What is Salary Outlook for PsyD in Psychology?

Obtaining a Psy.D. doctoral degree can be a wise decision if your career goal is to work as a licensed clinical 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:

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists use their extensive knowledge of psychology to improve complex workplace problems. Their goals are to enhance worker productivity, choose the best employees for certain jobs, and develop effective market research surveys.

The average salary for this field for those with a doctoral degree is $102,000, but it is possible for the top earners in the field to make more than $250,000 per year. (VeryWellMind.com).

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists are trained to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent mental illness. This is the biggest area of employment in the field, and is a common job goal for people with a Psy.D. Clinical psychologist work in many settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practices. Experience in the field will have a strong impact on what you earn. People with fewer than five years of experience may earn only $55,000, while those with 14 years of experience may earn $100,000 per year. (VeryWellMind.com).

There are some psychology jobs you can obtain with a Psy.D. degree that are more in demand and come with a higher salary than others.

Counseling Psychologist

A counseling psychologist performs most of the same tasks and jobs as a clinical psychologist. They may offer psychotherapy and mental health treatments. They usually, however, work with clients who suffer from less serious types of mental illness. Mental health services is the largest area in counseling psychology, but some in the field may still choose to do research, teach classes in college or provide job counseling. The average salary in the field is $72,540. (VeryWellMind.com).

School Psychologist

School psychologists work closely with students, teachers, counselors, administrators and parents to help children to improve themselves emotionally and psychologically, as well as academically. School psychologists assess and diagnose learning problems, give counseling to children, create behavioral interventions, and create supportive learning environments. The median salary for a school psychologist is $77,400. (CareerProfiles.com).

Psy.D. Job Outlook

Earning your Psy.D. degree should provide you with plenty of job opportunities. BLS reports overall employment of psychologists will rise by 14% through 2026, faster than average for all other occupations. Also, employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists will increase by 14% through 2026, faster than average for all occupations. It is anticipated that greater demand for psychological services in schools, mental health centers, and social service agencies will increase demand for psychologists. (BLS.gov).

Demand for clinical psychologists will increase as more Americans are turning to psychologists for help with mental health problems. More psychologists also are needed to offer mental health services to an aging US population. People also will need help to deal with the many physical and mental changes that occur as they age. It is expected that more psychological services will be needed for war veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Employment for school psychologists will increase because of the better awareness of the link between mental health and learning, and because of more ned for mental health services in all schools.

Psy.D. Job Demand Reflects Rising Healthcare Occupation Increase

The growth in need for psychologists is occurring at the same time there is such a rise of demand for healthcare services generally. It is anticipated there will be increase in healthcare occupations by 18% through 2026, which is much faster than average than other occupations. There will be 2.4 million new jobs added. Healthcare occupations, including psychologists with Psy.D. degrees, will be adding more jobs than all other occupational groups. The growth in job demand is expected mainly because of the aging US population. (BLS.gov).


In summary, earning your Psy.D. degree should be a solid career choice as you will have ample job opportunities available in the psychology and healthcare fields where you can earn an above average salary for years to come. Remember, if you want to pursue more of an academic career, you may want to explore the Ph.D. option instead of a Psy.D. But both degrees lead to many lucrative jobs in the psychology field.



Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.


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.