Salary Outlook Ph.D vs Psy.D. in School Psychology
Thanks to our society’s growing understanding of the connection between emotional health and learning outcomes, individuals with a background and education in school psychology are finding more plentiful jobs with higher-level salaries.
School psychologists (along with clinical and counseling psychologists) are looking at a very healthy job market, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 14 percent growth through 2026 and median annual wages more than twice the national median ($75,090 vs. $37,690).
For those with a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in school psychology, the employment outlook, including for wages and salary, is very bright indeed. Let’s take a look at what school psychology degree-holders can expect to make, which areas are the country are the most lucrative and what specific jobs in the field pay the best.
School Psychology Salaries
There are a couple of ways federal data classifies psychologists and counselors working within schools, and the distinction is based largely on their degree. For individuals with doctorates, such as a PsyD degree, expected salaries are much higher than for those with job titles like “school counselor,” though it’s possible an individual with a PsyD degree could have a job with that title.
But because of that distinction, school psychologists are classified on the federal level in a group with clinical and counseling psychologists thanks to the need for all three to have a doctorate to be considering for licensure in each state. Conversely, school counselors are grouped with career counselors because they need a master’s degree rather than a doctorate, along with state-level certifications specific to where they hope to work.
While it can’t be said that these two roles are interchangeable, they often are confused for one another, and school psychologists almost certainly will do one-on-one counseling with individual students, but school counselors, on average, make about $20,000 less per year than school psychologists.
It’s helpful when painting the national picture of the school psychology job market to consider statistics on both jobs, since the employment outlook is similar for both, and within some institutions, there may be overlap in their job duties.
Among psychologists, school psychologists have some of the lowest median salaries, though they still are far above the national median of just over $37,000.
Median annual wage by occupation*
School psychologists $75,090
Social scientists $76,970
Industrial-organizational psychologists $87,100
Other psychologists $97,740
States by average annual income*
New Jersey $97,790
New York $91,180
District of Columbia $85,310
North Dakota $84,300
* School, clinical and counseling psychologists
Nearly half of school counselors are employed at the elementary and secondary level, and they make higher wages than other counselors or social workers.
Median wage by occupation
Counselors, social workers, social service specialists $43,860
School and career counselors $55,410
States by average annual income **
New Jersey $72,190
New York $67,100
District of Columbia $65,820
** Educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors
Where the Jobs Are
While we’ve seen which states have the highest average salaries for school psychologists and school counselors, where you live may determine the availability of jobs where you can best use your education. For those investing in a PsyD in school psychology, it can be instructive to know which areas have the highest rates of job openings they could fill.
States by location quotient ***
New Mexico 1.89
Rhode Island 1.85
New York 1.63
Metro areas by location quotient ***
Hanford, California 4.62
Vallejo, California 3.29
La Crosse, Wisconsin 3.15
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 2.95
Boulder, Colorado 2.82
San Luis Obispo, California 2.71
Mankato, Minnesota 2.59
Ithaca, New York 2.56
Las Cruces, New Mexico 2.52
Fresno, California 2.51
States by location quotient ***
New York 1.28
District of Columbia 1.23
Rhode Island 1.23
Metro areas by location quotient ***
Ithaca, New York 4.98
Columbia, Missouri 3.40
Athens, Georgia 3.29
College Station, Texas 2.89
Auburn, Alabama 2.87
Flagstaff, Arizona 2.86
Corvallis, Oregon 2.52
Carbondale, Illinois 2.40
Lafayette, Indiana 2.39
Provo, Utah 2.15
*** Location quotient is based on an area’s rate of jobs relative to the national median; a number under 1 means the area has a lower concentration of jobs than the national median.
Salary Outlook for Jobs in School Psychology
Jobs in school psychology extend beyond school psychologist or counselor, and a PsyD in school psychology can be applied to jobs across a huge range of industries, both inside and outside the educational sphere, though individuals with degrees in school psychology will likely be most attracted to jobs related in some way to education or young people.
Here are some of the highest-paying psychology jobs you can get with a school psychology PsyD:
- Behavioral Scientist: $75,000-$150,000
- Learning Design Manager: $60,000-$130,000
- Psychometrician: $75,000-$140,000
- School Counselor: $70,000-$110,000
- Grief Counselor: $50,000-$60,000
- Mental Health Counselor: $40,000-$80,000
- Adolescent Therapist: $75,000-$135,000
- Psychological Consultant: $85,000-$120,000
- Applied Social Scientist: $100,000-$175,000
- Assessment Psychologist: $75,000-$125,000
- Leadership Counselor: $60,000-$130,000
- Military Readjustment Counselor: $80,000-$110,000
A school psychologist is more than just the person who helps you sign up for the SATs (though they might do that, too). Because learning and education are such crucial parts of development into a well-rounded individual, it’s necessary to ensure that while students’ minds are being expanded and they’re taking in new information, that educational institutions are also considering their emotional well-being and their long-term mental fitness.
For those with a School Psychology PsyD, there’s never been a better time to look for a new job or start your career.
- All information about job openings, job growth, state- and city-level income and state income growth came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s a look at where you can explore the data for yourself. (Note, in some cases, you will need to create a custom table using this tool). Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm; School counselors: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm
- Information on specific job openings available and their salary ranges was gathered from Indeed and Glassdoor in late February 2019.
- Highest Paying Psychology Careers in 2019. (2019). Retrieved from https://psydprograms.org/top-50-highest-paying-psychology-careers/
- How Much Do School Psychologists Make? (2020). Retrieved from https://psydprograms.org/how-much-do-school-psychologists-make/