Money

5 best—and worst—master’s degrees if you want a high-paying job

It's no secret that college can be expensive. More than 44 million Americans have taken out student loans to pay for school and their debt totals $1.4 trillion.

The average debt for 20-year-olds is a staggering $22,135. For 30-year-olds, it's even larger: $34,033. So, according to a report from financial-advice website Moneyish, paying yet more to get an advanced degree can be a real risk.

"The average debt of a person with a Master of Arts degree hit an inflation-adjusted $59,000," it says, "up from just $38,000 in 2004."

If you're planning to get your master's, you can play it safer by focusing on certain fields where students tend to earn more money after graduating, though, according to data compiled by Moneyish and compensation-data site PayScale.

Here are their top five best master's degree majors to choose if you want a high-paying job:

Nurse Anesthesia

Early-career median pay: $143,000
Mid-career median pay: $165,000

Telecommunications Engineering

Early-career median pay: $76,200
Mid-career median pay: $141,000

Finance and Economics

Early-career median pay: $68,000
Mid-career median pay: $134,000

Electrical Engineering

Early-career median pay: $80,600
Mid-career median pay: $130,000

Computer Engineering

Early-career median pay: $86,400
Mid-career median pay: $129,000

And here are their top five worst master's degree majors to choose if you want a high-paying job:

Human Services

Early-career median pay: $39,500
Mid-career median pay: $46,600

Early Childhood Education

Early-career median pay: $40,600
Mid-career median pay: $49,200

Professional Counseling

Early-career median pay: $40,400
Mid-career median pay: $51,200

Community Counseling

Early-career median pay: $40,900
Mid-career median pay: $51,700

Museum Studies

Early-career median pay: $41,000
Mid-career median pay: $52,700

Of course, these numbers don't mean you shouldn't pursue your dream major or dream job. But it helps to do so with your eyes open.

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