Common Careers With a Graduate Degree

What Are Common Careers With a Graduate Degree?

With a graduate degree, you can pursue several expert-level and high-paying jobs in a range of fields. Some of the most common careers with a graduate degree include:

  • Computer and information systems manager
  • Software engineer
  • Financial manager
  • Statistician
  • Marketing director
  • Physician assistant
  • Teacher

Computer and Information Systems Manager

As companies in every industry increasingly do business online, their need for effective security and compatible software grows. Computer and information systems managers, or simply IT managers, develop technology strategies for organizations of all sizes, coordinate security needs, and work with stakeholders to establish digital policies for companies.

To get a job as an IT manager, you’ll need a solid background in computer or information science and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This career path often leads to high-level positions like chief information officer or chief technology officer.

Software Engineer

Software engineers and developers design and create computer programs that people and businesses use to work, play, and live. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that this field will grow much faster than average over the next decade, as businesses in every industry need innovative software.

Did you File FAFSA® Yet

To pursue this fast-growing career path, you’ll need a bachelor’s and a master’s in computer science or software engineering. To climb to the top of this field, you may also need several years of experience in the field and a background in business or management.

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee organizations’ financial health by producing reports, statements, and forecasts. Whether they’re controllers, treasurers, or chief financial officers, they also handle relevant legal requirements and guide the company’s financial strategy.

You’ll be in the best position to rise to the top of this profession if you earn an MBA or a master’s in finance or economics. These graduate degrees give you essential knowledge and skills, along with the business savvy you need.


If you’re considering a career in statistics, the future couldn’t look brighter. According to the BLS, statistics is one of the fastest-growing fields, and the job market is expected to grow by over a third during the next decade. As data becomes more and more important to industries ranging from health care to food production, businesses will create an increasing demand for experienced statisticians who can analyze the information.

To become a high-ranking statistician, you’ll need at least a master’s degree and probably a Ph.D. You’ll also need work experience in your focus area, and you’ll need to be tech-savvy enough to make and use software programs for analysis and modeling.

Marketing Director

Marketing directors generate interest in and demand for products and services, and they’re responsible for identifying target markets. They also oversee market research initiatives and develop effective marketing plans.

No matter which industry you specialize in, to land a director-level position, you’ll need a master’s in marketing and communications. Along with experience in marketing and advertising, you’ll also need a solid understanding of business law, economics, and statistics.

Physician Assistant

The job market for physician assistants is booming, largely due to their expanded roles in health care. As more and more patients secure health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, their need for medical care grows. In about half of the states across the nation, physician assistants are able to practice without the oversight of a physician. Many can diagnose and treat patients’ illnesses and injuries independently, and these professionals can also prescribe medications in many states.

To pursue this career path, you’ll need a master’s degree designed for physician assistants. To practice, you’ll also need to be licensed in your home state.


While some states require public school teachers to have only a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license, others require a master’s degree in education. This is especially true for high school teachers and other advanced instructors. Even when a master’s degree isn’t required, public school teachers may receive a pay boost or other incentives for earning a graduate degree.

While the BLS predicts that the job market for teachers will grow at an average rate over the next decade, some subject areas are likely to have more job openings than others. Consider pursuing a specialty in math, science, special education, or English as a second language (ESL) education to prepare for the best job prospects.

No matter which field you’re planning to pursue, a graduate degree can help you land a rewarding career. Not sure how to pay for your graduate studies? Fill out the FAFSA® form and take the first step toward getting the financial aid you need.