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The highest paying psychology careers

 Verywell / JR Bee 

Psychology can be a high-paying job, but it is important to recognize that there is tremendous diversity among psychology professions, and salaries and yearly earnings are just as varied. In a struggling economy, many students have turned their interest toward some of the highest-paying careers in psychology. The highest paying psychologist career salaries average around $167,000.

While many psychology careers have a higher than average yearly salary, it is important to remember that actual income depends upon various factors, including geographic location, employment sector, educational background, and years of experience.

Learn more about some of the highest-paying psychology careers, the typical salaries for such professions, and the educational requirements for entering these fields.

For psychology majors, choosing among several different types of psychology careers can seem overwhelming. Each job opportunity in the psychology field is uniquely rewarding because of the specific populations the roles serve. Some of the best psychology careers also pay well. Here are five high-paying jobs for psychology majors.

Outpatient Care Center Psychologist

As some of the highest-earning psychologists, those who work in outpatient care centers make an average salary of $133,660, according to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Psychologists who practice in an outpatient environment perform tasks like screening patients for depression, completing psychiatric evaluations and diagnostic tests, creating medication management strategies, and counseling family members. Because of Affordable Care Act laws and regulations, there will be an increased demand for psychologists in outpatient care centers. Psychologists in outpatient care centers are required to have the same licenses and academic credentials as clinical psychologists. A Doctor of Psychology degree is the most common degree for clinical psychologists.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists use their academic and professional understanding of the concepts of psychology and human behavior to understand workplace efficiency and productivity. Corporations and businesses hire industrial-organizational psychologists to perform assessments and make recommendations about best practices on productivity, employee morale, and work styles. According to the BLS, industrial-organizational psychologists make an average salary of $96,270 a year, which is higher than the median annual wage for all psychologists combined ($82,180). Generally, industrial-organizational psychologists need a master’s degree and not a doctorate.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists work with judges, attorneys, crime victims, witnesses, and other legal specialists within the criminal justice and legal systems to explain and analyze the psychological aspects of individual cases. They can testify in court as expert witnesses and help with family, civil and criminal casework. They must have a doctoral degree in psychology. Some forensic psychologists choose to pursue legal training as well. The average salary for forensic psychologists is around $71,382, according to PayScale. However, some of the highest salaries top $120,000.

Military Psychologist

A military psychologist works with other healthcare personnel to provide psychological and psychiatric treatment to service members and their families. Military psychologists can work with patient-service teams in military medical environments on bases, in combat, or in any other military-related environment. Generally, military psychologists are also service members. They rank as officers because of their academic accomplishments. The American Psychological Association (APA) points out that the military offers incentives through its Health Professions Scholarship Program, which covers tuition, books, and fees for the final two years of a doctoral program. The average military psychologist’s salary depends on their rank, the branch of the military, and their service record. In some cases, the salary is above $70,000 according to the APA.


Psychiatry is one of the most common career paths for psychology majors. Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in mental health. Like any medical doctor, they diagnose and treat illness through different strategies. Psychiatrists prescribe medications for patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale. A psychiatrist should be licensed as a board-certified psychiatrist.


The skills learned in an online B.A. Psychology program will give you a foundation in psychology to help you start your career in human services. The ability to understand others helps people become better communicators, leaders, and problem-solvers – skills that transfer to virtually any industry. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in psychology that pay well. With a B.A. in psychology, job opportunities are growing in nearly all human service settings. Graduates might also go on to obtain more education in an advanced degree program.

20 Highest Paid Jobs in Psychology

psychology jobs

As thousands of students begin their education in the field of psychology, many wonder what are the top paying jobs in psychology in the United States. Many are interested to know the highest paying psychology careers. Across the country, psychology is among the leading majors at many colleges and universities. As students embark upon their undergraduate and graduate training, they will soon discover that there is a great discrepancy in the salary levels for professionals in the field of psychology. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, the average salary for a psychologist in the United States is $81,040 per year. What this number does not take into consideration is the highs and lows of salary differences among the different specialty areas of the field, or those working in private practice. While some psychology careers lead to salaries below $48,000 annually, other high paying psychology careers can sky rocket well above $200,000. This ranking list looks to outline the highest paying jobs with a psychology degree.

