Doctoral degrees open up a whole new sphere of employment opportunities for those who hold them. From government to private industry to research organizations to universities, the career potential for those with doctorates is endless. However, considering the many years of intense studying and research that goes into earning a doctoral degree — not to mention the considerable expense — it’s smart to think ahead of time about which doctoral degrees will lead to the most lucrative job opportunities. Here we will discuss five doctoral degrees that are well-known for leading to high-paying careers.
- PhD in Physics. Physicists are among the top-paid scientists today, and nearly all positions require graduate preparation at the doctoral level. The average annual salary for a physicist was $102,890, with the middle 50 percent of all physicists earning between $80,040 and $130,980 in May 2008, according to the Bureau.
- PhD in Computer Science. Not only is computer science a career field that pays well, but it is also an area expected to experience a lot of employment growth. The average annual salary of computer scientists was $97,970 as of May 2008, and employment in computer science is projected to grow by a whopping 24 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau. Something else to note: most computer scientist positions require a doctorate, the Bureau maintains.
- PhD in Mathematics. You may have thought back in high school that excelling in mathematics could never pay off, but that is simply not the case. Mathematicians earned an average annual salary of $95,150 in May 2008 with the middle 50 percent of all mathematicians earning between $71,430 and $119,480, according to the Bureau. Mathematicians who worked for the federal government earned even more on average — $107,051, the Bureau maintains.
- PhD in Economics. Yet another analytical degree makes the cut for the list of top-paying doctoral degrees. Economists earned an average annual salary of $83,590 in May 2008, according to the Bureau. Economists working for the federal government had even higher average annual salaries, usually hovering around a cool $108,010.
- PhD in Engineering. Engineering programs at all degree levels are well-known for leading to good-paying careers, but a doctorate in engineering clears the way to top-level research and management positions. High-paying specializations include engineering management and petroleum engineering, with engineering managers in the top spot. Engineering managers earned an average annual salary of $115,270 in May 2008, with the middle 50 percent of engineering managers earning somewhere between $91,870 and $141,730, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries were highest among engineering managers who worked in the scientific research and development services industry.
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