Psychology Salaries: How Much Do Psychologists Make?

Did you know the average psychologist's salary exceeds the national average significantly? Discover how to enter this fulfilling career.
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  • Many licensed psychologists make much more than the U.S. median salary.
  • You may increase your psychology salary by earning an advanced degree.
  • Many career opportunities exist for workers without a doctorate.
  • California and New Jersey feature jobs with high salaries for psychologists.

Psychologists perform original research and help patients improve their mental health. And honing their skills takes time, so licensed psychologists need a doctorate to practice.

Because of their vital work and specialized education, licensed psychologists typically make more than the median U.S. salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists working in May 2021 earned a median $81,040 annual salary.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Curious about how much money you can make as a psychologist? Continue reading for more information about psychologist salaries and how to maximize your earning potential with a career in psychology.

What Is the Average Psychologist Salary?

The BLS breaks down the median psychologist salary for three variations of this career:

  • Clinical, Counseling, or School Psychologist: $79,510
  • General Psychologist: $102,900
  • Industrial-Organizational (IO) Psychologist: $105,310

The median salaries only tell part of the story, however. Psychologists can increase salary potential in a number of ways, such as through experience.

Other ways to increase salary potential include mastering salary negotiation strategies like researching what salary other employers offer new hires.

Highest-Paying Psychology Jobs

If you don't have a doctorate or don't plan on getting one — don't worry. There are many well-paying positions for professionals with a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology. Of course, there are also lucrative options for those with a doctoral degree.

Highest-Paying Psychology Jobs
Psychology Job Median Annual Salary
Marriage and Family Therapist $49,880 as of May 2021
Postsecondary Teacher $79,640 as of May 2021
Psychologist $81,040 as of May 2021
School and Career Counselor $60,510 as of May 2021
Social Worker $50,390 as of May 2021

Source: the BLS

How Much Psychologists Make in Your State?

If you want to increase your psychology pay, you should research how salaries vary by state. Many jobs in highly populated states offer a median salary exceeding the national average. But there's a drawback: Workers in these areas may face a higher cost of living.

You can check out the best and worst states for changing careers to find areas where many workers achieve a high quality of life.

Median Salary for Psychologist by State (2021)
State Marriage and Family Therapist Postsecondary Teacher Psychologist School and Career Counselor
Alabama $44,820 $77,100 $104,420 $59,260
Alaska No Data $79,920 $113,340 $61,510
Arizona $49,360 $63,860 105,000 $49,430
Arkansas No Data $62,100 $95,200 $49,890
California $49,650 102,210 $116,490 $76,310
Colorado $62,280 $64,490 No Data $60,510
Connecticut $59,330 $96,450 $113,570 $61,730
Delaware $52,310 No Data No Data $71,980
District of Columbia No Data $99,030 105,300 $63,340
Florida $46,900 $77,030 $104,720 $49,290
Georgia $46,910 $63,590 $101,340 $60,250
Guam No Data No Data No Data $61,190
Hawaii $49,650 $98,890 $105,640 $62,250
Idaho $49,440 $81,440 $92,120 $48,560
Illinois $47,320 $77,760 $101,600 $49,510
Indiana $48,690 $77,890 $98,280 $49,340
Iowa $46,910 $77,630 $113,630 $49,290
Kansas $46,740 $61,320 $102,380 $49,590
Kentucky $49,720 $60,550 $104,420 $60,040
Louisiana $24,800 $77,000 $103,040 $60,510
Maine No Data $75,440 $72,790 $50,250
Maryland $49,630 $78,270 $114,050 $64,280
Massachusetts $49,630 $79,260 $112,860 $74,780
Michigan $59,910 $79,090 $64,650 $49,300
Minnesota $65,150 $79,160 $64,500 $58,160
Mississippi $46,860 $61,010 $92,120 $49,590
Missouri $47,050 $72,330 $105,960 $47,500
Montana No Data $73,750 No Data $47,760
Nebraska $47,040 $77,100 No Data $61,190
Nevada $61,330 $78,780 $99,740 $63,100
New Hampshire $46,490 $78,720 No Data $48,680
New Jersey $77,960 $86,560 $98,680 $76,630
New Mexico $49,410 $81,310 $101,980 $60,510
New York $50,760 $98,410 $110,550 $61,660
North Carolina $43,670 $75,960 $96,430 $49,560
North Dakota $48,540 $81,440 $101,360 $60,760
Ohio $50,530 $81,120 $105,500 $61,140
Oklahoma $55,660 $61,550 $99,420 $49,300
Oregon $49,650 $99,220 $108,160 $61,330
Pennsylvania $47,380 $78,750 $107,540 $61,860
Puerto Rico No Data $76,250 $80,280 $30,190
Rhode Island No Data $79,410 $62,410 $61,280
South Carolina $46,030 $62,100 $110,550 $49,130
South Dakota $46,640 $74,990 $101,340 $47,760
Tennessee $38,520 $64,490 No Data $49,980
Texas $54,920 $64,030 $105,930 $61,100
Utah $75,940 $81,980 $104,420 $48,520
Vermont No Data $81,350 $98,280 $59,360
Virginia $49,130 $77,450 $107,630 $62,540
Washington $47,130 $61,690 $111,030 $75,780
West Virginia $38,830 $50,550 $40,730 $49,360
Wisconsin $62,430 $65,150 $95,200 $49,980
Wyoming $47,600 $74,530 $113,630 $60,790

