Highest paying jobs in State College that require a graduate degree

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August 1, 2022
Ohiodominican // Wikimedia Commons

Highest paying jobs in State College that require a graduate degree

Those with graduate degrees earn more on average than those without them—but not all jobs are equal. And while rising tuition costs are enough to turn people away from the prospect of a master’s or doctoral degree, many high-paying professions still require such degrees to get in the door. Stacker compiled a list of the highest- paying jobs that require a graduate degree in State College, PA using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked by 2020 annual mean wage.

The best way to guarantee a high return on investment in a graduate degree is to be aware of professions that pay top-dollar for that added educational investment. Keep reading to see where a graduate degree is required—and can earn you the most.

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#18. Mental health and substance abuse social workers

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $40,280 (#216 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,540 (116,780 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Madera, CA ($92,870)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($91,480)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($89,730)

Job description: Assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.

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#17. Healthcare social workers

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $51,530 (#276 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $60,470 (176,110 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($100,410)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($98,980)
--- Salinas, CA ($95,690)

Job description: Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family caregivers. Provide patients with information and counseling, and make referrals for other services. May also provide case and care management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

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#16. Urban and regional planners

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $55,410 (#161 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $79,410 (38,190 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($109,910)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($108,860)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($107,810)

Job description: Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

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#15. Educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $64,160 (#95 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,320 (292,230 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($91,420)
--- El Centro, CA ($91,110)
--- Fresno, CA ($90,860)

Job description: Advise and assist students and provide educational and vocational guidance services.

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#14. Occupational therapists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $72,170 (#301 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 50

National
- Annual mean salary: $87,480 (126,610 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- The Villages, FL ($115,920)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($115,060)
--- Modesto, CA ($112,870)

Job description: Assess, plan, and organize rehabilitative programs that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to persons with disabilities or developmental delays. Use therapeutic techniques, adapt the individual's environment, teach skills, and modify specific tasks that present barriers to the individual.

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#13. Statisticians

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $72,980 (#79 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $97,170 (38,860 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($127,080)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($120,850)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($118,900)

Job description: Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information. May specialize in fields such as biostatistics, agricultural statistics, business statistics, or economic statistics. Includes mathematical and survey statisticians.

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#12. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $79,010 (#158 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 100

National
- Annual mean salary: $89,290 (111,320 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($138,550)
--- Jefferson City, MO ($133,640)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($125,020)

Job description: Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

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#11. Optometrists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $85,410 (#144 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,440 (36,690 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Columbia, SC ($228,340)
--- New Haven, CT ($186,950)
--- Evansville, IN-KY ($182,980)

Job description: Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.

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David Bibo // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Education administrators, kindergarten through secondary

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $85,430 (#258 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $103,010 (262,480 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($154,970)
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($146,070)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($145,590)

Job description: Plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.

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#9. Physical therapists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $86,280 (#253 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 60

National
- Annual mean salary: $91,680 (220,870 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- El Centro, CA ($143,500)
--- Modesto, CA ($123,370)
--- Visalia-Porterville, CA ($119,510)

Job description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

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#8. Speech-language pathologists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $91,180 (#47 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $83,240 (148,450 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Modesto, CA ($128,540)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($120,920)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($115,480)

Job description: Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.

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Rappaport Center // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Lawyers

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $91,810 (#294 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 130

National
- Annual mean salary: $148,910 (658,120 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($231,610)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($201,920)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($186,070)

Job description: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.

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#6. Veterinarians

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $100,590 (#148 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 90

National
- Annual mean salary: $108,350 (73,710 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX ($169,220)
--- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($150,370)
--- Akron, OH ($150,330)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals. Includes veterinarians who conduct research and development, inspect livestock, or care for pets and companion animals.

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Ohiodominican // Wikimedia Commons

#4 (tie). Physician assistants

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $103,070 (#250 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $116,080 (125,280 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salinas, CA ($168,220)
--- Waterbury, CT ($165,230)
--- Portsmouth, NH-ME ($158,020)

Job description: Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.

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#4 (tie). Nurse practitioners

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $103,070 (#284 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 90

National
- Annual mean salary: $114,510 (211,280 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($188,070)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($177,800)
--- Salinas, CA ($155,310)

Job description: Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

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Grace Nichols // U.S. Air Force

#3. Pharmacists

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $126,970 (#163 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 140

National
- Annual mean salary: $125,460 (315,470 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Madera, CA ($165,350)
--- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA ($162,540)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($161,120)

Job description: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

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#2. Family medicine physicians

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $238,520 (#87 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 60

National
- Annual mean salary: $214,370 (98,590 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA ($309,800)
--- Napa, CA ($302,040)
--- Gadsden, AL ($292,110)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, and provide preventive care to individuals and families across the lifespan. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.

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#1. Pediatricians, general

State College, PA
- Annual mean salary: $275,730 (#2 highest pay among all metros)
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $184,570 (27,550 employed)
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($280,860)
--- State College, PA ($275,730)
--- Salt Lake City, UT ($275,610)

Job description: Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries in children. May refer patients to specialists for further diagnosis or treatment, as needed.

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