20 Highest Paying Jobs in the Field of Psychology

20. Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist

Median Annual Salary: $49,880
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 14 percent between 2021 and 2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree and state licensure. In many cases candidates will be required to complete 2,000 to 4,000 hours of a supervised internship.
Average years of Education and Training: 6 – 8 years

Career Information: The fields of mental health counseling and marriage and family therapist are among the fields that many people think of when they hear psychology. A counselor has a wide range of job responsibilities in addition to the “talk therapy” many people equate to the profession. In addition to talking clients through problems in their lives, counselors also assess, diagnose, and treat various mental illnesses. Some mental health counselors work with clients who have no psychiatric diagnosis but need help coping with challenging life events. These events may include:

  • a physical impairment
  • death of a loved one
  • difficulty in a particular relationship
  • divorce

Other counselors work with individuals to manage and treat a serious mental illness like:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder

Similar to a mental health counselor is a marriage and family therapist (MFT). These are mental health professionals with at least a master’s degree and typically two years of supervised clinical experience. Marriage and family therapists (often referred to as MFTs or family therapists) are educated and appropriately licensed to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health and substance abuse problems. MFT is considered one of the core mental health disciplines and is therefore rooted in the research and contexts that mental illness and family difficulties are best addressed as a family system. MFT’s must be trained in both traditional psychotherapy as well as family systems. These skilled therapists must understand the family’s challenges and patterns of interactions that might be causing problems to arise. Traditionally, MFTs treat individuals, but many also offer couples, family, and group therapy as needed.

19 – Recreational Therapist

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $47,940
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 4 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree with a strong preference for those with a Master’s Degree
Average years of Education and Training: 4 – 8 years

Career Information: Another interesting field of psychology is recreational therapy. Recreational therapists are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating recreationally based treatment programs for individuals with:

  • mental illness
  • disability
  • injury
  • illness

These trained therapists utilize many different modalities of treatment, including:

  • arts and crafts
  • games
  • drama
  • poetry
  • music
  • dance
  • sports
  • “community reintegration” field trips

The goal of these modalities is to help preserve or progress a client’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. Recreational therapists are responsible for all or some of the following:

  • Evaluate a clients needs through clinical observations, reviewing medical records, conducting psychological testing, and communicating with other healthcare professionals, family members and the individual.
  • Generate treatment plans and agendas that are in keeping with the patients’ specific needs and interests.
  • Design and implement interventions to avoid injury to a patient.
  • Engage clients in therapeutic activities, such as those listed above.
  • Assist the client in learning appropriate social skills they will need to become or remain independent.
  • Teach clients about the ways they can cope with anxiety or depression.
  • Record and investigate a client’s progress or lack thereof.
  • Evaluate interventions for effectiveness.

18 – School Career Counselor

Median Annual Salary: $60,510
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 10 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree with a strong preference for those with a certification in this area
Average years of Education and Training: 6-10 years

Career Information: A school career counselor is responsible for a wide range of issues working with students at various levels of their education. One of the main responsibilities is to aid students in developing the social skills they need to succeed in an academic setting. Career counselors help their clients through the difficult process of making career decisions, by guiding them through choosing a career or educational program. School counselors are responsible for all or some of the following:

  • Help students understand and overcome social or behavioral problems that may be limiting their potential.
  • Provide individual and group counseling based on student unique needs.
  • Work with students to develop academic and social skills, such as organization, time management, and effective study habits.
  • Help students develop realistic academic and career goals and develop a plan to help achieve them.
  • Evaluate students’ abilities, skills and interests through aptitude assessments, interviews, and individual planning.
  • Work closely with teachers, administrators, and parents to help students succeed.
  • Deliver classroom guidance lessons on topics, such as bullying, drug abuse, and planning for college or careers after graduation.
  • Identify and report possible cases of neglect or abuse.
  • Refer students and parents to resources outside the school for additional support.