Source: the BLS


The Highest-Paying States for Psychologist (by Median Salary, 2021)
Marriage and Family Therapist Postsecondary Teacher Psychologist School and Career Counselor

New Jersey

Utah

Minnesota

California

Oregon

District of Columbia

California

Maryland

Iowa/Wyoming

New Jersey

California

Washington

Data sourced from the BLS

Job Growth for Psychologists

The BLS projects a 6% growth in the need for licensed psychologists from 2021-2031. This figure slightly exceeds the BLS' average projected growth rate of 5% for all U.S. careers. Steady growth lets recent Ph.D. in psychology graduates explore many jobs with a good salary.

You can prepare for your first job by strengthening your soft skills and networking with potential employers. Experienced professionals considering a switch to the psychology field should research top jobs for career changers.

Popular Psychology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Psychology Field Pays the Most?

The BLS reports that IO psychologists working in May 2021 earned the highest median salary of $105,310. An IO psychologist's typical responsibilities include researching employees' behaviors and making recommendations to improve workplace efficiency.

When you're exploring careers, you should note that the psychology field features many career paths besides IO. Recent graduates looking for work should research other jobs with a high psychologist salary.

Common Psychology Careers Include:

More Education Leads to a Higher Psychology Salary

Bachelor's in Psychology Salary

Although licensed psychologists need a Ph.D. or Psy.D., many jobs requiring only a bachelor's in psychology have a well-paying psychology salary, too.

If you're looking to get started on your career now, researching the latest jobs, hiring trends, and psychologist salary data can help you land a job.

High School Teacher

Salary: $61,820

High school teachers instruct classes, plan lessons, and collaborate with other teachers and staff. The career requires updating caregivers on their child's progress and administering standardized tests. Teachers working at a public school need a bachelor's degree and a license.


Market Research Analyst

Salary: $63,920

These research analysts study marketing programs' impacts on consumers. They also create surveys and speak with consumers directly. Market analysts then use their findings to create reports and presentations for senior managers.

Market research analysts work in different industries, such as finance, wholesale trade, and publishing.


Public Relations Specialists

Salary: $62,800

Public relations specialists improve their employer's public image by writing press releases, giving interviews to the media, and coaching managers in communication best practices. Other responsibilities include researching social media and analyzing marketing campaigns' effectiveness.

Top employers include educational services and advertising agencies.

