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How Much Do Public Health Psychologists Make

Public health psychology is a branch of health psychology that focuses on population health rather than individual health. A public health psychologist may target at-risk groups, such as low-income groups to prevent major health problems.

In public health psychology, you will study psychological and behavioral factors, as well as biological processes, to understand their role in disease and illness. Most public health psychologists work in research for government, universities, and nonprofit organizations. They work with statistics by collecting, analyzing and interpreting large quantities of public health data. Many also work on public health research reports and presenting the conclusions.

Public health psychologists also design and promote prevention programs for heart disease, lung cancer, and other major diseases. They also attempt to uncover the psychological factors in special populations, such as health practices in single, pregnant women, or the speed of surgical recoveries in people in lower socio-economic classes.

To become a public health psychologist, you need to earn your doctoral degree in public health psychology. This is a serious commitment of financial resources, so understanding what your potential salary could be is wise.

Below is comprehensive salary information for public health psychologists.

Public Health Psychologist Salary Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median salary information for various types of psychologists. It states the median salary for all psychologists was $79,000 in 2018, with the lowest 10% earning less than $43,800 and the top 10% earning at least $129,500. Professionals with a doctoral degree in psychology can earn over $100,000 per year with many years of work experience and licensure. (BLS.gov).

Other salary information reported by BLS:

  • All other psychologists: $100,770
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists: $97,200
  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists: $76,990

Median salaries for psychologists in major industries in May 2018 were:

  • Government: $86,410
  • State, local, and private hospitals: $86,500
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800

It also is helpful to review the salary data for health educators and community health workers. Both occupations are engaged at the community level helping people understand behaviors that promote health and wellbeing. Community health workers also provide a connection between the community and healthcare professionals.

The median salary for community healthcare workers in May 2018 was $39,500 with the top 10% earning more than $65,800 per year. The median wage for health educators was $54,200, with the top 10% earning $98,500. (BLS.gov).

APA.org

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), a health psychologist can earn a salary of $80,000 per year. But many psychologists who work in health systems or large universities earn more. The APA also notes that salaries for public health psychologists depend on the work setting, geographic location, educational background, and job experience. (APA.org).

Payscale.com

This website does not report salary information for public health psychologists. However, Payscale.com reports the average salary for a clinical health psychologist is $77,583, with a range between $49,000 and $111,000. (Payscale.com).

It also reports that clinical health psychologists earn growing salaries based on years of experience:

  • Less than one year of experience: $66,662
  • One to four years: $71,800
  • Five to nine years: $79,149
  • 10 to 19 years of experience: $90,200
  • More than 20 years of experience: $92,000

Salaries also depend on the city in which you live. Your salary can be higher or lower than the median wage of $77,583 in these locations:

  • Washington DC: +10%
  • New York City: +3%
  • Boston: +1%
  • San Diego: -3%
  • Los Angeles: -6%
  • Chicago: -6%
  • San Francisco: -20%

These salaries are reported for specific health psychologist jobs:

  • Self-employed: $118,000
  • CHE: $82,000
  • Veterans Administration: $103,000
  • Medoptions, Inc.: $84,000
  • US Air Force: $109,000
  • Kaiser Permanente: $107,000
  • Catholic Charities: $66,000
  • Nystrom and Associates: $75,000

Ziprecruiter.com

Ziprecruiter.com reports the average salary for public health psychologists is $83,600, with a range between $21,000 and $131,000. It also reports that most health psychologists earn between $55,500 and $105,500. (Ziprecruiter.com).

Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com reports salary information for clinical psychologists rather than public health psychologists. The average salary for this profession is $103,600. (Glassdoor.com).

Salary.com

According to Salary.com, a clinical health psychologist earns an average salary of $77,653, with a range between $67,500 and $87,800. Your salary range depends on your education, certifications, additional skills, and years of work experience. (Salary.com).

Job Outlook for Public Health Psychologists

Students interested in a public health psychologist career will see bright career prospects for the coming decade. BLS reports that job demand for all psychologists will rise by 14% by 2028. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. (BLS.gov).

Employment for clinical public health, counseling and school psychologists will grow because of higher demand for psychological services in public health facilities, mental health centers, schools, and social service agencies.

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as Americans want more help with their mental health problems. Public health psychologists will be needed more at the community level as public health organizations realize the need to engage in communities more to provide much needed mental health resources to the people who most need them.

Summary

As the demand for psychologists rises, jobs will increase as will salaries for all types of psychologists. There is more need today for public health psychologists to work in the community to improve the mental health of people in groups and at the individual level. With a doctoral degree in public health psychology, you can earn a salary of $80,000 or more if you have sufficient work experience.

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Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Editor-In-Chief

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.