So if you're pondering another two years of school (accumulating on average $37,000 in debt, according to the 2003-2004 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study), how can you be sure the effort and expense will pay off?
Not every degree is an equally sound investment, but overall, the numbers are encouraging for those pondering continuing their education. So which job titles pay much more to an employee with a master's degree?
#10 -- Software Engineers, Get With the Postgraduate Program!
Thinking of a career as a staff software engineer? It might pay to keep going to schoolfor that extra two years then. The average worker with this job title and a four-year degree pulls in $79,104.09, according to CareerBliss.
But if you have the same title plus an extra couple of years of education, you can expect to earn 17.57 percent more, or $95,960.47. Over time, that two years of tuition should pay for itself.
Most people may think a lot of artistic ability is inborn, but when it comes to making a living from your creativity and good taste as a graphic designer, education certainly doesn't hurt, according to CareerBliss.
Try to make it as a graphic designer with only a bachelor's degree and your salary will be $42,545.52 on average. Put in an extra few years to earn a master's and you'll earn 18.90 percent more, or $52,457.67. That way you can be an artist and skip the starving part.
#7 -- Sound Financial Advice for Aspiring Advisors
If you're an aspiring financial advisor, one key job skill you should be looking to develop is doing up your sums to evaluate whether an investment makes sound financial sense. So consider a master's degree as a test case.
Those with the job title of financial advisor and an undregraduate degree earn, on average, $62,710.51. Add another two-year degree to your qualifications and that goes up to $77,625.64, an increase of 19.21 percent. Does a master's degreemake sense?
Of all the industries where you'd expect a degree to pay dividends, education probably leads the pack. And the analysis from CareerBliss bears this out. Those looking to run educational or degree programs as a program director have a strong incentive to keep going to college to get a master's degree. Skip those additional two years of college and you'll earn $72,349.01. Go back to school for your master's and that rises to $89,568.32 -- an increase of 19.22 percent.
Marketing is a creative, high-octane career with plenty of appeal, but of course, being a marketing director is an even better proposition if you're earning nearly 20 percent more than many folks with the same job title. Want to accomplish this? Get a master's. You'll earn $98,849.61, a 19.95 percent premium on the average salary for your fellow marketing directors with only a bachelor's degree ($79,133.73).
If you're going to take on hand-holding duties at your professional firm as a managing partner, making sure your practice is running smoothly and prospering, it pay to have a master's degree. You'll probably do alright as a senior professional working as a managing partner without one -- the average salary for a managing partner with just a bachelor's is a very healthy $111,530.87 -- but spend another two years at college and that increases 20.15 percent to an even healthier $139,671.59.
#3 -- The Data on Education and Database Administrators
In an age where organizations are overflowing in data, a database administrator who can organize and maintain all that information is in high demand. A database administrator with only a bachelor's degree earns, on average, a not-too-shabby, $75,807.21. Head back to school for a master'sand you'll likely see that increase by 21.06 percent to $96,028.15.
#2 -- Higher Ed Leads to High Salaries for Online Pros
More and more of our lives are conducted online so more and more folks are finding work as web designers. Should they bother going on to get a master's degree or stop after finishing a four-year degree? You might think web design is the sort of skill that one picks up primarily by practicing it, but the CareerBliss analysis suggests that more schooling actually pays – by 21.21 percent to be exact. Get a gig as a web designer straight after your undergrad years and you'll make $46,657.80 on average. Earn a masters and that jumps to $59,218.32.
Penelope Trunk and others may argue on BNET that an MBA is often a waste of time and money, but the analysis out of CareerBliss points the other way -- those with a master's who take a gig as a business manager actually see the biggest bump in their pay versus someone in the same job with only a bachelor's degree. The average business manager with only a bachelor's degree framed on the wall earns $62,723.68. Invest in that master's and that jumps an impressive 22.02 percent to $80,439.55.