Three Grad School Degrees Worth the Debt

Earning a master's or PhD in the right field can boost your career and help you pay off your student loans quickly.

Graduate school is expensive. There's no getting around that. So you want to make sure the degree you pick will let you earn enough to pay off the money you had to borrow to get it. We did this math for 98 popular advanced degrees, looking at typical mid-career salaries and student loan debts for degree holders, as well as which fields are projected to gain jobs the fastest.

Here are three courses of study that offer grad school alumni the quickest payoffs and most promising careers.

The numbers still line up for accountants, who work in a field that values degrees highly. Even inexperienced accountants with doctorates in accounting make a median of $93,000 a year. If you don't go as far as grad school, consider professional certifications to boost your job prospects. The granddaddy of them all is Certified Public Accountant, for which you'll need to pass the national CPA exam and meet other requirements, depending on your state.

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Computers may enrich all of our futures, but those who can learn to truly master them will do even better. College grads who major in computer science can expect to earn a median $100,000 a year just a few years into their careers. But PhD holders can expect to earn annual paychecks that are six figures long from the very start. Opportunities for computer-related occupations overall are expected to grow almost 18% by two-thousand twenty two.

It probably won't come as a huge surprise that a job in finance proves to be the quickest way to pay off your MBA, and continue to amass the big bucks. MBA holders in finance also enjoy a low unemployment rate and good future prospects, particularly among those who take up jobs as personal financial advisers.

Take a look at all 10 advanced degrees that are worth the debt, plus check out the 10 best undergraduate majors for a lucrative career.

David Muhlbaum
Former Senior Online Editor

In his former role as Senior Online Editor, David edited and wrote a wide range of content for With more than 20 years of experience with Kiplinger, David worked on numerous Kiplinger publications, including The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He co-hosted  Your Money's Worth, Kiplinger's podcast and helped develop the Economic Forecasts feature.