17 – Career Counselor

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $60,510
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 10 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree
Average years of Education and Training: 6-8 years

Career Information: In many ways, career counseling is very similar to school career counseling, however career counselors work with people of all ages at many different junctions in their career. The goal of career counseling is typically on subjects such as career consideration, possible career change, personal career development and other career related issues. The overall goal of a career counselor is to help their clients identify careers that best suit their needs as well as what careers they are most suitable for pursuing. This is often achieved by utilizing some of the following areas:

  • Aptitude and Skills – One of the most important elements to choosing a career is to look at an individual’s unique set of skills and what they are best at. Career counselors often use interviews in order to assess where a clients strengths lie, and which careers he/she would be best at.
  • Education – Career counselors must also take into consideration a client’s education level, or potential education level. As many careers involve a higher level of education, it is imperative to assess whether a client plans to pursue a more advanced degree. It is also a counselors job to consider whether or not a client continuing his education is possible or advisable. In some cases, an individual might not have the ability, means or opportunity needed to pursue more education.
  • Personality – Each individual’s personality becomes an important piece of the puzzle when determining the best career fit. Because different personality types often excel at different types of careers, this is a good consideration to make.
  • Interests – Career counselors will also consider clients interests when advising them on the best career options. Knowing what a client likes and dislikes can be a very helpful tool in choosing a career.

16 – Sports Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $75,928
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
While there are very few graduate level training programs in this area of psychology, most sports psychologists will earn a counseling or clinical psychology degree. While the minimum degree is a master’s degree, most professionals in this field hold their doctorate.
Average years of Education and Training: 8-10 years

Career Information: A new and growing area of psychology is the field of sports psychology. This area of psychology works to fill the piece of competitive sports that is not fulfilled by a coach who focuses on the physical side of sport. The sports psychologist focuses on an athletes’ mind and mindset. Sports psychologists work closely with athletes of all levels to identify, clarify and achieve their goals. In some cases, athletes seek out help from a sports psychologist or another exercise and sports psychology professional when they have a problem they cannot overcome by working alone or with a coach. Some common examples include:

  • anxiety or lost focus during competition
  • difficulty communicating effectively with teammates
  • keeping their temper under control
  • getting motivating to fulfill exercise requirements

Sports psychologists can also be helpful even when the athlete is not experiencing a problem. Some of the many responsibilities of sport psychologists include:

  • Enhancing Performance – By using various mental strategies, such as visualization, self-talk and relaxation techniques, Sport Psychologists can help athletes overcome difficulties and achieve their full potential.
  • Cope With the Pressures of Competition – Athletes of all level can experience anxiety, stress and difficulty when in the limelight of competition. Sport psychologists can help athletes deal with pressure from parents, coaches and even their own personal expectations.
  • Recovering From an Injury – In the wake of a sports injury, many athletes may need assistance working through lingering pain, obeying physical therapy regimens or adjusting to the changes in playing time.
  • Keep Up an Exercise Program – There are times when dedicated athletes who would like to exercise regularly may be faced with unexpected obstacles to fulfilling this goal. Sport psychologists can help individuals increase their motivation and tackle any complications blocking the way to success.
  • Enjoy Sports – An increasing number of youth sports organizations are hiring a sport psychologist to train coaches and volunteers about how to help kids enjoy sports as well as how to promote healthy self-esteem in young athletes of all skill levels.

Sports psychology is often found working non-athletic settings. Many of the same strategies that sport psychologists employ to train athletes, such as relaxation techniques, mental rehearsals, and cognitive restructuring, are useful in the workplace and other applied settings.

15 – Special Education Teacher

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $61,820
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 4 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a bachelor’s degree with a preference for a master’s degree
Average years of Education and Training: 4-8 years

Career Information:

Special education teachers work with students of various ages who have a range of learning, mental, emotional, and/or physical disabilities. They are responsible for adapting general education curriculums and teaching various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. In many cases these teachers teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities. The majority of special education teachers work in school settings, working with students at different levels including:

  • preschool
  • elementary
  • middle school
  • high school

Others may work in childcare services, public agencies of other institutions. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, but in some areas they may work year round. Special education teachers are responsible for the following:

  • Evaluate students’ skills levels to determine their specific needs and to develop appropriate educational plans.
  • Adapt lessons to meet the needs of students.
  • Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students.
  • Plan, organize, and assign activities that are specific to each student’s abilities.
  • Teach and mentor students as a class, in small groups, and one-on-one.
  • Implement IEPs, assess students’ performance, and track progress.
  • Update IEPs throughout the school year to reflect students’ progress and goals.
  • Discuss student’s progress with parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators.
  • Supervise and train teaching assistants who work with students with disabilities.
  • Prepare and help students transition from grade to grade and for life after graduation.

