Careers in psychology and the salary of a psychologist are very diverse. Salary and job options depend on degree, area of specialization, and years of experience.
According to a National Center for Education Statistics report, psychology is the fourth most popular college major in the United States.
A professional with a master’s or doctorate in psychology will earn a higher salary.
How much psychologists can earn? It is a curious question that everyone who desires to have a career in psychology wants to know for sure.
Careers in Psychology
Before discussing the salary for psychologists, it is imperative to understand the different career options in psychology.
A plethora of psychology careers is open now. Clinical and counseling psychologists are in high demand.
Overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, And their salaries may increase on average by 9.9% through 2031, which is faster than average for all occupations.
Psychology professionals typically need a doctorate degree or an advanced degree to go higher up the career path and to have maximum earning potential.
A bachelor’s degree in psychology is necessary for entry-level occupations in psychology, such as:
- Childcare worker
- Students’ admissions counselor at college or school
- Correctional treatment specialist
- Research Assistant
- Youth counselor
- School students’ counselor
- Probation officer
- Psychiatric technician
A graduate degree holder is a specialist in any of the subfields of psychology, leading to various types of psychologists. They may choose professions such as:
- Child psychologist.
- Clinical Psychologist.
- Counseling psychologist
- Family and marriage therapist
- Industrial-organizational Psychologist
- Research psychologist
- Psychology teachers or educators
- Military Psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- Engineering psychologist
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Median Salary For Psychologists
As we have seen, there are different career options in psychology according to the level of qualifications and specializations.
The salary of psychology professionals also varies according to their profession, skill, and experience.
The highest-paying careers in psychology earn annual wages between $55,000 and $215,000. However, a reputed, doctoral degree holder private practice psychologist may earn much more.
Clinical psychiatry is the highest-paying career in this field. Reputable sports psychologists also earn heavy pay packages as private practitioners for professional athletes, teams, and clubs.
The average psychologist’s salary varies according to geographical location, years of experience, educational qualifications, and employment sectors.
Let us now look at some of the popular career options in psychology and approximate salaries for such professionals. Please note we are looking at the average total cash compensation for the job of psychology professionals in the United States.
Note: Average salary figures are rounded in 100s for easy understanding and remembering.
Median salary: $223,500 per year
Being a psychiatrist is one of the highest-paying jobs available in psychology. Significantly, the salary of a psychiatrist can vary according to the employment sector and the type of work.
Psychiatrists earn good salaries as marriage and family counselors or mental health disorder consultants.
To become a psychiatrist, one requires a graduate degree from a medical school and then must complete a four-year residency. Becoming a psychiatrist in the United States takes eight years of post-graduate studies.
In the May 2021 revised edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a psychiatrist in a hospital earns an average salary of $222,460. On the other hand, those working in outpatient care centers earn $233,920 per year.
Median salary: $90,500 per year
Neuropsychologists deal with the brain and cognitive science. They perform brain scans, diagnose brain injuries, administer cognitive tests, and study the influence of drugs on the nervous system.
Neuropsychologists have career openings at universities, research centers, trauma care centers, pharmaceutical labs, and mental health clinics.
One needs to obtain a doctorate (Ph.D) in neuropsychology to work in this field.
3. Industrial Psychologist
Median salary: $102,500 per year
Industrial or organizational psychologists typically are in high demand for handling and resolving workplace interpersonal conflicts. They also help in counseling the employees for motivation and improving labor outputs.
Organizational psychologists help the organization select the best employees for the jobs and develop market research and surveys.
According to a Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology report, the top five percent of their members earn up to $250,000 annually.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the average annual salary of industrial psychologists at $119,690 in the scientific research and development industry.
Organizational psychologists in the educational and health sectors earn an average salary of $67,900 annually. A graduate specializing in industrial psychology gets an average starting salary of $40,000, while a doctoral graduate gets $55,000 annually.
You can become an organizational or industrial psychologist with a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology specializing in industrial psychology.
