The field of psychology is part of the larger social sciences. Graduates in this discipline may find themselves drawn to a career in medical facilities, hospitals, academic settings, or the world of research. With a Master’s degree in this subject, the job outlook and salary expectations are both fairly high in comparison to other areas of the social sciences.
To become a psychologist, an individual must have a strong understanding of the motivations behind human behavior and how emotional and mental health is determined. Salary prospects will change depending on specialization and experience, leading to a wide range of potential salaries in this field.
Typical Jobs for Psychologists
With a Master’s degree in psychology, graduates will find the doors wide open to a range of career opportunities. Some of the various fields that they could go into include:
- Organizational psychology
- Private counseling
- Teaching at the high school or university level
- Specialized research
- Public health
These types of higher level positions pay more than the jobs that one would get with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. They require a higher level of expertise, which is gained during the extra years of school.
Average Salaries for Psychologists
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage in 2020 for all types of psychologists was $82,180, or $39.51 per hour. This median wage refers to the middle point where half the workers in the occupation earned more than this wage, and the other half earned less. The top ten percent of psychologists earn salaries that come in at $137,590 at the baseline, and go up from there, while the bottom ten percent earned less than $46,270.
Median salary figures can differ depending on the type of position that psychology master’s graduates hold. In 2020, median salaries for psychologists based on specialty and employment setting looked like this:
- Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists – $79,820
- Industrial and organizational psychologists – $96,270
- Psychologists working for government agencies – $100,360
- State, local and private hospitals – $90,640
- Ambulatory healthcare services – $85,970
- Psychologists in all other specialties – $105,780
It’s important to note that the hours worked by psychologists can vary significantly, leading to further variances in this median salary. Psychologists who have their own private practice are able to set their own work schedule, with some choosing to only work on a part-time basis. Many work evenings and weekends to help accommodate patient schedules. However, psychologists who are employed by clinics, schools, or the government will usually have typical full-time 40 hour weeks. Those who are paid by the hour will want to take these factors into consideration to determine salary outlook.
The job outlook for graduates with a Masters in Psychology degree is strong and steady, with employment expected to rise at a rate of 8% during the ten year period leading up to 2020. This is on pace with the national average for all professions. The steady demand for qualified psychologists is spurred on by the fact that the population is aging and facing the psychological challenges unique to geriatric patients. Many elderly patients need assistance facing the physical and mental changes that are a natural part of growing older.
Psychologists help patients of all ages, of course, including those dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, and addiction. One of the areas getting a lot of attention these days is applied psychology, including industrial-organizational psychology. I-O psychologists, as they are called, are hired by businesses to help with everything from workplace design to employee assistance programs that promote wellness and increase productivity.
Psychologist Salary by State
(Median figures shown for the BLS category for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists.)
2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for Psychologists based on state and national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2022.