Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Graduate Degrees and Jobs

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Graduate Degrees and Jobs

Article excerpt

More Hispanic students are pursuing graduate studies. Some graduate degrees lead to enhanced employment opportunities at significantly higher salaries; some don't. I report on both.

A look back

For over 20 years, I have written about graduate education. I have suggested that Hispanics consider careers other than service professions such as teachers, counselors and nursing. But if they did select those fields, I urged them to pursue graduate degrees. For more than 10 years, ever since President George Bush mobilized Congress to increase funding for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, I have urged Hispanics to consider those fields.

In 2015, 26 percent of recent baccalaureates enrolled in graduate programs. They stated they had been influenced by the significant salary differences between those with advanced degrees and those without them. Employers place a premium in hiring and promoting those with graduate degrees.

To determine "the best and worst graduate degrees for jobs," Fortune Magazine contracted PayScale, a careers site, to analyze and rank a wide distribution of Ph.D.s and master's degrees. I have drawn extensively from that report. The factors studied were: 1) Long-term outlook for job growth-PayScale projected growth based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014 to 2024 projections. 2) Median pay-the national median total compensation (base salary plus bonuses, commissions, profit-sharing, etc.) at mid-career or after 10 or more years of experience. 3) Job satisfaction and stress -percentages who reported they were "extremely" or "fairly satisfied" with their jobs and who reported their work was "relaxing" or "not stressful."

The top rankings and. the lowest

Graduate degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields dominated the top rankings. They commanded starting salaries from $68,000 for a master's degree in information systems to $117,000 with a computer science Ph.D. Furthermore, in almost all the STEM fields, employees said they were extremely satisfied and less stressed.

The lowest financial return was for graduate degrees in various education fields. At mid-career, an early childhood educator with a master's degree can expect annual pay of around $48,700. Still, the majority of education-degree holders reported their jobs offer considerable satisfaction despite the low paychecks. A full 87 percent of reading and literacy teachers report being extremely satisfied with their work. Further, the anticipated job growth rate in education is quite healthy.


1.Master's, Biostatistics

Median Salary: $105,900

Projected Job Growth by 2024: 23 percent

Highly Satisfied: 85 percent

Low Stress: 57 percent

2. Master's, Statistics

Median Salary: $113,700

Projected Job Growth by 2024: 16.4 percent

Highly Satisfied: 75 percent

Low Stress: 57 percent

3. Pb.D., Computer Science

Median Salary: $147,400

Projected Job Growth by 2024: 12 percent

Highly Satisfied: 77 percent

Low Stress: 45 percent

4. Ph.D., Economics

Median Salary: $125,800

Projected Growth in Jobs by 2024: 11.3 percent

Highly Satisfied: 88 percent

Low Stress: 59 percent

5. Master's, Applied. Mathematics

Median Salary: $124,900

Projected Job Growth by 2024: 12.7 percent

Highly Satisfied: 71 percent

Low Stress: 49 percent

6. Master's, Computer Science

Median Salary: $125,700

Projected Job Growth by 2024: 11.9 percent

Highly Satisfied: 69 percent

Low Stress: 51 percent

7. …

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