Salary Outlook with PsyD Psychology Degree

Obtaining a Psy.D. doctoral degree can be a wise decision if your career goal is to work as a licensed clinical psychologist or counseling psychologist. If your primary interest is working with people who need mental health counseling, you could find that a Psy.D. is a better choice than a Ph.D., which is better suited for those who want to pursue careers in research and/or academia.

One of the major considerations when thinking about this degree is what your salary prospects are. It also is worth remembering how long it will take you to earn the degree. The years you are in school and not working is a time where you are not earning a salary.

The majority of Psy.D. programs require four or five years of full time study to complete. You also may be required to spend several hundred hours performing internship work. Another requirement may be a thesis or dissertation that takes at least a year of your doctoral program to complete. Many people who earn their Psy.D. degree also end up with substantial debt. A recent survey in Training in Education in Professional Psychology found that students with a Psy.D. had a median debt load of $160,000, while those with a Ph.D. had half of that (StudentLoanPlanner.com).

Salary Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports the median salary for all psychologists was $77,000 in May 2017. The lowest 10% earned less than $42,300, and the top 10% earned more than $124,500.

Further, BLS noted the following salaries for other types of psychologists:

  • All other psychologists: $97,400
  • Industrial and organizational psychologists: $87,100
  • Clinical, counseling and school psychologists: $75,000

In May 2017, the median wages for psychologists in various industries were as follows:

  • Government: $94,900
  • Hospitals: $83,900
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $77,000
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $74,400

It also is useful to check other salary resources for psychologists. Payscale.com reports the average psychologist salary is $74,500. (Payscale.com). That website also reported a range between $46,000 and $112,000. Payscale.com also reports the average salary for a Psy.D. holder is $77,000. (Payscale.com). For clinical psychologist, the average salary at Payscale.com is $76,300. (Payscale.com).

Indeed.com also reports the following salaries for professionals with a Psy.D. (Indeed.com):

  • Psychologist: $92,200
  • Clinical psychologist: $95,800
  • Assistant professor: $64,600
  • Mental health technician: $50,100

High Salary Growth Psychology Jobs

In recent years, there has been strong salary growth and job demand in several psychology jobs you can obtain with a Psy.D. degree:

Psychometrician

Psychometricians develop tests related to intelligence, personality, mental and emotional health and other attributes and analyze and report findings. The specific types of tests developed will depend on the employer, but they could include assessments used to determine academic qualifications or employment.

These individuals generally work as consultants, though they may find employment at large organizations, such as government or military agencies.

Salary range: $75,000-$140,000

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors are generalists who work with a wide variety of clients, developing mental health treatment plans and working with their clients to improve their mental health and behavior. These individuals will have a broad background in common mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression. Where necessary, they may work with or refer patients to more specialized services.

Mental health counselors are most often employed in private practice, though work in schools and hospitals is also quite common.

Salary range: $40,000-$80,000

Addiction Specialist

Addiction specialists work directly with clients and patients suffering from addiction to alcohol, drugs or sex. They often will coordinate with other care providers, particularly in the case of acute addictions in which patients may be experiencing physical pain. Addiction specialists also usually will work closely with patients’ families to alter behavior patterns that might make bad outcomes, such as relapse, more common.

Addiction specialists most often work in mental health and treatment facilities, though they often are employed by hospitals and other healthcare facilities, as well as inside the legal system, particularly jails and prisons.

Salary range: $40,000-$80,000

Social Worker

Social workers counsel families, groups and individuals, often specializing in a particular area of behavioral or mental health. Social workers often consult with various other care providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for their clients.

They are most frequently employed by state and local governments, though they also work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, as well as community and advocacy agencies.

Salary range: $45,000-$100,000

Psychologist Reviewer

Psychologist reviewers work within organizations or as independent consultants to ensure facility practices and outcomes are acceptable. They will analyze and review practitioners and provide recommendations and education on best practices, whether generally or related to specific cases.

These individuals are often employed in mental health facilities or work regularly with them as consultants.
Salary range: $60,000-$90,000

Teen Therapist

Teen therapists work with children and young adults between 12 and 18 to resolve emotional and mental health issues. Depending on the setting, teen therapists could help treat young people for addiction, physical, mental or sexual abuse, self-harm disorders or other anxiety problems. Given the nature of the patients, teen therapists often will facilitate group or family therapy.

These individuals work in mental health facilities, schools, hospitals and in private practice.

