How Much Do Geropsychologists Make?

Geropsychology is a psychology specialty that applies the methods and knowledge of psychology to helping and understanding elderly people and their families to overcome problems, maintain health, and achieve their potential during the latter part of life.

Geropsychology focuses on the diversity of experience among older Americans, the complicated ethical matters that can arise in a geriatric psychology practice, and the importance of interdisciplinary care models.

Psychologists who specialize in this field focus on the following areas of knowledge:

  • Aging and adult development, including aging-related psychological, social change, and sociocultural factors.
  • Mental health and behavioral issues in later life, including medical problems, psychopathology, neuroscience, and functional changes.
  • Neuropsychological assessment foundations, including research and theory regarding multiple assessment domains. These include cognition, mood, and decision making.
  • Foundations of consultation and intervention, such as research and theory evidence about interventions in geropsychology, prevention and health, and aging services.

Common problems that geropsychologists address are:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Changes in living abilities and decision making
  • Dealing with chronic illnesses
  • Behavioral problems such as pain and insomnia
  • Grief and loss
  • Problems with family caregiving

Students interested in this psychology specialty may be interested in the salary potential in this field. Below is detailed information.

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Salary Outlook for Geropsychologists

Several official websites provide salary information for a variety of psychology specialties. There are listed below.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median salary for all psychologists in 2019 was $80,370. It does not provide wage information for geropsychologists. However, a psychologist in this field is highly specialized and probably has a doctoral degree.

Therefore, a geropsychologist’s salary may be in the top 10% or at least $132,000 per year.

BLS also shows these median salaries for other psychologists:

  • All other psychologists: $101, 790
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists: $92,880
  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists: $78,200

BLS data also show psychologist salaries for the best-paying industries:

  • Government: $96,800
  • Hospitals: $88,480
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $82,250
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $76,900

A geropsychologist holding a Ph. D. should be able to earn a similar salary as a clinical or counseling psychologist with the same experience.

American Psychological Association

The APA does not have salary data for geropsychologists. But the website states they can expect to make similar salaries as other doctoral-level psychologists. They report these salaries:

  • Assistant psychology professors at a four-year university earn approximately $40,000 per year.
  • Government research organization psychologists earn approximately $56,700.
  • Psychologists in a private research organization earn $59,000.
  • Psychologists in a VA hospital with five to nine years of experience earn $70,200. reports the median salary for geropsychologists is $51,826, with a range between $20,000 and $122,000. The website also states that most in this field earn between $29,500 and $61,000.

This website states the average salary for a geriatric psychologist is $72,600.

Geropsychology Job Outlook

The job outlook for geropsychologists looks strong for the next decade or more. BLS states that jobs in the psychology field will increase by 14% through 2028, much faster than average.

Employment for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase because of higher demand for mental health assistance in mental health centers, hospitals, and social service agencies.

Also, elderly Americans live longer than ever and want to deal with the psychological issues that occur with aging, including anxiety, depression, grief, and loss.

The APA adds that by 2030, older Americans will account for 20% of the country’s population, compared with only 13%. People who are 65 and older are the fastest-growing part of the United States population.

Researchers think there will be a shortage of geropsychologists to handle the higher demand for services for people in this age bracket. According to the National Institute on Aging, 5,000 doctoral-level geropsychologists will be in demand by 2020 to handle the more significant baby boomers’mental health needs of baby boomers.

Further, APA notes the number of Americans with mental health disorders in 2030 is expected to be 15 million, four times what it was in 1970. Older adults also have the highest suicide rates of all age groups.

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The geropsychology field should grow in the next 10-20 years as more Americans live longer and need help with their mental health issues and the challenges of aging. Earning a doctoral degree in this specialty is likely a valuable addition to your education.