Salary Outlook with PhD in Behavior Psychology Degree

Getting your Ph.D. in Behavior Psychology can be a wise career move if you want to work as a licensed behavioral psychologist, or in behavioral psychology research. Many professionals who earn their Ph.D. in this field may have a stronger interest in being employed as a professor in a department of psychology, or at a research facility. But you also can be employed as a psychologist in a practice with this Ph.D.

Earning your Ph.D. in behavioral psychology is a serious prospect. It takes plenty of time and money. Will you find it worth it? To make the decision, it is important to note what your salary could be when you complete the Ph.D. program.

Also, remember the time commitment to getting your Ph.D. in behavior psychology is quite daunting. You will spend four to six years of full-time study to complete the Ph.D. program. Also, you probably must complete a dissertation that is a contribution to original behavioral psychology in the field. That project by itself can take a full year to complete. Also note that obtaining your Ph.D. in psychology can leave you with debt up to $120,000, according to some estimates. (

Salary Outlook Behavior Psychology

According to, the average behavioral psychologist’s salary is $70,900, with a range between $49,000 and $123,000. ( Payscale also reports a Ph.D. in psychology offers an average salary of $86,000, with a range between $58,000 and $127,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states the median salary for all psychologists in 2018 was $79,010. The top 10% earned more than $129,000. ( Also, BLS data showed these salaries for other psychologists:

  • All other psychologists: $100,770
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists: $97,260
  • Clinical, counseling and school psychologists: $76,900

Wages for all psychologists in popular industries were:

  • Government: $96,410
  • Hospital: state, local and private: $86,500
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
  • Elementary and secondary schools: state, local and private: $75,800

Many students earning their Ph.D. in behavior psychology want to become a professor or secondary teacher, so it is a good idea to study what BLS has to say about professor salaries.

The median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $78,470 in 2018. The top 10% earned more than $175,000. BLS also found that psychology professors earned a median salary of $76,710.

Annual wages for postsecondary teachers in top industries were:

  • Junior colleges: $83,530
  • State colleges: $81,100
  • Private colleges: $78,500
  • State junior colleges: $56,900

Salary Growth in Ph.D. in Psychology Jobs

If you want to earn a higher salary with your Ph.D. in behavior psychology, the best choice is to become a psychiatrist, which also requires an MD. BLS reports the annual salary for a psychiatrist is currently $220,380. There are now 27,500 professionals working as psychiatrists as of 2018. (

Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology Job Outlook

Getting your Ph.D. in this field should result in many solid job opportunities. It is expected job demand in the psychology field will grow by 14% through 2026. Employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists also is poised to grow 14%. It is expected that more demand for psychological services in schools, mental health centers, social service agencies and hospitals will improve employment growth. (

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists should grow as older Americans are turning to psychologists to deal with their family and life problems. Psychologists are needed more today to deal with the problems of an older population. More psychological services are needed for war veterans battling PTSD.

Job demand also should be affected by the need for more postsecondary teachers. BLS reports job demand in the postsecondary teacher field will rise by a solid 15% by 2026. (

More Americans are attending postsecondary institutions and this will increase in the next 10 years. Students need higher education to qualify for higher-paying jobs. It is expected more colleges will hire part-time teachers to meet the greater demand. There will be fewer full-time teaching positions available.

Featured Online Ph.D. in Behavior Psychology Programs

Students interested in a behavior psychology career and want to earn their degree online may consider Capella University’s Ph.D. Psychology and Behavior Analysis. (

When you earn this online, accredited degree, you will have the skills and knowledge to be a psychological research leader in applied behavior analysis. (ABA). You will be able to work with your patients to overcome their psychological problems and to better their lives.

The coursework, which includes seven core classes and a dissertation, helps you to obtain the necessary knowledge of ABA foundations so that you can perform vital basic and applied research. You will be ready to enjoy a career as a leader, postsecondary teacher or researcher in behavioral psychology.

Courses include:

  • Single Subject Research Design Methods
  • Behaviorism
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • Organizational Behavior Management
  • Education and Teaching in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology
  • Qualitative Designs and Analysis
  • Advanced Inferential Statistics
  • Learning Theories in Psychology


Earning a Ph.D. in behavior psychology is a solid choice of career for professionals who want to work in clinical practice, research or academia. There will be many job possibilities in the health care and academic fields where you can earn a good salary for many years to come. This Ph.D. is an especially good fit for the professional who wants to be employed in research or academia.