Psychologists: Salary Overview
Psychologists observe, interpret, and record how people interact with other people and the environment in order to study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviors.
Their aim is to help people understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
In order to gather the information they need for their research, psychologists perform controlled laboratory experiments, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for psychologists was $80,370 in May 2019 which means that half the workers in this profession earned more than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary based on a wide range of factors, including the psychologist’s area of expertise and level of experience, the industry of employment, and the region.
The numbers published by BLS show that the lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,380 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $132,070 a year.
Psychologist Salary by Specialty
According to the report published by BLS, the median annual wage for industrial-organizational psychologists was $92,880 a year.
Psychologists who specialize in industrial-organizational psychology apply psychological principles and research methods to solve problems that may arise at the workplace.
They typically study problems such as worker’s productivity, employee morale, and working styles.
The median annual wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $78,200 a year.
Counseling psychologists work with patients to help them understand and manage problems that may appear at the workplace, at home, or in other circumstances.
Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
In some states, they are also allowed to prescribe medication while in others they consult with other healthcare professionals about the treatment that is best suited for their patients.
School psychologists apply psychological principles to help students with education disorders and developmental issues.
The median annual wage for psychologists who have another specialization is $101,790.
This category may include developmental psychologists, forensic psychologists, and rehabilitation psychologists.
Developmental psychologists typically focus on children and adolescents but they may also work with the elderly.
They study the psychological development that takes place throughout life.
Forensic psychologists help judges, attorneys, and other professionals in the legal and criminal justice system understand the psychological aspects connected to a particular case.
Rehabilitation psychologists work with people who are physically or developmentally disabled and help improve their quality of life.
Psychologist Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists held about 181,700 jobs in the United States in 2018.
Almost 29 percent of them were self-employed workers; most employed psychologists worked for elementary and secondary schools, ambulatory healthcare services, the government, or hospitals.
Psychologists who work for the government earned a median annual wage of $96,870 while those who worked for hospitals earned around $88,480.
The industry of ambulatory healthcare services paid psychologists, on average, with $82,250 a year.
The median annual wage was $76,960 for psychologists who worked for elementary and secondary schools.
Psychologists earned a higher than average annual wage in the field of child daycare services- a sector that employed only 180 psychologists and paid them on average, with $120,130 per year, which is higher than the median for this profession.
To qualify for a position in this field you will need a special qualification in school psychology or a related field and several years of experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment for psychologists is expected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028 but job opportunities may vary by specialty and occupation.
Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is expected to grow because their services are in-demand in schools, hospitals, social services agencies, and mental health centers.
Organizations will also need to hire industrial-organizational psychologists to help improve office morale and increase the productivity of employees.
Competition may be strong in some areas and candidates who hold a doctoral degree or another special qualification may have better job prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Psychologists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.