What are the Highest Paid Careers in Psychology?

If you have a master’s degree in psychology, and are deciding what career you want to pursue, you might be looking at salaries as a determining factor. What are the highest paid careers in psychology?


Psychiatrists have a medical degree in addition to a degree in psychology. This means that, in addition to assessing, diagnosing and treating mental illness, they can prescribe medication. This is the highest-paid field in psychology. The average salary for psychiatrists is $177, 520. Those employed in physicians’ offices earn slightly less, while those in private practice may earn significantly higher salaries. According to “Online Psychology Degrees.com,” the top 10 percent of psychiatrists earn more than $212,000 a year.

Industrial Psychologists

These professionals solve workforce issues, increasing productivity and job satisfaction for employees. They select the best employees for particular positions and may develop market research surveys. The average salary for an industrial psychologist is $98,800. The top 5 percent of these psychologists earn in excess of $250,000 annually. Consultants may earn $125, 980. Entry level salaries for those with a master’s degree are $40,000 and, with a doctor’s degree, $55,000.


The study of the brain and cognitive science is the focus of this career. These psychologists perform brain scans and cognitive tests, assess people suffering from brain injuries and even study the effects drugs have on the brain. The average salary is $86,645 but the top 10 percent earn $143,476. Salaries increase after you gain experience and, within ten years, these professionals earn six-figure incomes.

Engineering Psychologist

According to “Psychology.About.com,” An engineering psychologist works to improve the design of systems, operations and equipment to improve productivity. They also look at safety issues with corporations and industries. The average salary is $79,818, but those professionals working in governmental agencies make significantly higher salaries, some as high as $107,314. Engineering psychologists in private practice can command salaries of $179,160.

Clinical Psychologists

This psychology career usually involves direct patient contact. These people work in hospitals, mental health clinics and in private practice. They assess, diagnose and treat mental illnesses. This is the largest area of employment for people with a psychology degree. Most positions for clinical psychologists require a doctorate. While the average salary for a clinical psychologist is $79,540, those in private practice earn $80,760 and the top 10 percent earn $109,340.

Counseling Psychologist

This psychologist does much the same work as a clinical psychologist, but usually works with people who have less severe mental illness. These professionals work as school counselors and in corporate settings as personnel counselors. They may even have a private practice. The average salary for a counseling psychologist is the same as for a cli9nical psychologist, $79,540.

As in many other professions, the salary psychologists make varies field by field and even within the career. Determining factors are area of employment (whether public, private or governmental) and the years of experience a psychologist has in his career specialty. Salary also depends upon education, as some careers offer entry-level jobs with a bachelor’s degree, but many require a master’s degree or a doctor’s degree and/or certification.