Careers

Careers in Psychology


What kind of salary can you expect if you choose a psychology career? There are many variables that will impact your salary, starting with whether you decide to become a psychologist or a counselor. Other factors include your specialty, the amount of experience you have, and the area where you live and work.

This salary guide is designed to help you decide which psychology career is right for you. In addition to providing a breakdown of the average salary for several psychology and counseling specialties, we provide you with an overview of the job responsibilities, education, training, and employment outlook for each specialty.

Resource Data Provided by

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Labor and Statistics
Payscale

Average Salaries for Psychologists

The average annual salary for a psychologist depends on many factors. For example, psychologists practicing in areas of the country where the cost of living is high tend to make more money. Other factors that impact salary include experience, level of education, and specialty. As you can see from the chart below, the average salary can be quite a bit higher or lower depending on the specialty you choose.

Average Salaries for Psychologists by Specialization

Psychologist
$68,473
Clinical Psychologist
$71,064
School Psychologist
$56,016
Counseling Psychologist
$60,165
Industrial/Organizational Psychologists
$73,529
Forensic Psychologist
$60,631
Child Psychologist
$69,706
Behavioral Psychologist
$49,966
0$80,000

Average Salaries for Counselors

Just as there are many types of psychologists, there are also many types of counselors. The chart below shows average annual earnings nationwide for several counseling specialties. School counselors and guidance counselors are the top earners in this category.

Average Salaries for Counselors by Specialization

Mental Health Counselor
$38,752
Mental Health Therapist
$40,622
Substance Abuse Counselor
$34,341
Marriage and Family Therapist
$43,485
School Counselor
$45,738
Guidance Counselor
$47,808
Career Counselor
$40,983
Rehabilitation Counselor
$40,565
0$50,000

National Salary for Psychologists

According to Bls.gov, the following states and areas with the highest published employment, location quotients, and wages for this occupation are listed below.

Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation

Employment 10,870
Employment 1.7 %
Mean Hourly Wage $42.50
Mean Annual $88,400
Salary Wage 1.3 %

National Estimates

The average annual salary overall for all psychologists was $74,310, which works out to $35.73 per hour, $1,429 per week, and $6,193 per month.

Percentile wage estimates for this occupation

$42.5K 10th percentile
$67K 25th percentile
$91K Median
$105K 75th percentile
$117K 90th percentile

Best Paying States for Psychology

Sometimes the industry you work in can have a dramatic impact on your salary. For example, in the education industry, the level of education and licensing seems to have little impact on income. The average annual salary for school psychologists is only about $10,000 per year higher than the salary for school counselors. This chart shows the highest-paying industries for psychologists.

Area name Employment Annual mean wage
New Hampshire 40 $132,590
Minnesota 260 $123,600
Maryland 440 $104,770
Iowa 50 $100,300
Kansas 100 $98,830
Virginia 320 $98,190
Wisconsin 130 $97,680
New Jersey 80 $96,180
New Mexico 110 $95,130
Rhode Island 50 $93,480
Oregon 210 $93,210
Washington 400 $91,160
California 1010 $89,550
Hawaii 110 $89,220
Florida 1580 $89,120
Arizona 150 $87,940
North Carolina 250 $87,130
Illinois 270 $86,840
Ohio 320 $86,710
Texas 630 $86,150
Alabama 120 $86,080
Massachusetts 370 $85,950
District of Columbia 200 $85,800
South Carolina 90 $85,790
Georgia 280 $85,370

Number of Psychologists Employed in the United States

Psychologists Employment Numbers

California
19,050
New York
11,060
Texas
6,210
Pennsylvania
6,030
Massachusetts
4,950
Illinois
4,900
Florida
4,520
Ohio
3,760
New Jersey
3,370
North Carolina
3,040
010,000

Best Industries for Psychologists

Sometimes the industry you work in can have a dramatic impact on your salary. For example, in the education industry, the level of education and licensing seems to have little impact on income. The average annual salary for school psychologists is only about $10,000 per year higher than the salary for school counselors. This chart shows the highest-paying industries for psychologists.

