Careers in psychology and the salary of a psychologist are very diverse. Salary and job options depend on factors such as degree held, area of specialization, and years of experience.
According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, psychology is the fourth most popular college major in the United States.
Undoubtedly, people with master’s or doctorate in psychology earn higher salaries as a psychologist.
How much does a psychologist make? It is a curious question everyone desires to have a career in psychology wants to know for sure.
Careers In Psychology
Before we come to ‘psychologist salary’ it is good to have an understanding of different career options in psychology.
An undergraduate degree in psychology is necessary for entry levels jobs in psychology such as:
- Childcare worker
- Students admission counselor in 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 psychologist
- Research psychologist
- Psychology teachers/educators
- Military psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Engineering psychologist
Salary Of Psychology Professionals
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 profession, skill, and experience.
Highest paying careers in psychology get a salary ranging between $55,000 and $215,000 per year.
Clinical psychiatry is the highest paying career in this field. Reputed sports psychologists also earn heavy pay packages as a private psychologist to professional athletes, teams, and clubs.
Salary of psychologists varies according to geographical locations, years of experience, educational qualification, and sector of employment.
Let us now look at some of the popular career options is psychology with approximate salary 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 off in 100s for easy understanding and remembering.)
Average salary: $223,500 per year
A psychiatrist is one of the highest paying jobs available in the field for psychology. Importantly, the salary of a psychiatrist can vary according to the sector of employment and type of work.
To become a psychiatrist, one requires a graduate degree from a medical school and then must complete a four-year residency. It takes eight years of post-undergraduate studies to become a psychiatrist in the United States.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2017 edition, Psychiatrist in a hospital earns an average salary of $222,460, and for those working in outpatient care centers earns $233,920 per year.
Average salary: $90,500 per year
Neuropsychologists deal with the brain and cognitive science. They perform brain scans, diagnosis of brain injury, cognitive tests, and influence of drugs on the nervous system.
Neuropsychologists have career openings in universities, research centers, trauma care centers, pharmaceutical labs, and mental health clinics.
One needs to obtain a doctorate in neuropsychology to work in this field.
3. Industrial Psychologist
Average salary: $102,500 per year
Industrial or organizational psychologists are in high demand for handling and resolving interpersonal conflicts in workplaces. They also help in counseling the employees for motivation and improving labor outputs.
Organizational psychologists help the organization in the process of selecting the best employees for the jobs and developing market research and survey.
According to a report by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the top five percentages of their members earn up to $250,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics pitches the average annual salary of industrial psychologist at $119,690 in scientific research and development industry.
Organizational psychologists in the educational and health sector earn an average salary of $67,900 per year. A graduate specialized in industrial psychology gets an average starting salary of $40,000, while a doctoral graduate gets $55,000 per year.
You can become an Organizational/Industrial scientist if you have a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology with a specialization in industrial psychology.
4. Engineering Psychologist
Average salary: $80,000 per year
Engineering psychology deals with bringing about a harmonious relationship between humans and the many products we use every day. They help the industrial labors by improving the designs of systems and tools which are safe and easy to use. In addition, preventing injuries and increasing productivity also their concern.
Well qualified engineering psychologists have good opportunities in the industrial sector. They earn more salaries than those working in educational institutions.
A master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in industrial psychology or a doctorate in this field is necessary for becoming an industrial psychologist.
5. Clinical Psychologist
Average salary: $81,000 per year
Today, clinical psychologist is an important medical staff in every good hospital. A clinical psychologist helps in diagnosis, assessment, treatment, counseling, and prevention of all types of mental illness. They may also counsel patients to overcome trauma, stress, or depression caused by a disease.
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 salary 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 year of supervised residency or clearing license exams from job seekers in clinical psychology.
6. Forensic Psychologist
Average salary: $60,000 per year
Forensic psychologists have career openings in psychological issues related to legal matters. They help in matters such as child custody issues, preparing psychological profiles of criminals, child abuse investigation, training the witness to testify in the court, training of 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
Average salary: $55,000 per year
Today, training for sports and games includes psychological counseling of athletes. A psychologist continuously motivates the athlete to perform well in athletic performance. Sports psychologist helps the athlete recover fast from sports injuries and builds the mental strength and competitiveness for winning.
A sports psychologist can earn between $45,000 and $80,000 per year in general sports training institutions. Reputed 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 a sports psychologist.
8. Counseling Psychologist
Average salary: $72,000 per year
Maximum job opportunities for psychologists are available in counseling domain. For example, a counseling psychologist does psychotherapy and mental health treatments.
A counseling psychologist helps in rehabilitation counseling in de-addiction centers. They may choose professions such as marriage/family counseling, guidance and career counseling, education counseling, or youth counseling.
The salary of a counseling psychologist depends on qualification and counseling skill.
A Ph.D., Psy.D, or Ed.D. degree is required to become a counseling psychologist.
9. School Psychologist
Average Salary: $58,000 per year.
A school psychologist is an important member of the school faculty team. They help students with learning disorders or behavioral issues. The school psychologist works in collaboration with teachers and parents. Their responsibility in the school includes correcting the students with emotional, social, and behavioral problems.
In the United States, a School counselor must complete a 60-credit school psychology specialist program leading to masters or Ed.S qualification.
The Bottom Line
Fortunately, there are many career options for a psychologist. Salary of a psychologist is co-related to various factors such as the area of specialization, qualification, years of experience, personal reputation, and geographical location.
Highest salaries go to Psychiatrist, Industrial Psychologist, and Neuropsychologist; most of them do earn salaries in six figures per year. The highest number of job vacancies in psychology available as a school psychologist and clinical psychologist, and they can make a salary up to $60,000 per year.