Doctorate of Psychology Salary Outlook

Earning your Psy.D. degree is a smart decision if you want to be a practicing psychologist. If you are mostly interested in working with patients who need mental health services, you may find that a Psy.D. is a better fit for you than a Ph.D., which is more of a research-focused degree.

When you are thinking about the salary and career prospects for a Psy.D. degree, you also need to keep in mind the amount of time that you are going to have to dedicate to earning this doctoral degree.

Most Psy.D. programs will take four to five years of full time study to finish. You may have to write and defend a lengthy thesis, and you will probably have to do an unpaid internship of at least one year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for psychologists in 2010 was $74,030. The lower 10%, typically those with a master’s degree, earned $39,200, and the top 10% earned over $110,000 per year. The vast majority of the highest paid psychologists have more than five years of experience and hold either a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

BLS also notes the following median wages for various types of psychologists in 2010:

  • $87,300 for industrial-organizational psychologists

  • $66,800 for clinical, counseling and school psychologists

  • $89,000 for all other types of psychologists

BLS states that about 50% of psychologists earn between $48,000 and $82,000. Some of the typical salaries that are seen in different areas of employment for doctoral degree holders include:

  • Outpatient care: $59,000

  • Family and individual services: $57,000

  • Elementary and secondary schools: $65,000

  • Health care practitioner offices: $68,000

  • State governments: $63,000

Those interested in a doctoral degree in psychology should know that industrial-organizational psychology is a quickly-growing area of the field, with a 26% increase in demand expected by 2020. The median wage in this field was $77,000 in 2010, and it is believed that the top 10% earned over $148,000.

Below are some more typical salaries with a doctoral degree in this field:

  • Cognitive psychologist: $55,000

  • Developmental psychologist: $56,000

  • Engineering psychologist: $79,000

  • Experimental psychologist: $56,600

  • Sports psychologist: $54,200

PsyD Job Outlook

Professionals who want to work in clinical psychology with a Psy.D. degree can enjoy not just a high salary. They also can enjoy strong job growth. According to BLS, overall employment in this field will grow by an impressive 22% by 2020. This is faster than average when compared to other professions.

Employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists specifically will grow around 20% by 2020 as well. There will be a strong, growing demand for more psychological services in hospitals, schools, mental health centers and social service agencies.

This growth is going to occur alongside the general growth in demand for health care services. This is a result of the aging population and many people living longer, more productive lives. There is more demand for psychologists with a doctoral degree because there is more demand for teams of doctors, social workers and all other types of health care professionals, and they are needed to work in collaborative teams.

It is expected that the employment of school psychologists with master’s and doctoral degrees to rise as the number of children in public schools increase.

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