By Ryan Velez
Education has always been an ideal for many people, but with costs out of hand, there has become an ongoing debate on whether or not bachelor’s or master’s degrees are truly worth it. When it comes to bachelor’s degrees, it’s a bit easier to make a decision, as degree holders make 56% higher salaries than those with high-school diplomas. But when it comes to advanced degrees, the gap begins to thin, and according to an article from Good.Is, it’s all about what you choose.
Recently, Forbes released a list of the best and worst master’s degrees based on earning potential, meaning, job satisfaction, and stress level. Compiled by PayScale, the report used 145,536 profiles to create a list of the 45 best and worst degrees. To the shock of few, most likely, STEM fields filled up the top 5 slots. Biomedical engineering was at the top of the list, with graduates with this degree having an average salary bump from $70,200 to $129,300 from early to mid-career and find great meaning (81%) and satisfaction (75%) in their work. Following this up are computer science, physics, corporate finance, and general and strategic management.
Many have long preached that liberal arts aren’t worthless compared to STEM fields, and while many people have managed to leverage a liberal arts education into a good career, the specialization that a master’s degree goes for seems to be a poor match. Nearly all 5 of the worst degrees on the Forbes list fall under this category, with the worst being graphic design. Degree holders enjoyed a modest salary increase ($51,800 to $68,800) during early to mid-career. Following this were interior design, early childhood education, health services, and writing. Other liberal arts degrees that scored poorly were pastoral ministry and art history.
When it comes to massive student loan debt, many people are willing to take the burden to advance in their careers. While this can be effective, it can be a bit problematic if the prestige of advancement doesn’t come with a large pay increase. If there’s a common thread between many of the lower-scoring fields on this list, it’s that even at higher levels, they don’t necessarily pay much.