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.
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.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in 2010 for all types of psychologists was $68,640, or $33 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. This makes it a good indicator of average salaries. The top 10th percentile of psychologist salaries includes those over $111,810, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $39,200. However, the median salary is different depending on the type of position that Masters in Psychology grads are interested in. The median salaries for these different specializations include the following:
- Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists – $66,810
- Industrial and organizational psychologists – $87,330
- All other psychologists – $89,900
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 fit into their patients’ 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 bright, with employment expected to rise at a rate of 22% until the year 2020. This is a more rapid rate of growth than other occupations, even within the healthcare industry. One of the reasons why there is such a high demand for qualified psychologists is the fact that the population is aging and facing the new challenges that this brings. 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, however, including those dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, and addiction. One of the areas with the highest rate of expected growth within the psychology field is the field of corporate psychology. Industrial-organizational psychologists can expect a growth rate of 35% in their field, because many businesses are using trained psychologists to increase their productivity. There is also less competition for these types of positions, which helps contribute to the growth rate.