Industry Hourly Wage Annual Salary
Management Scientific and Technical Consulting $51.26 $106,620
Speciality (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals) $50.26 $104,550
Management Scientific and Technical Consulting $51.26 $106,620
Speciality (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals) $50.26 $104,550
Management Scientific and Technical Consulting $51.26 $106,620
Speciality (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals) $50.26 $104,550
Management Scientific and Technical Consulting $51.26 $106,620
Speciality (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals) $50.26 $104,550
Management Scientific and Technical Consulting $51.26 $106,620
Speciality (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals) $50.26 $104,550

Psychologist vs. Counselor

The difference between a psychologist and a counselor is much more than just a job title. To start with, most psychologists possess a doctoral-level education. Counselors usually need only a master’s degree. That’s still a lot of education, but if you consider the salary difference between a counselor and a psychologist, you may decide that it is worth the additional time and financial investment to become a psychologist. An extra $10,000 to $30,000 in annual income adds up to an awful lot of money over a lifetime.

A psychologist’s training is more research-focused and involves more math and statistics. Psychologists are trained to administer a wide range of psychometric assessments and receive more training related to the treatment of serious mental illnesses. These differences in training are reflected in the job duties for each: Psychologists are more likely than counselors to treat patients with serious mental illnesses and often spend a lot of time administering assessments. Most counselors have limitations on the types of tests they are permitted by law to administer. These limitations vary from state to state.

Popular Psychology Careers

Psychologist

Percentile Salary Estimates

$41K 10th percentile
$52K 25th percentile
$68K Median
$87K 75th percentile
$110K 90th percentile

Job Description

Psychologists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), along with diagnostic interviews and psychological assessments to diagnose and treat patients with mental disorders using psychotherapy, behavior modification, and other treatments. Psychologists may team up with doctors or psychiatrists as needed to get patients treatments, such as medication, that cannot be provided by a psychologist. Psychologists must maintain extensive patient records and reports. See 200+ Psychologist Careers

Training & Education

A Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree is typically required to become a psychologist. This career also requires a license from the state where you will be practicing.

Employment Outlook

The job growth projection for all psychologists is 12% from 2012 to 2022. This is about average.

Clinical Psychologist

Percentile Salary Estimates

$44K 10th percentile
$57K 25th percentile
$71K Median
$87K 75th percentile
$100K 90th percentile

Job Description

Many clinical psychologists work in private practice, where they are able to set their own work schedules. Others work for organizations such as hospitals, schools, and mental health facilities. Some treat patients of all ages, while others treat only age group, such as children. Clinical psychologists observe, assess, and treat patients with various psychological issues. They develop treatment plans, evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, and make modifications as needed. They must also maintain records of each patient’s treatment. Desired skills and personality traits include patience, emotional stability, attention to detail, and outstanding communication and interpersonal skills. See 200+ Careers in Psychology

Training & Education

Clinical psychologists typically obtain a master’s and doctoral degree in clinical psychology. You must also be licensed by the state to practice as a psychologist.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for clinical psychologists is average, with an expected growth of 11% from 2012 to 2022.

School Psychologist

Percentile Salary Estimates

$39K 10th percentile
$46K 25th percentile
$56K Median
$70K 75th percentile
$83K 90th percentile

Job Description

A school psychologist works with students who need assistance with social and behavioral issues. The psychologist must work with both teachers and parents to ensure that each child receives the support he or she needs to succeed both in school and in life. School psychologists administer diagnostic tests to determine what each child needs to succeed and provides the child’s teachers and parents with the tools they need to help the child. Compare 200+ Psychology Careers & Job Titles

Training & Education

To become a school psychologist, you’ll need to obtain a master’s degree in school psychology. You must also be licensed by the state. Since you’ll be working in a school, you may also need to be certified by the State Department of Education.

Employment Outlook

Employment of school psychologists is expected to grow 11% from 2012 to 2022, which is average.

Counseling Psychologist

Percentile Salary Estimates

$39K 10th percentile
$46K 25th percentile
$60K Median
$71K 75th percentile
$95K 90th percentile

Job Description

A counseling psychologist primarily provides counseling services, although other duties such as mental health screening, administering assessments, and overseeing educational programs. Counseling psychologists may counsel people in groups or individually. They may also be involved in crisis counseling or suicide prevention programs. They must have excellent communication skills and be able to relate to people from all walks of life.

Training & Education

This position usually requires a doctorate in either clinical psychology or counseling psychology. You will probably also need a license from the state.

Employment Outlook

The projected growth in jobs for counseling psychologists is 11% from 2012 to 2022, which is average.

Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

Percentile Salary Estimates

$40K 10th percentile
$51K 25th percentile
$73k Median
$93K 75th percentile
$110K 90th percentile

Job Description

Industrial and organizational psychologists work for corporations and other large organizations. Their work is often focused on research, with a focus on analyzing human interactions within the organization. Industrial and organizational psychologists are often called upon to give presentations, oversee testing programs, and administer surveys in conjunction with the human resources department. Other tasks performed by industrial/organizational psychologists include improving the selection process for hiring employees, developing training programs, and administering competency and psychological tests..

Training & Education

This career requires a minimum of a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology. However, a doctorate may be required.

Employment Outlook

This specialty is expected to grow a whopping 53% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than average.

Popular Counseling Careers

Marriage and Family Therapists

Percentile Salary Estimates

$31K 10th percentile
$37K 25th percentile
$43k Median
$53K 75th percentile
$64K 90th percentile

Job Description

Marriage and family therapists counsel individuals, couples, and families on issues related to their interpersonal relationships. The therapist must assess patients and identify underlying issues such as depression, low self-esteem, infidelity, substance abuse, and other emotional and psychological issues. Marriage and family therapists must be able to coordinate treatment with other members of their patients’ mental health treatment teams.

Training & Education

If you want to pursue this career, you must obtain a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. In most cases, you will need a license. You may also have to work with another therapist for a year or two before you are able to practice on your own.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for marriage and family therapists predicts a growth of 29% from 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than average.

Mental Health Counselor

Percentile Salary Estimates

$29K 10th percentile
$33K 25th percentile
$38k Median
$46K 75th percentile
$54K 90th percentile

Job Description

A mental health counselor observes and talks to patients in order to diagnose their mental health issues. Once a diagnosis has been made, the counselor creates a treatment plan for the patient. Mental health counselors provide psychotherapy to groups and individuals. They must be able to keep calm in difficult situations and maintain accurate patient records.

Training & Education

Mental health counselors usually need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, social work, or counseling. A state license is also required.

Employment Outlook

The predicted growth rate for mental health counselors is 29% from 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than average.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Percentile Salary Estimates

$26K 10th percentile
$30K 25th percentile
$34k Median
$40K 75th percentile
$48K 90th percentile

Job Description

Substance abuse counselors often work in rehabilitation facilities, but you can also find them in correctional facilities, healthcare facilities, and community or social service agencies. These counselors work with people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other things. They often work with the families of addicts as well. Substance abuse counselors provide counseling, education, crisis care, and aftercare programs.

Training & Education

Depending on the employer and the position, you may be able to become a substance abuse counselor with just a high school diploma. However, in other cases, a bachelor’s or even master’s degree may be required. For private practice, a master’s degree and a state-issued license are required.

Employment Outlook

The number of people employed as substance abuse counselors is expected to increase by 31% between 2012 and 2022. This is much faster than the average job growth rate.

School Counselor

Percentile Salary Estimates

$33K 10th percentile
$39K 25th percentile
$45k Median
$56K 75th percentile
$68K 90th percentile

Job Description

School counselors help kids with issues in every area, from academic difficulties and social awkwardness to problems at home such as abuse or dealing with their parents’ divorce. School counselors listen patiently, knowing that they are often the only person the child feels he or she can talk to. They help kids get the support services they need to overcome their problems.

Training & Education

To become a school counselor, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in education, with some educational background in psychology and sociology. You’ll also need to be state certified.

Employment Outlook

The job outlook for school counselors is average, with a predicted growth of 12% between 2012 and 2022.

Guidance Counselor

Percentile Salary Estimates

$34K 10th percentile
$40K 25th percentile
$47k Median
$57K 75th percentile
$73K 90th percentile

Job Description

School guidance counselors focus primarily on helping students achieve their academic goals. This includes assessment for social and behavioral problems that impact a student’s schoolwork as well as helping students choose the classes that are best for them. Guidance counselors give students advice on choosing and preparing for college or post-secondary vocational education.

Training & Education

Guidance counselors are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or education. They may also need to be state certified.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide a job outlook specifically for guidance counselors, but the job outlook for the closely related job of school counselor is average, with a predicted growth of 12% between 2012 and 2022.

Employment Outlook for All Psychology Careers

The job growth projection for all psychologists is 12% from 2012 to 2022. This is about average. There is one specialty, however, that is expected to grow at a much faster rate than average. That specialty is industrial-organizational psychologists, which is projected to grow 53% from 2012 to 2022.

Employment Outlook for All Counseling Career

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide an overall job outlook picture for the counseling profession, but based on the individual specialties, it appears that job growth is around 30% for most non-school specialties. For school and guidance counselors, the growth rate is about average at 12%.

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