Updated December 8, 2022 · 2 Min Read

Some careers allow a professional to be successful with a Bachelor's degree or less, but here are five careers that require a master's degree for success. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Competitive Master's Degree Careers

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Environmental Engineer
  • School Principal
  • Arbitrator
  • Chemist

In this world, a college degree will definitely get you much further than no degree at all, but ultimately, the careers that require a master's degree are among some of the best there are. So, what types of careers are some those that definitely require a master's in order to be competitive? There are untold sums of possibilities here, but to get a general idea of some of the career areas out there that do really rely on master's grads, we can look to five telling examples.

Nurse Practitioner

Many nursing positions do only require an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing in addition to the associated certification credentials. However, the upper echelons of nursing practice actually require a master's degree or better in order for consideration for entry. Nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and many nurse midwives fall under this very important category of top nurses - APRN's, or advanced practice registered nurses (

Environmental Engineer

"Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change, and environmental sustainability." (

If this sounds like the type of work you'd like to be doing, then a bachelor's degree in environmental science or a related field is the very minimum passport to entry. To truly be competitive, though, a master's is needed here. Only those with a master's are likely to gain access to the most advanced initiatives and job roles.

School Principal

No matter if it's elementary, middle, or high school level, each and every school out there needs management. Within each school, the head of management of all school operations is the school principal. While it is possible in some cases to gain entry to this position via a bachelor's and sufficient teaching experience, in order to really signify an able-bodied representative of the position, one needs to have a master's degree. In fact, the vast majority of schools will not consider an applicant to the position without one (


Arbitration is a vital process in which court-bound parties engage in an out-of-court negotiation process which may actually prevent subsequent court proceedings. In these negotiations, a professional called an "arbitrator" oversees the action. Ultimately, the best outcome here is one of successful agreement and the avoidance of court, and that is what all of the arbitrator's efforts are all geared toward facilitating. To become an arbitrator, a bachelor's is OK, but a master's, the ability to be diplomatic, and some deeper understanding of a relevant industry are what really make a candidate the most eligible among the competition.


Last but certainly not least on our very abbreviated sampling of careers that require a master's degree is the career choice of professional chemist. This is definitely a career that requires a master's degree to be competitive, as many enter as bachelor's grads, while only the best positions are given to the master's holder. According to the BLS:

"Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods." (

The vast world of professional endeavor that we live in today demands countless, highly educated people in order to fulfill ongoing missions. Associate's and bachelor's degrees are certainly formidable for entrance, but in the highest responsibility, most respected, well paid positions, a master's or better is likely going to be required. These five careers are just a small sampling of the many careers that require a master's degree out there.


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