Salary range: $75,000-$135,000

Telehealth Counselor

Telehealth counselors use technology, including email, video chat, text messaging and apps, to conduct counseling and therapy sessions with patients or clients. Specific areas will depend on the counselor’s expertise, but these could include couples counseling, family therapy or group sessions.

Counselors interested in telehealth will see lots of opportunities with several private companies in the telehealth space and more joining all the time.

Salary range: $45,000-$80,000

Couples Therapist

Couples therapists work with married and partnered couples to better manage conflict and dissatisfaction in their relationship. In working with more than one patient, couples therapists must understand the psychology of each person and how their emotions impact their partner and relationship.

These individuals most often work in private practice, though they are also employed at mental health facilities.

Salary range: $50,000-$80,000

Autism Care Advocate

Autism care advocates work directly with individuals who have autism, usually adults, assessing their mental states and helping connect them to appropriate services and working with other providers to develop and implement behavior therapy plans.

These advocates generally work in community agency facilities or long-term residential care facilities.

Salary range: $30,000-$60,000

Behavioral Scientist

Behavioral scientists work in research and other non-clinical settings to measure and predict human behavior. These behavioral specialists work to develop deep understanding of a target audience in order to understand why they make the decisions they do and, depending on organizational goals, make recommendations about how to change their behavior or ways the organization can capitalize on the behavior.

These individuals are often employed in military and government agencies, though private business, particularly those involved in developing consumer goods and services, also are major employers.

Salary range: $75,000-$150,000

CBT Counselor

CBT counselors provide cognitive behavioral therapy, often over the course of several years, to alter ingrained behavior in individuals with mental health disorders, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. In cases of patients with debilitating conditions, CBT counselors may be expected to interface with other care providers.

These individuals most often work in private practice, though mental health professionals with experience in managing CBT therapy could also be employed at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. One of CBT’s biggest growth areas is in online therapy.

Salary range: $40,000-$70,000

Clinic Director

Clinic directors manage and oversee all mental health services offered within their organizations, including managing staff and hiring and directing all aspects of patient or client services. Depending on the clinic’s size, these individuals may also work directly with patients, but at large organizations, they work primarily in management.

These individuals work mostly in mental health facilities, including residential and non-residential, though they are also employed in community and advocacy agencies.

Salary range: $50,000-$100,000

Psychology Consultant

Psychology consultants, depending on their area of focus, provide mental health assessments and advice on a large scale, such as within large business or government organizations. They conduct research and make recommendations on developing programs within the organization to solve goals related to mental health within the organization.

They work most often as independent consultants, though could be employed by consultancy agencies.

Salary range: $85,000-$120,000

Faculty & Staff Counselor

Faculty and staff counselors work within organizations, often healthcare organizations, to provide mental health and emotional counseling of staff members, often including facilitating group therapy. They also provide recommendation and coaching in preventive health care practices.

These individuals generally work in large-scale settings, such as major hospital networks or law enforcement agencies.

Salary range: $50,000-$75,000

Behavior Analyst

Behavior analysts assess the behavior of individuals with emotional disabilities, frequently working with those who have autism, and develop and implement plans to improve the behavior over time. They will conduct regular assessments and work directly with individuals, as well as their families.

These individuals often work in educational settings, as well as community-based agencies or residential care facilities. They also often are employed by hospitals, and some work in private practice.

Salary range: $70,000-$125,000

Sleep Counselor

Sleep counselors work directly with patients and specialize in diagnosing and treating sleep disturbances and, often, underlying psychological trauma or disorders. Sleep counselors usually will work closely with their patients’ other providers, such as respiratory therapists, neurologists and other healthcare professionals.

Sleep counselors will find the most opportunity working in sleep centers, but they also may find employment in hospitals or private practice.

Salary range: $50,000-$100,000

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists work within the criminal justice system, helping to assess the mental state of criminal suspects and their ability to stand trial for the crimes for which they’re accused. They often will be expected to testify at criminal trials. Some forensic psychologists work in family court, providing testimony and perspective on children’s mental states.

These individuals may be employed by state and local governments, though they also can be employed at hospitals, forensic labs or police departments, and many are independent consultants.

Salary range: $75,000-$100,000

Conclusion

With public acceptance growing surrounding mental health, those with psychology degrees are likely to find diverse and plentiful job opportunities for years to come.

Psychologist Salary by State

References

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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.