the perfect place to succeed. Obtaining an MBA is one of the best professional decisions you can make. MBAs are the most malleable of all graduate degrees, being that they can be applied in a number of different fields. It is also the most lucrative degree. Those with MBA degrees have a leg up on the competition when it comes to obtaining top executive positions, such as Vice President or even CEO.

The Law

Law degrees are also quite lucrative. Law degrees require three to four years to complete, if going full time, and then taking and passing the bar exam in whatever state you wish to practice. Most in the legal profession can hope to earn around $130,000 depending on their location and the type of firm or company they work for. Those who start up their own firm can earn even more.


Engineering degrees can also lead to $100,000+ positions. Engineering degrees are lucrative positions at every level, but especially when it is a PhD. The oil industry is perhaps the best, in financial terms, for engineers. The oil industry isn’t the only way you can go though. Engineers are needed for practically everything, manufacturing, constructing, and a number of other industries. Engineers can even be of use in the government, especially with the green movement and the need to make machines more energy efficient.

Of course, as can be imagined, medical professionals can be outrageously well paid. While it can take up to four years in school and seven years in residency, doctors with their own practice can earn over $1,000,000 per year. For those who have no desire or the ambition to start up their own firm don’t need to worry because they will have a paycheck of around $180,000 waiting for them.


Lastly, there are professors. College professor are the exception to the rule. While most teachers are considered underpaid, professors can hope to make around $100,000 a year, depending on where they teach. However, it takes quite a bit of work to get to this level. A professor will have to have additional experience in order to make it as tenure professor, such as published writing and experience as an assistant professor.

When deciding your future, you shouldn’t base your decision solely on the profession that will produce the best financial results, but it is helpful to do a little research if you are unsure of your interests.

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