Those who want to practice psychology should consider earning their Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) degree. The Psy.D. is different from the Ph.D. in psychology in as such that it is more clinical, rather than research-based. Thus, if you want to continue to work directly with patients and address their mental health needs, then the Psy.D. degree is more suited to you.
Potential Earnings and Cost of Education
Naturally, someone with a Psy.D. will earn more than someone with a master’s degree in psychology. However, obtaining this degree also takes time and money and you must consider whether or not you will see a return on investment. You do also have to attach some degree of value to the personal satisfaction you get from earning a more advanced degree.
It will usually take you between four and five years to complete a Psy.D. full time. It will involve writing a lengthy thesis that you must also defend. Furthermore, you will have to complete a year-long internship, which is generally unpaid. If you are already in employment at the present time, this could be hard to afford.
Salary Outlook for a Psy.D. Grad
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported a median salary for psychologists of $69,280 in May 2012. All psychologists have a master’s degree as a minimum, but these are in the lower earning bracket. Indeed, the bottom 10% of earners made just $38,720 per year. By contrast, the top 10%, who will by and large hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree, earned $110,880 and above. These top earners usually have a degree in clinical psychology in particular and they have at least five years of working experience.
There are significant differences in earnings depending on the type of psychology education a person chooses. As such:
- Industrial organizational psychologists had an average annual earning of $85,580.
- Clinical, school and counseling psychologists had an average earning of $67,650.
- All other types of psychologists had an average salary of $90,020. This includes clinical psychologists.
Another significant area of influence to the average salary of a psychologist is the industry in which he or she is employed. The BLS has reported that 50% of all psychologists enjoy average annual earnings of between $48,000 and $82,000. The difference in industries is highlighted as follows:
- $59,000 for those employed in outpatient care
- $57,000 for those employed in family and individual services
- $65,000 for those employed in elementary and secondary schools
- $68,000 for those employed in health care practitioner offices
- $63,000 for those employed in state government agencies
One of the fastest growing areas of psychology is that of industrial-organizational psychology. The BLS expects that this segment of the industry will grow by 53% between 2012 and 2022, which is one of the fastest growths experienced across all industries. The top 10% of earners in this field earn as much as $148,000, although the mean annual salary overall is $83,580.
Salaries Specific to Psy.D. Holders
The BLS has not made a distinction in earnings between those with a master’s degree and those with a Psy.D. or Ph.D. However, there is some knowledge about average salaries in psychology professions where a Psy.D. or Ph.D. is usually required. As such:
- An industrial organizational psychologist earns an average of $97,820 per year.
- A cognitive psychologist earns an average of $55,000 per year.
- A developmental psychologist earns an average of $56,000 per year.
- An engineering psychologist earns an average of $79,000 per year.
- An experimental psychologist earns an average of $56,600 per year.
- A sports psychologist earns an average of $54,200 per year.
Job Outlook for Psy.D. Graduates
One of the most interesting areas to work in as a Psy.D. graduate is clinical psychology. Not only will you earn a good salary in this particular field of psychology, you will also be able to look forward to strong job growth. Indeed, a growth of around 22% is expected between 2012 and 2022.
It should also be noted that growth is strong in all areas of psychology. School, counseling and clinical psychologists can expect a 20% growth during the same time period. Additionally, there is a significant job growth in schools, hospitals, social services agencies and mental health centers. Finally, the demand for school psychologists is also expected to grow significantly, as there are more and more children who attend public schools overall.
Meanwhile, there is a strong growth in demand across all areas of health care. This is due to the fact that the population is aging and developing more complex health needs. Additionally, the stigma on mental illness is becoming a part of the past, meaning that people are more ready to search for mental health support when they need it. Growth is strongest for those who have a doctorate degree, mainly because these are better trained to work collaboratively with others and because there is an across the board commitment to improving the quality of professionals overall.