The 9 Highest Paying Psychology Careers

The highest paying psychology careers
 Verywell / JR Bee 

There is tremendous diversity among psychology professions, and salaries and yearling earning are just as varied. In a struggling economy, many students have turned their interest toward some of the highest paying careers in psychology. The highest paying psychologist career salaries average up to $167,000.

While there are a number of careers that have a higher than average yearly salary, it is important to remember that actual income depends upon a variety of factors including geographic location, sector of employment, educational background, and years of experience.

Learn more about some of the highest paying psychology careers, the typical salaries for such professions, and the educational requirements for entering these fields.



Average Salary: $216,090 per year

Educational Requirements: Considered a medical career, psychiatry is significantly tied to the study and application of psychology. Approximately eight years of post-undergraduate study. After earning a bachelor's degree, aspiring psychiatrists must graduate from medical school and then complete a four-year residency.

Psychiatry is one of the highest paying fields tied to psychology. However, salaries can vary considerably within this field depending upon your specialty area, where you are employed, and the type of work you perform.


Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Average Salary: $102,530

Educational Requirements: In most cases, a master's degree in psychology is the minimum training required, although having a doctorate degree may be to your advantage. While there are opportunities available at the master's degree level, earning a doctorate degree in industrial-organizational psychology offers greater opportunities and higher salaries.

Industrial-organizational psychologists use their knowledge of psychology to tackle workplace issues. Increasing worker productivity, selecting the best employees for particular jobs, and developing market research surveys are just a few of the things that an industrial-organizational psychologist might do.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that I/O psychologists employed in the scientific research and development industry earned an average annual wage of $149,780. Those employed at colleges, universities, and professional schools earned an average of $70,360.

The typical starting salary for a master's degree graduate is around $40,000. Meanwhile, the starting salary for a doctoral graduate is approximately $55,000.

According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the top 5% of their members earn in excess of $250,000 a year.



Average Salary: $90,460 per year

Educational Requirements: A doctorate degree in neuropsychology or clinical neuropsychology is needed to work in this field.

Neuropsychologists specialize in the study of the brain and cognitive science. People who work in this field often perform cognitive tests, run brain scans, assess people suffering from brain injury, and study how drugs impact the nervous system. They may work at colleges and universities, hospitals, research centers, mental health clinics, and pharmaceutical labs.


Clinical Psychologist

Average Salary: $81,330 per year

Educational Requirements: In most states, clinical psychologists must have a doctorate degree in psychology. In addition to this education, they must also complete one to two years of supervised residency and pass state licensing exams in order to practice as a licensed clinical psychologist.

Clinical psychologists are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. This is also the largest area of employment within psychology. Clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practice.

Experience has a major impact on salaries. For example, in 2009 clinicians with five years of experience earned an average of $54,000 while those with 10 to 14 years of experience averaged nearly $100,000 a year.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that in May 2017, those employed in individual and family services earned an average of $81,160. Those employed in the offices of other health practitioners earned an average of $92,130 per year.


Engineering Psychologist

Average Salary: $79,818 per year

Educational Requirements: Entry-level positions require a master's degree, but those with a doctorate will find greater employment opportunities and better salaries.

Engineering psychologists work to improve the design of systems, operations, and equipment in order to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and minimize injury. As with other specialty areas of psychology, the area of employment plays a major role in determining salary. Engineering psychologists who work in the private sector earn considerably more than those employed in university settings.


Counseling Psychologist

Average Salary: $72,540 per year

Educational Requirements: A Ph.D., PsyD, or Ed.D. degree is required to become a counseling psychologist.

Counseling psychologists perform many of the same tasks as clinical psychologists such as offering psychotherapy and mental health treatment, but they typically work with clients suffering from less severe forms of mental illness.

While mental health is one of the largest areas within counseling psychology, some people in this field opt to conduct research. They also teach university courses or provide vocational counseling.


Forensic Psychologist

Average Salary: $59,440

Educational Requirements: While there are some jobs available with a master's degree, you will typically need a doctorate degree in clinical, counseling, or forensic psychology.

Forensic psychologists deal with psychological issues related to the law. Some of the duties that a professional in this field might perform include developing psychological profiles of criminals, dealing with child custody issues, investigating child abuse, providing expert testimony, preparing witnesses to testify in court, and offering training to law enforcement.


School Psychologist

Average Salary: $58,360

Educational Requirements: Most states require the completion of a 60-credit school psychology specialist program, which leads to a master's or EdS degree. Approximately 32 percent of school psychologists hold a Ph.D., PsyD, or EdD degree.

School psychologists work within the educational system to diagnose and treat behavior and learning problems in children. They often work in collaboration with other professionals, including teachers and doctors as well as parents to help kids overcome social, emotional, behavioral, and academic problems.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs in this field are expected to grow by approximately 11 percent over the next decade.


Sports Psychologist

Average Salary: $55,000 per year

Educational Requirements: Most jobs require a master's or doctorate degree in sports psychology or in related areas such as clinical or counseling psychology. Sports psychologists are interested in the psychological components of sports and athletics.

Professionals in this field often focus on topics such as motivation and athletic performance. They utlizie their knowledge of psychology to help athletes perform better or to help people recover from sports injuries.

While salaries for sports psychologists typically range between $45,000 and $80,000, those working with professional athletes often earn over six figures.

A Word From Verywell

Choosing a career is a big decision and the salary is just one of many factors that you need to consider. Money is obviously an important component, but factors such as job outlook and quality of life are also essential.

Think about how a particular career may suit your personality and goals in life before committing. In the end, the best job for you is the one that you will enjoy the most and that fulfills your personal and professional needs.

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9 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook.