Psychology Salary

How much do professional psychologists make?

The various psychological professions vary greatly in what they pay professionals in their field, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), yearly income can range from $40,000 or less for the lowest 10 percent of earners to $120,000 or higher for the highest 10 percent. Of course, specialty area, education level, experience and even leadership roles can affect pay. Learn more about psychology schools.

For example, May 2014 BLS data shows that psychologists engaged in organizational and industrial work earned mean wages of $90,070. Psychologists working as school counselors earned an average wage of $74,030 as of May 2014. However, psychologists across the board in a variety of fields earned mean annual wages of $89,810, according to the BLS. In fact, this is higher than the mean annual wages for all occupations combined across the U.S. -- $47,230 as of May 2014.

How can a career in psychology be personally rewarding?

The psychologists we talked to described being rewarded by the deep satisfaction that comes from helping people overcome their psychological problems to become both functional and happy. Psychological disturbances can be so debilitating and life affecting that overcoming these can often mean a completely new reality free of fear, anxiety, depression and self-loathing. Being instrumental in this kind of revolutionary change is what draws people to practice psychology.

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Psychologist, in most cases, can expect to earn a comfortable living. Operating a private practice is often most lucrative and allows the freedom to work from home at chosen hours.

What are the character traits of a good counseling psychologist?

Effective psychologists are drawn to psychology more as a personal calling than strictly a vocational profession. Psychology in practice is almost as much an art as it is a science, and it requires the talents of individuals who are motivated by the purest intentions. This assures they will be effective in their role as a therapist. To be a good psychologist, a person must have the ability to be deeply empathetic to the distress of others.

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Psychologists bear an enormous responsibility in the handling of individuals who are in a compromised emotional state. The nature of the deeply personal discourse between psychologist and client requires psychologists to be extremely trustworthy. They must bring an uncompromised level of integrity to their practice and be willing to hold to the highest ethical standards. It is said that a good therapist causes no harm, while a great therapist may do some good.

Is psychology in high demand?

The job outlook for psychologists is expected to see a 12 percent growth between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS. This could potentially result in 18,700 new positions becoming available across the country during this time. However, demand for industrial-organizational psychologists is expected to be the strongest with job growth at 53 percent, much faster than average, over the decade. Positions for school psychologists are expected to increase by 12 percent over the decade, as well, due to the need for the increasing mental health services required within schools.

Is there room for advancement?

The BLS reports that individuals who have a doctoral or specialist degree or those with post-doctoral work experience will have some of the best opportunities in the industry. Job availability and advancement can also vary by specialty. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to be in high demand, so it may easier to find a position or advance in this field compared to other areas of psychology. However, the BLS does note that industrial-organizational psychologists with training in computer science or quantitative research methods could have some of the best advantages. Additionally, school psychologists could find room for advancement given the need for their services and the relationship that exists between learning and mental health.


  1. Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm
  2. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193032.htm
  3. National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
  4. Psychologists, All Others. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm
  5. Psychologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-6

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