14 – Forensic Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $72,828
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Some forensic psychologists posses only a master’s degree but most have earned a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: One of the most popular sub fields of modern psychology is the field of forensic psychology. Each year more and more students express an interest in this fascinating area of study. Despite the popularity in the movies and on television, few people truly understand what forensic psychologists really do and how to pursue a career in this field. Broadly speaking, forensic psychologists work at the intersection of psychology and the legal system. Division 41 of the American Psychological Association, which is the Council for the American Psychology-Law society (AP-LS), outlines forensic psychology as: “The professional practice by psychologists within the areas of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, neuropsychology, and school psychology, when they are engaged regularly as experts and represent themselves as such, in an activity primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise to the judicial system.” This means that practitioners of forensic psychology apply psychological principles to criminal investigation and the legal system. Forensic psychologists use their knowledge and training in psychology and its underlying principles to understand various elements of the legal system. Forensic psychologists can become an important part of both criminal and civil matters, such as custody disputes, insurance claims, and civil lawsuits. Other professionals in this field are employed in family courts and offer traditional psychotherapy, perform child custody evaluations, investigate reports of child abuse or neglect and evaluate visitation risk assessments. Those employed by civil courts are responsible for assessing competency, provide psychological opinions and provide therapy to crime victims. Those professionals employed by criminal courts are responsible for conducting evaluations of mental competency, work with child or delicate witnesses and provide assessment of juvenile and adult offenders.

13 – Correctional Psychology

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $60,250
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 0 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a doctorate degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: The little known field of correctional psychology is an important part of the correctional facility. Correctional psychologists function as part of a collaborative team, working alongside caseworkers, attorneys and correctional facility staff members to modify or eliminate the antisocial behavior of inmates. Throughout this collaboration, the psychologist works with other members of the team to create a safer environment for all inmates and staff in the correctional facility. When the psychologist begins working with the inmate, they will interview the client, observe their behavior and review their chart. The psychologist may have the inmate complete a survey or test to aid in the process of assessing and diagnosing. The correctional psychologist may also interview family members or others involved in their life. After all of this data is collected, the psychologist will review and evaluate the findings. From this information the correctional psychologist uses professional training and skills to identify clinical disorders and make a formal diagnosis. After a diagnosis is in place, the correctional psychologist will then assist in the development of an appropriate treatment plan. This is often done by working with a group of professionals, such as doctors, caseworkers from the legal system and other professionals from the client’s community. One of the most important responsibilities of a correctional psychologist is to provide counseling to clients after the treatment plan has been formulated.

12 – Psychology Faculty Member

Median Annual Salary: $77,860
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: An article was published in conjunction between Money magazine and entitled “Best Jobs in America.” Psychologist ranked number 10 on this exclusive list of 50 top positions, while college professor earned the number 2 spot. A career as a psychology faculty member can be an excellent profession filled with teaching, research and academia. Some of the reasons college professor earned the number 2 spot was due to the low stress level, flexible hours and working environment, ability to be creative on the job and the ease of entry and advancement. The research from this study showed that a position as a psychologist comes with high marks for creativity, slightly lower on flexibility and earned low marks on ease of entry and stress level. The position of college professor was given high marks for flexibility and creativity, slightly lower on stress and lowest on ease of entry. There are faculty positions throughout colleges and universities all over the country ranging from community colleges, to liberal arts colleges and larger research universities. Because psychology is among the most popular majors, there are psychology departments at almost every college in the country.

11 – Engineering Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $107,042
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree with a preference for a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 6-8 years

Career Information: One of the newest and least known specialty areas of psychology is engineering psychology. As this field becomes more well known, demand for engineering psychologists is booming. As more and more industries are realizing that by having a psychologist participate in the design process, the final product can often be more practical and pleasing and more in demand by consumers. Products designed under the guidance of an engineering psychologist are often better designed from the outset and can help eliminate frustrated customers and expensive redesigns, increasing the company’s profitability. Engineering psychologists work in many different settings, including academia, governmental agencies, and private businesses. Many of these professionals choose to specialize in sub-fields such as human factors, ergonomics, human-computer interaction, or usability engineering. There are endless ways that these professionals can improve safety, productivity and company’s bottom line. Engineering psychologists have recently become a critical part of evaluating car companies, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and NASA.

