The job market today is increasingly competitive and college graduates will find that a bachelor’s degree is more so a necessity than it is an accessory on your resume. Career advancement now involves professionals to consider a master’s degree to set them apart from the competition. A master’s degree is a financial and time investment, so deciding on taking the plunge into higher education is best saved for those looking into careers where a master’s degree will actually make a difference. Here are ten careers where a master’s degree makes not only a difference but in some cases is necessary:

1. Educator – Of all the industries were a master’s degree matters, education places value on those willing to invest those extra years in higher education. To teach at the university level a master’s degree is necessary and the higher education you earn the higher your salary. University professors earn an average of about $80,000 and often will find that their experience can lend itself to also running educational programs and departments which also pay well.

2. Lawyer – A law degree opens the door to many different career opportunities. Lawyers make on average about $115,000 and often further career growth is possible. Whether you are looking to start your own practice or look into judicial careers, a law degree pays off in long-term career progress.

3. Physician’s Assistant – A physician’s assistant will need a master’s degree from an accredited program. They perform many tasks similar to that of an actual physician but do not need to go through the same amount of schooling. As the medical industry continues to see further growth, the more demand this position will see in the future in hospitals.

4. Financial Manager – Although many might dispute the need for an MBA, statistics and facts show that an MBA in any sector of business is worthwhile. Financial managers help companies decide the savviest financial decisions to make. They are the gateway to successful profit earnings for any company. The boom in startup companies have created an increasing need for financial managers as they also help with the best strategies to implement to see financial growth.

5. CEO – A company’s CEO can gain ample knowledge and experience from looking to earn an MBA. Choosing to pursue an MBA can help CEOs in the long-run because they will have the opportunity to learn the most recent research in consumer patterns and also have ample opportunities in networking. Many business owners choose to earn an MBA while working at the same time and many programs make it easier to earn a higher degree by offering part-time and full-time programs.

6. Nurse Practitioner – Those looking to elevate their careers in nursing will find that become a nurse practitioner is a great way to gain more experience in their field but also earn more. A master’s degree in nursing is usually necessary to become a nurse practitioner. As more and more hospitals higher freshly graduated nursing students, the need for a nurse practitioner to guide and educate new employees becomes a necessity in many hospitals.

7. Engineer – An engineer in the various fields of engineering will find that a master’s degree can help them in the job market. As more and more students look to the engineering field for a reliable and well-paid career, veteran engineers might find that a master’s degree can help them catch up to those fresh grads in terms of software and new technology. A master’s degree in engineering can also allow you to earn more as with ample knowledge and experience higher positions where most work is delegation becomes more accessible.

8. Physical Therapist – A master’s degree is mandatory to become a physical therapist but there are many specialized programs that are shorter than the average two to three years of extra schooling. Physical therapist help patients recover from injuries or work with them with pain management. Growth in the medical field has seen a demand for various healthcare positions and especially physical therapists.

9. Web Designers – Although a master’s degree is not a necessity for web designers, those looking to pursue a master’s degree in design will find it can open more doors. Today’s heavily visual world is helping to create a booming industry where design and aesthetics are a priority.

10. Counselors – Whether you are a career or school counselor, a master’s degree will help nab in-demand positions in universities and schools. Counselors in this field help others prepare to be successful in their academic or career paths. Many counselors earn about $55,000 and can have opportunities to work in administration in higher education where they can earn even more.

Thinking about how you can advance your career often involves considering graduate school. As mentioned, investing in graduate school takes commitment and self-assurance. However, clearly the rewards from those years of hard work can pay off greatly in terms of career growth and salary potential.