4. Engineering Psychologist
Average salary: $80,000 per year
Engineering psychology creates a harmonious relationship between humans and the many products we use daily. They help industrial laborers by improving the designs of systems and tools that are safe and easy to use. In addition, preventing injuries and increasing productivity are also their concerns.
Well-qualified engineering psychologists have good opportunities in the industrial sector. They earn a higher salary than those working in educational institutions.
A master’s degree in psychology specializing in industrial psychology or a doctorate in this field is necessary for becoming an industrial psychologist.
5. Clinical Psychologist
Median salary: $81,000 per year
Today, clinical psychologists work as essential medical staff in every good hospital. A clinical psychologist helps diagnose, assess, treat, counsel, and prevent all types of mental illness. They may also counsel patients to overcome trauma, stress, or depression caused by a disease.
Salaries for clinical psychologists can be lucrative, with the BLS reporting that the top 10% earned more than $167,460.
Clinical psychologists have good career openings in hospitals, mental health clinics, trauma care centers, de-addiction centers, and private clinics. The annual salary of a clinical psychologist depends on years of experience and personal excellence. The pay ranges from $54,000 to $100,000 per year.
A clinical psychologist should have a doctorate in psychology to get the best jobs in this category. Also, some hospitals demand one to two years of supervised residency or clearing license exams from job seekers in clinical psychology.
6. Forensic Psychologist
Median salary: $60,000 per year
Forensic psychologists have career openings in psychological issues related to legal matters. They help with topics such as child custody issues, preparing psychological profiles of criminals, conducting child abuse investigations, training the witness to testify in court, training police personnel for law enforcement, and giving expert testimony.
A forensic psychologist must be well qualified with a master’s degree or a doctorate in forensic psychology or clinical counseling.
7. Sports Psychologist
Median salary: $55,000 per year
Today, training for sports and games includes psychological counseling for athletes. A psychologist continuously motivates the athlete to perform well in athletic performance. A sports psychologist helps the athlete recover fast from sports injuries and builds mental strength and competitiveness for winning.
A sports psychologist’s salary ranges between $45,000 and $80,000 annually in general sports training institutions. Reputable sports psychologists working with professional athletes, national teams, or clubs may earn handsome salaries.
The job of a sports psychologist requires a master’s or doctorate in sports psychology as a qualification. Psychologists qualified in counseling or clinical psychology can also work as sports psychologists.
8. Counseling Psychologist
Median salary: $72,000 per year
Maximum job opportunities for psychologists are available in the counseling domain. For example, a counseling psychologist does psychotherapy and mental health treatments.
A counseling psychologist helps with rehabilitation counseling in de-addiction centers. They may choose professions such as marriage/family counseling, career guidance, education counseling, or youth counseling.
The salary of counseling psychologists depends on their qualifications and counseling skills.
A Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. degree is required to become a counseling psychologist.
9. School Psychologist
Median salary: $58,000 per year.
A school psychologist, an expert in school psychology, is an essential member of the school faculty team. She helps students with learning disorders or behavioral issues.
The school psychologist may work in collaboration with teachers and parents. Her responsibility in the school includes correcting the students’ emotional, social, and behavioral problems.
In the United States, a school counselor must complete a 60-credit psychology specialist program leading to a master’s or Ed.S. qualification.
The Final Thought
Fortunately, there are many career options for psychologists. The salary of a psychologist is related to various factors, such as the area of specialization, qualifications, years of experience, personal reputation, and geographical location.
The highest salaries go to psychiatrists, industrial psychologists, and neuropsychologists; most earn six figures annually. The highest number of job vacancies in psychology are available as school psychologists or clinical Psychologists, and they can make up to $60,000 per year.
The average salary of psychology professionals per year
- Psychiatrist: $223,500
- Industrial Psychologist: $102,500
- Neuropsychologist: $90,500
- Clinical Psychologist: $81,000
- Engineering psychologist: $80,000
- Counseling psychologist: $72,000
- Forensic Psychologist: $60,000
- Sports Psychologist: $55,000
- School psychologist: $58,000
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook
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