If you haven't hit your peak earnings years, an executive MBA -- the kind you get while working -- can make a big difference. Workers who get an EMBA in their forties earn median pay of $118,000, vs. $71,400 for those with just a business-oriented bachelor's degree, according to PayScale.com. The differential starts to drop off, though, for workers in their fifties, who may be better off seeking a certificate.
While some top programs are pricey -- Wharton's San Francisco program is $179,000 -- the average student can expect to pay about $72,000, says admissions consultant Paul Bodine.
Among his top picks for around $100,000: University of Texas at Austin ($89,250) and the University of North Carolina's Global OneMBA ($102,450).