Following the “no good jobs without college” mantra to it’s logical conclusion, one might conclude that if some higher education is good, more is even better. Of course, one would need more data, and luckily the American Enterprise Institute has acquired some.
“American universities awarded roughly 760,000 master’s degrees during the 2014–15 academic year, yet we know little about the payoff associated with these degrees, especially by field of study,” AEI notes. “Using new data from three states, we show that field of study is closely related to post-graduation earnings from master’s degrees.”
“Master’s graduates in fields such as philosophy, art, and early childhood education have the lowest median earnings—often less than graduates with bachelor’s or even associate degrees. The highest-paid graduates earned master’s degrees in fields such as business, information technology, engineering, or real estate.”
“Differences in state labor markets also led to variance in postgraduate earnings, more so for high-paying fields than low-paying fields.” In other words, don’t expect that PhD in gender studies to knock hiring manager’s socks off.