10 – Research Psychology

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $77,272
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
While assistants can hold a master’s degree, lead research psychologists are required to hold a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: As a part of a graduate psychology education, most students participate in active psychological research. For those students who enjoy this experience enough to pursue it as a profession, the field of research psychology is a perfect fit. Once a student has completed their graduate education, psychology researchers usually seek employment in the field, inside a classroom, or in a laboratory setting. While most laboratory research is completed at universities, government agencies (such as the National Institute of Health), or private research organizations, there are options in management or administration once a research psychologist has gained enough experience as an active researcher. Psychology researchers can work alone, be a part of a collaborative a team, or participate in collective research on a national or global level. In 2010, psychologists held about 174,000 jobs with the following breakdown of employment:

  • Self-Employed (about 34 percent)
  • Educational Services (29 percent)
  • Healthcare Settings (20 percent)

Some research psychologists are university professors who conduct their research as well as spend part of their time in the classroom. These highly skilled professionals are also responsible for:

  • Proposing new theories and conducting experiments
  • Ensuring that experiments meet ethical guidelines
  • Carrying out appropriate and ethical experiments
  • Giving psychological tests
  • Conducting interviews
  • Designing questionnaires
  • Writing and publishing completed experiment results
  • Use computers and statistics
  • Applying for grants
  • Attending relevant conferences

9 – Counseling Psychologist

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $82,510
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Some states allow a minimum of a Master’s Degree while others require a Doctoral Level Degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: Counseling psychology is a specialty area within psychology with a strong a emphasis on advancing positive personal and social functioning throughout the life span. Counseling psychologists are involved with the emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns of people and groups of people, and are often involved in social work. The practice of counseling psychology is made up of a wide array of culturally-sensitive practices that are designed to help individuals increase their general mental health, lessen distress and disturbances, resolve crises, and increase the pro-social function in the individuals life. Counseling psychologists must attend to both normal developmental issues and problematic areas associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders. This means that practitioners must posses a blended perspective in the many different practical areas of psychology. Therapeutic relationships used by counseling psychologists can be either brief or long-term, depending upon the needs of the client. These relationships and the subsequent therapies are general problem-specific and goal-directed.

8 – Clinical Psychologist

Median Annual Salary: $82,510
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Some states allow a minimum of a master’s degree while others require a doctoral level degree. Some states also require candidates to complete a 1-2 year residency and pass an examination.
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: Clinical psychologists are responsible for the integration of science, concept, and practice that helps us understand, predict, and lessen maladjustment, disability, and discomfort while also promoting human adjustment, regulation, and personal development. The field of clinical psychology emphasizes the cognitive, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human behavior throughout the life span, in a cultural context. Clinical psychologists are trained to create and implement empirical and professional knowledge and skills that will advance psychology as a science, the professional application of psychology and human welfare. These professional psychologists are often involved in research, academia and supervision, program development and evaluation, consultation, public policy, professional practice, and other undertakings that encourage psychological well being in individuals, families, groups, and organizations. Their responsibilities range from prevention and early intervention of minor issues of adjustment to tackling the regulation and maladjustment of individuals with mental health issues that mat require further treatment. Clinical psychologists generally work directly with individuals at all developmental levels (infants to older adults), as well as groups (families, patients of similar psychopathology, and organizations), using a wide range of assessments

7 – Experimental Psychologist

Median Annual Salary: $100,091
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 14 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a Doctoral Degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: The field of experimental psychology is a specialty area of psychology that uses the scientific method to study thoughts and behavior. Most psychology students are required to complete experimental psychology courses during both undergraduate and graduate school. Many of the skills and theories taught in both undergraduate and graduate programs are also employed by other specialty areas of psychology to conduct research on issues ranging from childhood development to the treatment of mental illnesses.
Experimental psychologists are employed in a many different settings including colleges, universities, research centers, government and private businesses. Some experimental psychologists focus on teaching experimental methods to students, while others participate in active research on a variety of subjects including cognitive processes of humans, animal behavior, mental illnesses, neuroscience, personality and many other subject areas.

