11 Best Careers with a PsyD in Psychology Degree

For those interested in the PsyD degree, there are many career paths that can lead to highly lucrative income. As in any industry, a lot of times the pay level a person gets is highly dependent on the geographic area that person will be working in.

For those in markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc,. there will be a higher salary because the area around a big city traditionally has a higher cost of living. In compiling this list of the 11 Most Lucrative Career Paths with a PsyD Degree, the salaries listed will be made up of average salaries as stated by the PsyD salary section of careerbuilder.com.  Using these figures, a person can figure the salary up or down depending on the kind of market they live and work in.

Also within the field of psychology the job outlook for that career as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is calculated at +22%, expecting a high level of growth in employment opportunity for the industry through 2020.

Of all of the types of career paths available to PsyD degree holders, it is important to acknowledge the likely most lucrative career path taken by a doctoral psychology degree holder. That is Dr. Phil McGraw from the Dr Phil show. By creating a television personality out of his practice of psychology, he makes approximately $80 million each year. This is a rare incidence and should not be considered a road map to that kind of income, but has definitely created a career path that qualifies as “lucrative” to say the least.

In addition to Dr Phil, there are 11 other lucrative career paths that can be taken by those with PsyD degrees. The average salaries will vary, but the best estimates of salary will be included.

The listing is as follows:

#1 Private Practice Psychologist ($150,000)

These practicing psychologist are often considered the highest paid of the professional psychologists. They often have years of establishing their practice of seeing clients in an evaluative setting where things are not quite so lucrative, but when they can get clientele established and generate enough business, they enjoy a high salary.

#2 Engineering Psychologist ($108,000)

These highly paid professionals are challenged to study how man and machine interact in our daily lives. These people work, normally in the private sector, and aim to maximize efficiency and profitability for companies, while also eliminating safety concerns.

For other situations, they are challenged to find ways to make the products we use in our normal lives much easier to operate. These improved products can be aided by simpler procedures, simpler instructions, or streamlined processes.

#3 Industrial Psychologist ($103,000)

The main function of this profession is very similar to the goals of an engineering psychologist, except the evaluations are done on products and processes within the workplace. The main goal is to make the operational framework as clean and simple as possible. Any elements of the production process that involve unnecessary steps or duplication should be improved.

All obstacles to quick and exact completion of the flow of goods then gets studied and broken down into distinct sectors, and looked into more closely for changes that can be made to improve efficiency or remove safety hazards.

#4 Administrative Hospital Psychologist ($95,000)

This would be a position that involves an experienced psychologist that has worked up through the organization and has obtained an administrative role among the other psychologists practicing there. These people often function more like managers of other psychologists, and in larger facilities, see very few patients.

#5 Neuropsychologist ($91,000)

The study of the functioning of the various parts of the brain is the essential science behind neuropsychology. These professionals use that study and research information in order to create better and more effective treatments for their patients.

Getting more familiar and more information on these types of processes can also create areas of specialization that generate interests in future research projects.

#6 Forensic Psychologist  ($85,000)

This field and this position combine the fast paced environment of crimes and the law with the science of psychology. These people are involved with assessment and treatment of criminals, and various aspects of criminal investigations. They can work with the courts in the justice systems for both civil and criminal matters.

Their work does deal with some people and situations that would be uncomfortable for some people, and the increased salary reflects that additional pressure.

#7 Correctional Facility Psychologist ($85,000)

People working these positions are responsible for managing the treatment of inmates at an institution. They will participate in training, motivation, addressing mental concerns, and treating various behavioral disorders.

As with forensic psychologists, the correctional facility psychologists enjoy an increased relative income as a result of the people and location that they work with. Some psychologists would be uncomfortable working in a prison or penitentiary or with being in a room with individuals convicted of all kinds of crimes.

#8 Military Psychologist ($80,000)

The life of military men and women leaves many opportunities for emotional and physical trauma, in addition to any issues they may have been suffering from before enlisting in the armed forces.

Both the actual military people and their families have many facets to their complications that are relatively specific to the armed forces.

Those interested in working in these capacities often find specializations in PTSD and trauma as most helpful to dealing with the variety of topics that come up repeatedly with these patients.

#9 Clinical Psychologist ($80,000)

This is considered one of the most popular branches of psychology. Their primary interest is in the assessing of behavioral issues and then devising treatment plans that can work through the problems associated with mental illness or other issues.

Due to the close relationship needed to make real change for the clients, there is normally a high level of stress and conflict. For people that can handle these kinds of situations and environments, this is a popular choice.

#10 Counseling Psychologist ($73,000)

The practice of counseling psychology involves the ability of individuals to live their entire life span with a constant focus on increasing their positive functioning in their lives. The ability to deal with stress and find ways of resolving issues is the best way to accomplish that.

These professionals use psychological studies and research. In cases where their patients are dealing with specific complications, their care may need to be more continuous, but for the most part treatment is in accord with them living their life traditionally and independently.

#11 School Psychologist ($70,000)

Working in the schools provides many opportunities to become involved with particular students and the issues they are facing. These professionals are challenged to monitor child performance and look for signs that parts of their development is needing assistance. They may assess their need to special education services, they may suspect problems at home, they may hear of social problems with other kids in the school.

All of these examples are things that a school psychologist would get involved in to improve the children’s development and progression towards education at the next level.

SEE ALSO: 5+ Online PsyD Programs Accredited


The preceding list of 11 lucrative career paths in psychology gives an estimate of the annual average salary of people employed in those positions. Each position includes a brief description of the tasks they are responsible to carry out, as well as conditions and exceptions to the work that goes on there.



Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.


Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.