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10 Grad School Degrees Worth the Debt


More education typically leads to better job prospects and bigger paychecks. And we're not just talking about doctors and lawyers. While the average high school grad 25 years and older can expect to earn just $29,766 a year, median annual earnings climb to $50,281 for someone with a bachelor's degree and to $73,100 for advanced-degree holders.

But that higher income may not pay off if your extra money goes right to student loans—and especially if your job security is increasingly imperiled by an industry in decline. To help you ensure that a grad school degree is worth the debt, we calculated how long it would take the typical worker in various fields to repay the amount borrowed to obtain his advanced degree. We used the median mid-career salaries of workers with 98 popular advanced degrees, along with median student-loan debts for each degree type—$66,335 for a master of arts (MA), $59,300 for a doctor of philosophy (PhD) and $51,779 for a master of business administration (MBA). We also screened for fields with 10-year projected job growth faster than the 10.8% growth expected of all U.S. jobs between 2012 and 2022.

The following fields offer grad school alumni the quickest payoffs and the most promising careers. Take a look.

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