Women earn 23 percent less than men do. This may come as a surprise since women make up almost half of the United States’ workforce. According to labor economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn of Cornell University, the reason for this income gap has to do with male-dominated fields being generally higher-paying. What can women do about this situation?
Many reports, such as the College Board Trends Report, have found that individuals with higher education enjoy higher lifetime earnings. Getting a master’s degree is the first step toward higher earnings for most women. However, job satisfaction can’t be overlooked. A woman might be earning a higher wage, but she also might be miserable because of her career. The following are some of the most popular master’s degrees women can seek that both pay well and provide job satisfaction.
Master’s in Business Administration — Average Annual Salary of $100,000
A woman drawn to business should naturally consider an MBA. Careers made possible with an MBA include being a human resources manager, the top executive of a company or running a business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources managers made on average $99,180 in 2010, and executives made $101,250.
Master’s in Health Administration — Average Annual Salary of $84,270
Many women have traditionally sought nursing degrees. This remains a popular choice today. While nursing salaries can vary according to location, setting and experience, individuals with a master’s in nursing degree could receive an annual salary of approximately $84,270, if they find work as medical or health services managers.
Master’s in Education — Average Annual Salary of $90,200
This is another more traditional career choice for women. If a woman wants a higher-level career in education, a master’s in education is a good idea. According to College Atlas, a master’s in education is the second most popular postgraduate degree for women. While being a teacher may not pay as much as the aforementioned careers, a master’s in education can lead to becoming an administrator. An administrator can receive an average annual salary of $90,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Master’s in Social Work — Average Annual Salary of $57,950
Social work degrees lead to a rewarding field of work, and those social workers in management positions have the potential to earn a lot of money, too. Social and community service managers earned an average of $57,950 in 2010.
Master’s in Counseling — Average Annual Salary of $53,380
Many women seek a master’s in counseling in order to become school or career counselors, where they help children and adults decide on the best path in life. These individuals typically have a gentle nature, are analytical and possess keen problem-solving skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that the average annual salary of school and career counselors is $53,380.
Master’s in Engineering Management — Average Annual Salary $87,160
With a masters in engineering management degree, women can be in charge of production companies’ daily operations. Examples of these types of jobs are:
- Plant manager
- Technical program manager
- Product line manager
- Technical entrepreneur
- Software development project manager
Industrial production managers had an average annual salary of $87,160 in 2010, while power-plant operators received average earnings of $65,360.
Pay or Job Satisfaction: What’s More Important to You?
Seeking a master’s degree in a field that interests you may not lead to making the highest income, but it can lead to a career that will earn you more than you would without a master’s degree. It can also provide more job satisfaction. Many times, it’s important to think about what will make you happier when it comes to your work and the amount you’re paid for that work.
About the Author: Jane Statum is a longtime career counselor who recently returned to school to fulfill her dream of receiving a masters in business administration.