Applied Psychology Salary Outlook

The field of psychology is very wide. It has allowed our society to gain a lot of information and services linked to improved human welfare. The fields covered by applied psychology allow us to understand more about how people feel and why they think and behave in certain ways. Someone with a masters in applied psychology is able to use this knowledge to improve everyday living. The exact direction of applied psychology that may interest you depends on your own skills, interests and choices.

Salary Feature

The highest paid positions in applied psychology earn around $80,000 per year. However, the overall range is between $33,430 and $80,647. The variation in salaries is due to geographical locations and the type of work that is done. The lowest paid applied psychologists, for instance, tend to be the mental health counselor.

About Applied Psychology

By obtaining a masters in applied psychology (MSAP), you are able to work in a non-clinical field. The specializations include psychology, health and human services. The degree is designed to prepare you to deliver important mental health services to the general public by working together with healthcare workers and social workers. There are a variety of different settings that you could be employed in, including community centers, schools, private practices, offices, businesses and hospitals.

What Jobs Does This Lead To?

As a professional psychologist, you can work in a huge variety of settings, including criminal justice, healthcare, business management, marketing, education and government. Applied psychology is particularly broad in terms of different specializations and there are great variations between these jobs. You could also choose to study on towards a doctorate degree upon completion of your master’s.

  • Forensic Psychology – One highly popular field of applied psychology is forensic psychology. Here, you will use your knowledge on psychological principles and human behavior to help law enforcement, attorneys and correctional facilities. Within applied forensic psychology, you could work as a mental health case manager, a trial consultant, a substance abuse counselor or a victim advocate for instance. As a trial consultant, you will work together with attorneys and prosecutors to prepare civil and criminal cases. You can design questionnaires to pick a jury, create a profile of a defendant, ensure evidence is presented properly and provide assistance for the victims of a crime. You could also work as a criminal profiler, which helps law enforcement to be able to identify and apprehend perpetrators of crimes. In order to become a forensic applied psychologist, you must obtain a masters degree. During this program, you will learn about intervention strategies and you will take part in hands-on clinical forensic settings as well as doing a lot of research.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology – This is an area of human resources, which allows you to monitor, foster and develop relationships between employees and the workplace. You will generally work within businesses and it will be your job to hire new people, train them and motivate them in their work. You will also make suggestions in terms of delivering positive change. It will be your responsibility to develop recruitment programs that allow the best applicants to be attracted. Furthermore, you will analyze jobs and employees, create interview systems, develop role play scenarios and focus on the legal aspects of recruitment, selection and retention. To work in this field, you must also hold a master’s degree, although those with a bachelor degree and additional training in labor law or business management may also be considered.
  • Sports Psychology – Many applied psychologists specialize in sports psychology. Your role here is to work together with athletes and sports organizations in order to develop techniques for motivation and concentration. You may work directly with coaches, educating them on better techniques, but you could also do a lot of research and perhaps even have your own private practice. If you were to be employed in a clinical practice, your role will generally be to research the various behavioral problems that people can have and how these impact on their sports performance. Generally speaking, you will work with athletes directly, however, teaching them visualization, realization and goal-setting techniques. You will design and implement many of these techniques yourself, always with the goal of improving athletic performance through mental training. Additionally, you will provide counseling and therapy for those athletes who are dealing with substance abuse problems, aggression, burnout or injury. The best jobs in applied sports psychology exist for those who hold a doctorate degree. This is because there are very few programs at present at master’s level that focus specifically on sports psychology.

Salary Prospects

All psychologists have an estimated annual median salary of $88,400. The exception, however, is the industrial-organization psychologist, who earns slightly less at $87,960, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They have not calculated the median wage for sports psychologists or forensic psychologists. However, has done some research in this field and have stated that forensic psychologists earn between $35,288 and $99,192 per year. The median annual salary for forensic applied psychologists, therefore, is $60,930.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job opportunities for those with a master’s in applied psychology are very good, particularly for those with a specialization in forensic psychology or industrial-organizational psychology. This is mainly due to the fact that there are so many different areas they could work in. They could seek employment directly in their area of specialization, or they could teach at universities and colleges for instance. Furthermore, due to the aging workforce, it is likely that there will be a significant growth in the field.



About the Author: Ann Steele

This website is co-authored by Ann Steele, a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with extensive experience with children and adolescents. Ann Steele attended American School Of Psychology & Argosy University Online. She especially enjoys using music therapy for mental and emotional well-being.

About This Site

We are an open forum for articles, manuscripts, unpublished thesis, and letters as well as a guide for job, career and program advice from like-minded Graduates. We are seeking submissions that will be of interest to the community.