6 – Geropsychologist

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $109,776
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a Doctoral Degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: Geropsychology is one of the subfields of psychology that is expected to see some of the greatest increase in demand in coming years. Because the BLS does not include geropsychology as its own profession, we must rely on the growth data for general professions in psychology. This field offers an excellent choice for psychologists who want to pursue a career that combines multidisciplinary work in a wide range of issues. These may include depression, anxiety, medical conditions, family relationships, retirement, diminished mental capacity, changes in sexuality and poverty and many more. Students who choose a career in geropsychology have the benefit of a variety of career options and places to work. Professional geropsychology is an area of psychology that applies the information and techniques of general psychology to understanding and supporting older persons and their families to help them increase overall well-being, overcome obstacles they are facing and achieve their highest potential during the later life of life. Professional geropsychology incorporates the large diversity among older adults, the complicated ethical issues that involve geriatric practice and the need for interdisciplinary models of care. The specialty of professional geropsychology addresses many biopsychosocial problems encountered by older adults and their families, including:

  • Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
  • Dementia and related behavioral/lifestyle changes
  • Changes in decision-making or everyday living abilities
  • Coping with and managing chronic illness
  • Behavioral health concerns such as insomnia, pain
  • Grief and loss
  • Family caregiving strains
  • Adjustment to aging-related stresses including marital/family conflict, changing roles
  • End-of-life care

5 – School Psychology

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $78,780
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 10 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree with a preference for a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: School psychologists are highly trained professional psychologists who work as a part of a collaborative school team which supports students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They are responsible for applying training in mental health, learning, and behavior, to assist students in succeeding academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. School psychologists often work with families, teachers, school administrators, and other educational professionals to foster safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that bolster the connections between home, school, and the community. Most School psychologists are employed in K-12 public schools. In addition to these tasks, they are responsible for providing services in a variety of other settings, including:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Assessment
  • Progress monitoring
  • School-wide practices to promote learning
  • Resilience and risk factors
  • Consultation and collaboration
  • Academic/learning interventions
  • Mental health interventions
  • Behavioral interventions

School psychologists are also qualified to offer direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (such as school counselors, school social workers) to improve support policies, work with academic administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services.

4 – Neuropsychologist

Median Annual Salary: $96,612
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 5 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 8-12 years

Career Information: The specialized field of clinical neuropsychology is an area of clinical psychology that specializes in the assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or disease. A Clinical Neuropsychologist generally holds an advanced degree in clinical psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), and has completed a supervised clinical internship as well as specialized post-doctoral training in this field. The major difference between a clinical neuropsychologist and other clinical psychologists is the advanced knowledge of the brain and how it works, including thorough comprehension of detailed areas such as neuroanatomy and neurological disease. Neuropsychology involves the application of standardized tests and measures in the study of brain behavior relationships. Neuropsychological tests are used to evaluate cognitive deficits, while also being a part of the management, treatment and rehabilitation of cognitively impaired patients. Another part of neuropsychology is the development of models and methodologies to be used in understanding normal and abnormal brain function.

3 – Industrial & Organizational Psychologist

20 Highest Paid Jobs in the Field of Psychology

Median Annual Salary: $105,310
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 2 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a master’s degree with a strong preference for a doctoral degree
Average years of Education and Training: 6-12 years

Career Information: One of the areas with the most dramatic predicted rise is the specialty field of Industrial – Organizational Psychology (often referred to simply as I/O psychology). This is a field that is characterized by the empirical study of human behavior in organizations and the work place. I/O Psychology focuses on developing philosophies of individual, group and organizational behavior and using this information for the solution of problems in the work place. Dedicated knowledge and training in the science of behavior in the workplace requires detailed understanding of organizational development, attitudes, career development, decision theory, human performance and human factors, consumer behavior, small group theory and process, criterion theory and development, job and task analysis and individual assessment. This specialized area of psychology requires understanding of unique ethical considerations as well as legal, administrative, and case law and executive orders that relate to activities in the workplace. I/O Psychologists are scientist-practitioners with proficiency in the design, execution and analysis of research in psychology. They apply these findings to help address human and organizational problems in the context of organized work. I/O psychologists are also responsible for:

  • Identify training and development needs
  • Design and optimize job and work and quality of work life
  • Design and apply training programs and evaluate their effectiveness
  • Coach employees
  • Develop criteria to evaluate performance of individuals and organizations
  • Assess consumer preferences, customer satisfaction and market strategies

