5 Surprising Careers That Require a Master’s Degree

master's degree

It’s no surprise doctors and lawyers require years of schooling beyond a bachelor’s degree. However, there are also several “entry-level” careers that require a grad school. Intrigued? Below are five careers you may be surprised to learn require a master’s degree.

High school counselors

Guiding high school students through emotional, academic, and social issues that impact their future requires drive and compassion – and in most cases, a master’s degree. If you have considered becoming a high school counselor, you should start to research master’s degrees that will allow you to pursue this career path. Certification and licensure requirements vary by state, but you will likely need to complete graduate-level coursework in areas like educational psychology, school counseling, and human development in order to work as a school counselor. Want more info? A list of schools and degree programs that may qualify you to become a high school counselor can be found .

Master's Degree

Physician’s assistants

The word “assistant” in this job title may imply that an advanced degree is not required, but that is not the case. Physician’s Assistants (PAs) practice medicine independently of a doctor for most of their day while providing direct patient care. A PA may, for example, diagnose an injury or illness, complete physical examinations, prescribe medicine and other treatments, and order and analyze diagnostic tests. In other words, a PA is not your ordinary entry-level job.

Physician’s Assistants should have a master’s degree specific to their career field. For entrance into a PA program, incoming students will need a bachelor’s degree – often in a related field such as nursing – and several science pre-requisites. Depending on your focus and previous experience, a PA program can take anywhere from two to four years to complete. If this sounds like an intriguing path, you can find program options through the Physician Assistant Education Association .

master's degree

Marriage and family therapists

While it is common for students interested in marriage and family therapy to earn a bachelor’s degree in an area like psychology, counseling, or another social science, a master’s degree is generally required in order to become licensed. Marriage and family therapists can play an integral role in a person’s emotional well-being, providing counseling services to families and couples. They may see clients experiencing difficulty with both mental health and substance abuse problems. Helping couples navigate these tough issues requires a deep familiarity and understanding of individual and social psychology, including disorders ranging from children’s behavioral disorders to adult schizophrenia, eating disorders, and marital distress. If you’re interested in learning more about accredited master’s programs that can help you gain licensure to practice marriage and family therapy, check out the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education’s .

Master's Degree


Librarians wear many hats beyond the role of noise-enforcer. Many students interested in working in a library setting may be shocked to discover that in many cases a person is required to have a master’s degree before becoming a librarian–and for good reason. The degree requirements can vary based on the size of the library, the job, and the setting–whether it’s a public library, school, medical facility, or a government center. Librarians help not only keep the library organized and running smoothly, but also help customers locate appropriate materials and research. Depending on what type of librarian he or she is, a librarian may troubleshoot digital systems, compile and analyze data usage, improve outreach and promotion of library resources, all while mastering the latest information technology. Others may help organize and archive medical research or historical documents and manuscripts. You can learn more about the different specializations and programs available through The American Library Association, which maintains a of accredited programs in this field.

master's degree


If you were a history major in college hoping to go into a career related to history, chances are you’ll need advanced study. Some historians have a master’s degree, while others complete a doctorate. Historians may become researchers, consultants, writers, educators, curators, or archivists. They can work in either the public or private sector, in for-profit or not-for-profit agencies. Many colleges and universities offer master’s degrees in history, so finding program offerings requires a quick Google and some time weighing the options. If your passion lies in the past, you can learn more about pursuing history as a career through the American Historical Association, which offers a online.

There are many fields that are widely recognized to require advanced training, but there are also some entry-level jobs and surprising industries that require the same. From becoming a clinical social worker or a high school principal, there are many career paths that require additional education. For more information on jobs and industries (and their educational requirements), and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ are easy-to-use resources for exploring potential paths and the minimum education and training required.

By Brenna Tonelli

Brenna Tonelli is a contributing writer for , the leading curated marketplace for private tutors. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.



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