What salary can I expect after completing an MS degree in the USA?

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Bryan Smith - May, 14 2024

5 min read

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Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

Why are MS degrees important in today’s workplace?

MS degrees can be important in today's workplace for several reasons! MS programmes provide individuals with specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field, which can make them more attractive to potential employers.

Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields typically require professionals to have in-depth knowledge of their particular industry. MS degrees equip candidates with specialized knowledge design to help them concentrate and focus on their particular discipline.

MS degrees can also demonstrate to employers that an individual is dedicated to ongoing learning and professional development.

As a benchmark, the US Department of Labor Statistics reported in 2021 that the average gross annual wage per full-time employee in the USA was $74,738 in 2021 - meaning the American average salary per month is $6,228.

The average salary of an MS graduate in the US was reported to be around $94,000 per year according to Yocket, after completing four semesters of study. There are multiple job opportunities for graduates after studying an MS in the United States; here, we outline some common degree and career paths.

What are some common average salaries per different MS degree streams?

MS in Computer Science

Studying an MS in Computer Science enables professionals to design computer hardware, create data communication networks, develop software systems, and more.

What’s the average salary for recent graduates with an MS in Computer Science?

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment in the computer and information technology sector will grow by an estimated 13% between 2020 and 2030. Data compiled by Yocket shows that an average annual salary for graduates with an MS in Computer Science is $97,000 USD per year.

Potential job opportunities and their average salaries for holders of an MS in Computer Science:

  • Data scientist - $98,602 per year
  • Full stack developer - $119,828 per year
  • Software engineer - $114,168 per year

MS in Business Administration

An MS in Business Administration is designed to help students gain a better and functional understanding of general business management functions.

What’s the average salary for recent graduates with an MS in Business Administration?

According to a 2021 corporate recruiters survey from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), the average annual salary for recent MS in Business Administration graduates was projected to be $115,000.

Potential job opportunities and their average salaries for holders of an MS in Business Administration:

  • Marketing manager ($63,392 per year)
  • Investment banker ($67,538 per year)
  • Business operations manager ($67,782 per year)

MS in Electrical Engineering

An MS in Electrical Engineering prepares students for senior, specialised, and supervisory positions in work environments such as in telecommunications, electrical component design, or research and development.

What’s the average salary for recent graduates with an MS in Electrical Engineering?

MS in Electrical Engineering graduates, according to Glassdoor, can expect a median salary of $70,899 in the United States.

Potential job opportunities and their average salaries for holders of an MS in Electrical Engineering:

  • Electrical engineer - $92,738 per year
  • Nuclear engineer - $91,252 per year
  • Aerospace engineer - $89328 per year

MS in Mechanical Engineering

MS in Mechanical Engineering programmes are designed to prepare students for a specialised engineering career within the realms of aerospace engineering, automation, and civil engineering.

What’s the average salary for recent graduates with an MS in Mechanical Engineering?

Recent graduates with no work experience and an MS in Mechanical Engineering can expect a median salary of $85,673 per year - though this average may be dependent on their specialisations or any previous work experience.

Potential job opportunities and their average salaries for holders of an MS in Mechanical Engineering:

  • Manufacturing engineer - $73,813 per year
  • Structural analysis engineer - $78,869 per year
  • Automotive engineer - $81,718 per year

MS in Biotechnology

MS in Biotechnology programmes are a study of science, using technology to work on organisms - graduates with an MS in Biotechnology go on to work in private and public research and administration at a variety of firms, or in settings such as laboratories or hospital clinics.

What’s the average salary for recent graduates with an MS in Biotechnology?

According to Precedence Research, Biotechnology is a rapidly expanding field which is expected to grow at 8.8% from 2023 to 2030. Graduates with an MS in Biotechnology can expect a median starting salary of $72,842, according to Talent.com.

Potential job opportunities and their average salaries for holders of an MS in Biotechnology:

  • Microbiologist - $58,350 per year
  • Biomanufacturing engineer - $91,839 per year
  • Process development scientist - $93,472 per year

What are some of the highest-paying study fields for students wanting to study an MS degree?

What should I know as a job seeker with an MS degree?

Studying an MS degree can make you more attractive to potential employers and increase your chances of getting a higher paying job or a promotion. Additionally, an MS degree may be a requirement for certain high-paying jobs or for advancement in a particular field.

Do I need an MS degree?

It's important to note that a professional’s earning potential is not only based on their degree, but also on the field of study, location, years of experience they have, and other factors.

It's also worth considering the opportunity cost of pursuing an MS programme. The time and resources spent on obtaining an MS degree could be spent in other ways such as gaining experience in the field, networking or other professional development.

How have MS degree holders found employment in the last few years?

Despite the tumultuous economic climate of the past few years, data continues to suggest that MS degree holders have found favor in securing employment after the conclusion of their studies.

MS degree holders in the United States hold some of the highest starting salaries for graduate roles with no past career experience. The unemployment rate for holders of a masters degree has been as low as 2.6% in 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Comparatively, in the UK, FindAMasters.com reports that over 63% of postgraduate students have found full-time employment within 15 months of their graduation.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all salary figures and ranges sourced are from PayScale.com.

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