2 – Military Psychologist

Median Annual Salary: $80,460
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 6 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a doctoral degree and must be a member of the armed forces
Average years of Education and Training: 8-10 years

Career Information: The specialty area of military psychology is a branch of psychology which a focus on military personnel and their families. Some of the responsibilities of a military psychologist include performing psychiatric evaluations, assessing and treating mental and emotional disorders and providing counseling services to service members and their families. In the United States, each branch of the military employs psychologists who work to treat active duty and retired military personnel. Job titles of different types of military psychologists might include:

  • Army Mental Health Specialist
  • Army Psychologist
  • Navy Psychologist
  • Marine Psychologist
  • Air Force Psychologist

Those students who specialize in military psychology will learn about the many various duties and responsibilities, depending on their area of specialization. Some military psychologists conduct research, perform tests, or treat mental and emotional disorders. Research in this field is general designed with the motivation of finding out which personality traits are best for certain military positions. Research may also focus on military specific issues such as how to most effectively treat some common mental ailments in the military, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is the responsibility of certain Military Psychologists to conduct mental health evaluations before recruits are allowed to enlist in the service. These interviews help ensure that new recruits are mentally and emotionally stable enough to handle the stress of being in the military. Clinical and counseling military psychologists are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating military personnel with mental or emotional disorders. This could include trying to decipher the extent of a soldier’s emotional trauma, and recommending a course of treatment. Some of the more common problems that plague military personnel may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, grief, anxiety, and sleep issues.

1 – Psychiatrist

Median Annual Salary: $249,760
Career Outlook: Predicted rise of 12 percent between 2021-2031
Educational and Training Requirements:
Minimum of a medical degree and residency
Average years of Education and Training: 12 or more years

Career Information: Topping our list of the highest paying psychology jobs is psychiatrist. Psychiatrist is at the top of the highest paying therapist jobs. If you are looking for high paying jobs with a psychology degree, psychiatrist should be at the top of your psychology jobs list. A professional psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health and emotional difficulties. Psychiatrists receive extensive medical and psychological training, which means that they have a thorough understanding of the body’s nervous system, and the complex relationship between mental health illness and other medical illness. Psychiatrists are mental health professionals and medical doctors with the highest qualification to determine what the physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress. Psychiatrists use a wide variety of treatments, including different forms of psychotherapy, medications, and even hospitalization to meet the specific needs of each patient.

Opportunities for Employment in the Field of Psychology

The field of psychology has an extreme range of specialty and sub-specialty areas. Some of these areas require as little as seven years of college education, others will require considerably more. In 2022, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the general area of Psychology will see an increase of at least 6 percent between 2021 and 2031.  This means that over the next ten years some positions will open up for newcomers to the field of professional psychology. What is important to note, if you are interested in high paid psychology careers, is that some areas of psychology will correspond with a much higher annual salary than other areas. While some factors like years of experience, region of the country and occupational setting affect the average annual salary, one of the biggest factors is which area of psychology you pursue. With salaries steadily increasing and more psychology positions becoming available, now is the time to prepare for the highest paid psychology careers.

People Also Ask

What is the highest paying job with a bachelor’s in psychology? 

There are high paying jobs with a bachelor’s in psychology. Salaries for non-clinical psychology major jobs greatly vary depending on factors like experience, location, and employer. Some of the highest-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor’s in psychology include social services manager, career counselor, substance abuse counselor, and human resources specialist.

What field of psychology makes the most money? 

If you want to be the highest paid psychologist, far and away, the highest paying field of psychology is psychiatry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatrists make an average of $249,760 per year.

What is the median salary for a psychologist?
According to the BLS, the median salary for a psychologist (general) is $81,040.

What are the most in-demand psychologists? 

Clinical psychologists, neuropsychiatrists, psychiatrists, organizational psychologists, and private counselors are the most in-demand types of psychologists.


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About the Author:

After earning a bachelor of arts in psychology from Rutgers University and then a master of science in clinical and forensic psychology from Drexel University, Kristen Fescoe began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field she accepted a teaching position at a local college where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Kristen began writing in college and still enjoys her work as a writer, editor, professor, and mother.