5 Jobs that Require a Graduate Degree

Individuals interested in pursuing certain careers will need to earn a graduate degree in order to practice in their chosen profession. If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, a physician assistant, a licensed social worker, an optometrist, or a veterinarian you will need to earn a graduate degree.


1. Lawyer

Q: What’s the difference between a lawyer and a herd of buffalo?

A: The lawyer charges more.

jobs-that-require-a-graduate-degree-lawyerLawyers advise and represent individuals and organizations on legal issues. They research and analyze legal problems, interpret laws, and prepare legal documents. Lawyers must complete an accredited three-year graduate degree in law. Upon obtaining their J.D. (Juris Doctorate), they are eligible to take the bar exam. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median annual salary for a lawyer in 2010 was $112,760. Job growth between 2010 and 2020 is projected to be 10%, or average.


2.Physician Assistant


Q: How did the PA know her patient was Canadian?

A: When she asked him his blood type, he answered “Eh?”

jobs-that-require-a-graduate-degree-physician-assistantUnder the supervision of physicians, PAs examine, diagnose, and treat illnesses and injuries. They may also order and interpret tests and prescribe medication. Physician assistants must complete a bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year masters degree. All states require PAs to be licensed. In 2010, the BLS reported the median pay for a PA was $86,410. Job growth between 2010 and 2020 is estimated to be 30%, or faster than average.


3.Social worker


Q: How many social workers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None; it’s not in our budget.

jobs-that-require-a-graduate-degree-social workerSocial workers diagnose and treat mental illness and behavioral issues. They may also provide case management and advocacy. After finishing their bachelor’s degree, social workers must attend a two to three year Masters of Social Work program to become eligible for licensure. Requirements for licensure vary by state. According to the BLS in 2010, social workers earned a median annual salary of $42,480. Job growth between 2010 and 2020 is projected to be 25%, which is faster than average.


Q: Did you hear the one about the optometrist who fell into the lens grinder?

A: He made a spectacle of himself.

jobs-that-require-a-graduate-degree-optometristOptometrists conduct eye exams to diagnose and treat disorders and diseases of the eye, and prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses. After completing their bachelor’s degree, optometrists must graduate from an accredited four-year optometry school, culminating in a Doctor of Optometry (D.O.) degree. Licensure follows. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the median yearly pay for optometrists was $94,990; job growth between 2010 and 2020 is projected to be 33%, which is faster than average.




jobs-that-require-a-graduate-degree-veterinarianThe vet asked her puppy patient, “how are you feeling today?” The puppy patient answered, “Ruff!”

Veterinarians diagnose and treat medical issues in animals, from family pets to livestock. They must complete a Doctor of Veterinary medicine programat an accredited school, which takes approximately four years. Licensure requirements vary by state. The BLS reports the median salary for veterinarians in 2010 was $82,040, and job growth is expected to be approximately 36% between 2010 and 2020.


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About the Author: Stephanie Small has a B.A. in English from Yale University and an MSW from the Smith College School of Social Work


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