Master's in Psychology Salary

A master's in psychology lets you pursue careers that workers with only a bachelor's cannot. Some jobs like school and career counselor feature a high salary. The information below describes just a few of the many careers with a psychology salary exceeding the national median.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Salary: $49,880

Marriage and family therapists use their master's degrees to help patients develop a better relationship with their spouse or child. Responsibilities include leading one-on-one and group sessions, teaching coping skills, and referring patients to other medical providers.


School and Career Counselor

Salary: $60,510

School and career counselors help children and adolescents overcome problems and plan for their futures. Typical tasks include mentoring students, performing aptitude tests, and working with teachers to find solutions. The career also requires updating parents and guardians and administrators on students' progress.


Addictions Counselor

Salary: $48,520

Mental health professionals use their education and training to help patients with mental health conditions live healthier and happier lives. They uncover patients' conditions through interviews and tests. The results let counselors recommend appropriate treatments, such as behavior change exercises and support groups.

Doctorate in Psychology Salary

A doctoral degree — such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D. — in psychology salary exceeds what many workers with a bachelor's or master's make. Degree-seekers earning a doctorate in psychology perform original research and write a dissertation. The degree qualifies graduates to pursue a career in academia or work toward a state-issued psychology license.

Human Resources Manager

Salary: $126,230

A doctorate in psychology helps human resources managers create benefit plans that are attractive to recent college graduates and experienced professionals. Other responsibilities include overseeing human resources specialists' work and reporting to top executives. These workers also mediate disputes between employees.


Postsecondary Teacher

Salary: $79,640

Professionals with a doctorate in psychology may work as tenure-track postsecondary teachers. These teachers instruct college-level classes, develop curricula, and advise undergraduate and graduate students. Other responsibilities include performing original research and presenting findings at conferences.


Psychologist

Salary: $81,040

Licensed psychologists may open an independent practice to treat patients with one or more mental health conditions. Other typical job sites include hospitals and research centers. Psychologists can specialize in many areas, such as family and couples counseling, child psychology, forensic psychology, or substance misuse.

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychologist Salaries

Is psychology a good career?

Yes. The BLS projects steady growth in many professions for workers with a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate in psychology. And you may advance your career by earning another degree or exploring a position in a different industry.

Plus, these jobs feature a median salary exceeding what the average U.S. worker earns.

Because you'll work in a field that focuses on helping others overcome challenges, it can lead to increased personal and professional satisfaction.

How much does it cost to become a psychologist?

According to National Center for Education Statistics data, the average undergraduate paid over $19,000 in tuition and fees in the 2020-2021 school year. Adding other expenses pushed the total price of a bachelor's degree over $140,000 for some learners. And some degree-seekers, such as those at a private school, paid significantly more for their education.

If you're working toward licensure, you must also consider the cost of a master's degree and doctorate. Typical graduate programs cost more per credit than an undergraduate program. Fortunately, you can save money by attending an in-state public school, learning online, or applying for psychology scholarships.

How long does it take to become a psychologist?

Becoming a licensed psychologist requires up to 16 years of undergraduate and graduate coursework. You'll typically need four years to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. And a master's program may take just as long for some learners.

A doctoral program can last from 4-8 years, as some students take longer to complete their training and dissertations. You don't qualify for a license the day you earn your doctorate. Some states require supervised post-doctoral professional experience lasting about one year before being eligible for licensure.

Does education make a difference in psychology salaries?

BLS data shows that education significantly impacts psychology salary potential between the master's and doctoral levels. Professionals with a doctorate qualify for a position with a much higher median salary than their peers with another degree.

If you're researching psychologist salaries, you should note that geographic location, job title, industry, and employer affect salary potential. These differences may help some experienced professionals earn more than workers with a more advanced degree.

What is the highest salary in psychology?

The BLS reports that the top 10% of earners in May 2021 made an average psychology salary of $133,200. These professionals earned about 300% more than the national median salary and worked in the management or business field. Other top-paying industries included physicians' offices and specialty hospitals.

Factors other than industry affected top psychologists' salaries in 2021. Licensed professionals in California, Oregon, and Alaska earned an average of $112,210-$113,040, the highest in the nation.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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