I love my job and the company I work for. I've just recently hit my one-year mark and received the typical yearly raise. However, I am weeks away from finishing my masters degree (which does relate to my job) and my salary, even with the raise, does not reflect what I should be earning as a master. Is there a proper way to approach my boss to talk about new responsibilities and compensation once I finish my degree?
See my answer when you read more.
It sounds like you've already researched salary averages in your field, and if you haven't already I would take advantage of the other students and professors at school. Ask the students with whom you've become acquainted what their salary expectations are and what types of positions they're planning on entering or have already started. Those people are likely to be open to this type of discussion because they are in the same boat as you. Also, the students participating in masters programs likely come from a wide range of age groups and experience levels. Some of them may have a lot of valuable knowledge about working in your field, so don't be afraid to ask them for advice.
Once you have your degree, send your boss an email and ask to set up a meeting within a certain time frame or on a particular day. When you're sitting in her office try not to be nervous — you're equipped with well-researched facts and your boss will assume that you'll look elsewhere if your requests aren't answered. Your boss surely appreciates someone on staff who has shown dedication to the field by pursuing a higher degree and knows that you are an asset to the company.
Let her know exactly what you've said here: your salary does not reflect what you should be earning with a masters degree. Enter the meeting armed with some details about your educational experience and why you can bring more to the table because of it. She'll want to know that you've taken something away from your schooling and aren't just feeling like you deserve a raise because you're holding an additional degree. Let her know that you're not just out for more money for the same job, but that you would like additional responsibilities. Offer suggestions of ways that you'd like to be more involved so she knows you're serious about taking on a more complex role.