Business Administration

The Degrees You’ll Need to Secure Glassdoor’s Highest-Paying Jobs in 2019

The Degrees You’ll Need to Secure Glassdoor’s Highest-Paying Jobs in 2019
What if you want to roll in the benjamins without having to spend eight years in post-secondary school and another three to seven years in residency training? What can someone with just a dumb old master's degree do to get into the top tax bracket? We're here to tell you. Image from Unsplash
Tom Meltzer profile
Tom Meltzer September 19, 2019

Glassdoor's annual ranking of top-paying jobs includes some positions that require only a few years of post-collegiate study. Looking for your next great opportunity? You might just find it on this list.

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It’s mid-September, and you know what that means. Yup, it’s time for Glassdoor to release its highest-paying jobs list. We know—seems it was only yesterday that we were waiting for the 2018 list. The winner was ‘physician‘, remember? Who would have guessed?

All the jobs have been sitting at home, nervously waiting by the phone for the big call from Glassdoor. Is this the year they crack the list? Fingers crossed—just think of the endorsement deals!

Well, the list is finally out. Spoiler alert: sorry, art teachers, not this time. Maybe next year.

The big winner—we hope you’re sitting down, it’s a shocker—is physician, with a median base salary of $193,415. We’re beginning to think there’s something to this whole doctor thing, especially if you want to make lots of money and save people’s lives and stuff like that.

But what if you want to roll in the benjamins without having to spend eight years in post-secondary school and another three to seven years in residency training? What can someone with just a dumb old master’s degree do to get into the top tax bracket? We’re here to tell you.


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The Degrees You’ll Need to Secure Glassdoor’s Highest-Paying Jobs in 2019

Below is a list of ten high-paying jobs you can get without a doctorate. Five are in tech, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. Three are in business, and two are in healthcare. None are in the arts. In case you were wondering: Taylor Swift is a person, not an actual profession. Most professional musicians earn a lot less than she does. Most earn a lot less than an art teacher does, in fact.

So, if you’re looking for a six-figure salary in a job you can get after only a few years of post-undergraduate study, read on.


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“Should I Get A MBA?”

The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicted an average starting salary for 2019 MBA graduates of $84,580—provided those graduates found jobs in computer science, engineering, science, or business. (source)

Students considering an MBA or graduate business degree can choose from varied career paths, including those focused on financial management, data analytics, market research, healthcare management, and operations management. The analytical skills and problem-solving techniques gained from graduate level business degrees are in high demand across business sectors. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

Software engineering manager

Annual income: $114,163

Software engineering managers oversee the creation and upgrading of software, without which our computers would be little more than paperweights. The job requires not only technical expertise but also skills in project management and communication. While the rest of the tech team is squirreled away writing code, testing algorithms, or playing Fortnite, the software engineering manager is in meetings with the business and marketing teams, explaining why the product is late and how that’s a good thing. While you don’t technically need a master’s to get this job, good luck getting one without it. A Master of Science in Software Engineering should do the trick.


Physician assistant

Annual income: $113,855

As a physician assistant, you’ll diagnose illnesses, order and interpret labs, perform physical examinations, and assist in surgical procedures. In many states, you’ll even be able to write prescriptions. In short, you’ll be a primary care provider, something that’s in short supply these days. Last we checked, physician assistant was the seventh-fastest growing job in the United States (and the highest paying of the top ten). You’ll need a master’s degree in physician assistant studies or a Master of Clinical Health Services degree to enter this profession.


Data scientist

Annual income: $97,027

Data scientists work with data. And science. And when they put the two together, hoo boy, that’s something! OK, so what do they actually do? What don’t they do? They organize, analyze, interpret, and visualize data sets; they build predictive data models; they create algorithms and programs to process… did you guess data? Bingo! The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a robust 16 percent growth rate in data science jobs, and Glassdoor.com identifies the position as one of the most in-demand among its 25 top-paying jobs. You’ll need a master’s degree in computer science or a related field such as data analytics.


Financial planning and analysis manager

Annual income: $94,874

A financial planning and analysis (FP&A) manager works within a corporation to provide business forecasts to leadership. Cash flow analysis, financial projections, and systems development and management all fall under the FP&A manager’s domain. The job requires a skeptical eye, strategic thinking skills, and the ability to explain complex financial concepts to people who would probably rather be golfing. And you have to do it backward and in heels! Oh no, wait, that’s Ginger Rogers. It would be tough to get this job without either a master’s in accounting, a Master of Finance, or an MBA in finance.


Nurse practitioner

Annual income: $109,481

Nurse practitioners have “full practice authority” to conduct examinations, diagnose conditions, order tests, prescribe medications, and perform minor surgical procedures in 22 states. In the remaining states, they perform many (if not all) of these same functions under the supervision of a physician. Nurse practitioners often develop specializations, such as:

You’ll need to be a registered nurse (RN) and you’ll need to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to serve in this role.


Information security engineer

Annual income: $95,786

The whole world is networked today, which allows for previously unimaginable speed and convenience in business transactions and information transfers. It also means an increased risk of catastrophic security breaches that can compromise people’s bank accounts, personal information, and even their identities. Information security engineers create the safeguards that prevent the internet from turning into Times Square in the 1970s— which is to say, hellish and lawless chaos. To find work in this subset of cyber security, you’ll probably need a master’s in cyber security and/or cyber security certifications.


Plant manager

Annual income: $104,817

America’s heyday as the world’s leading manufacturer may have passed, but there’s still plenty of manufacturing out there, particularly—according to Glassdoor—in places like Indianapolis, Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix. Wherever there’s a manufacturing plant, there’s a need for plant managers to oversee the massive and complex operation of creating whatever it is the plant creates. It’s possible to rise up through the ranks without even a bachelor’s degree to attain this role, but your chances will be a lot better with an MBA or a master’s in industrial management or even operations research.


IT program manager

Annual income: $104,454

An IT program manager is an information technology project manager. They oversee the integration of new software into a network, lead on software development projects, manage budgets and schedules, and supervise teams of IT professionals. This is a high-stakes role with a lot of responsibility, and most employers won’t consider any candidate without a relevant master’s degree. A master’s in information technology or a master’s in information technology management should give your prospects a boost.


Corporate controller

Annual income: $113,368

A corporate controller oversees a company’s accounting operations. In smaller companies, the controller may function as a chief financial officer, making final decisions on budgets, investments, and expenditures. In larger companies, those decisions are typically made by the CFO, while the controller oversees the complex task of managing accounting operations. You’ll probably need to be a CPA with a master’s in accounting to be considered for this role.


Cloud engineer

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Annual income: $98,626

Space is the place,” Afro-jazz legend Sun Ra once proclaimed, and for creating experimental Afro-jazz, he was right. To stream experimental Afro-jazz or any other music—or to access your vacation pictures or work documents or just about anything online—the place is a little closer to Earth: the cloud. Cloud engineers work with a network of remote servers that store data, media, and apps in a way that makes them accessible to anyone at anytime. A master’s in computer engineering, computer science, information systems, or information technology should help you advance in this field.


Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Author

Tom Meltzer began his career in education publishing at The Princeton Review, where he authored more than a dozen titles (including the company's annual best colleges guide and two AP test prep manuals) and produced the musical podcast The Princeton Review Vocab Minute. A graduate of Columbia University (English major), Tom lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle. He has been managing editor of the Noodle.com website for over four years.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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MBA Programs You Should Consider

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