How Much Do Developmental Psychologists Make?

Studying developmental psychology is vital to understand how people mature. Developmental psychologists study how human beings grow and adapt to different stages of life. They perform psychological research to help people in all age groups to reach their top potential.

Many developmental psychologists focus on children and adolescents in private practice. Some also study aging and the many problems that older adults have in their 50s, 60s, and beyond.

For instance, a baby who is not able to walk by 15 months could have a developmental delay or a more severe health problem. A developmental psychologist can work with the parents and physicians to better understand the problem and treat any related health or psychological issues. With early intervention, the developmental psychologist can get the child back on track for healthy growth and development.

To have a career in developmental psychology, it is generally necessary to earn a doctoral degree. If you choose to earn this prestigious degree, it is critical to understand your salary potential. It can take at least four or five years to earn a Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Is it worth it?

Developmental Psychologist Salary Information

Below is detailed salary information for this profession so you can make an informed decision.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

This Department of Labor division reports the median salary for all psychologists was $79,000 in 2019. Professionals in the top 10% with the most education and experience may earn a wage as high as $129,000 per year. BLS further reports that all other psychologists earn a salary of $100,700. (

Salaries for psychologists can vary by industry, as well:

  • Government: $96,200
  • State, local and private hospitals: $86,500
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $75,400

With a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, you may also want to pursue a career as a college professor. BLS reports the median salary for all postsecondary teachers was $78,400 in 2018. Psychology professors earned $76,700. (

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According to, a holder of a doctorate in developmental psychology earns an average salary of $63,000. ( Also, the average salary for psychology research and development is $51,000.

Clinical psychologists earn an average salary of $77,500, with a range between $49,000 and $111,000. ( Also, the salary that you can earn in this field varies by the city in which you work:

  • Washington DC: +9%
  • New York City: +2%
  • Boston: +1%
  • San Diego: -2%
  • Chicago: -5%
  • Los Angeles: -6%
  • San Francisco: -20%

This website reports the average national salary for developmental psychologists is $71,900, with a range between $18,000 and $155,000. Most developmental psychologists earn a wage between $32,000 and $98,000. (

The American Psychological Association reports the salary for developmental psychologists ranges from $69,000 to $91,000. The highest earners can make more than $100,000 annually. (

This website reports the average base pay for developmental psychologists is $78,400 per year. (

Job Outlook For Developmental Psychologists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that psychology jobs will increase by 14% through 2028, which is much faster than average. The employment of psychologists should increase as there is a higher demand for mental health services in hospitals, schools, mental health services, and social service agencies. People are living longer and healthier lives than ever, so more people want to have their mental health problems treated so they can enjoy life. (

BLS also reports overall employment for postsecondary teachers will grow by 11% through 2028, faster than average. Experts believe more students will attend college in the next decade to enhance their job skills in a competitive marketplace.

SEE ALSO: Online Doctorate in Developmental Psychology Programs

Also, with higher demand for psychological services, more students will pursue college degrees in psychology. This influx of students will cause a greater need for professors of psychology. (

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With a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, it is possible to earn a starting salary of $60,000 or $70,000 per year. With enough experience, this wage can rise to well above $100,000. Developmental psychologists who desire maximum earning power may consider working in private practice with individual patients.

Also, federal agencies tend to be among the best-paying in the psychological field. Getting one’s foot in the door in the US government is difficult, but once you have established yourself in civil service, it can be a very lucrative career.

If your interest is to work in academia or research, you can make a salary of $70,000 or $80,000 as a college professor. However, full-time, tenured college professorships are highly competitive. Many Ph.D.s in psychology who teach in universities may hold two or more part-time teaching positions to earn as much money as possible.