What are the highest and lowest salaries that I could earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average psychology salary was around $68,600 at the beginning of the decade, but this figure can change depending on your academic concentration and your degree level.
In addition, your professional experience and tenure at your workplace can influence your psychology salary. The BLS reports that the lowest 10% of psychologists earn an average median salary of $39,200, while that number soars to $111,810 for the top 10%.
PayScale digs even deeper to find that clinical psychologists earn average psychology salaries between $41,594 and $127,938. If you are a school psychologist, you can expect a yearly salary between $35,529 and $79,348, but if you received your doctorate in experimental psychology, the gap widens on both ends to $29,773 and $91,916.
Your salary will be determined by a number of factors including your location, field-related experience and education level. There is a steep drop-off in pay between doctoral students and masters students. For example, the highest projected salary for a social psychology professor is around $119,500, while the highest projection for a teaching assistant, a position typically held by someone finishing their graduate degree, is roughly $37,520.
Because there are no programs that offer an accredited online PhD in psychology, potential salary will be 1 of your greatest deterrents if you look to earn your psychology graduate degree online.
In addition to my salary, will I earn benefits?
Unlike the noticeable differences in psychology pay between the various degree levels, you will find that most psychology jobs offer extensive benefit packages regardless of your level of expertise.
For example, a correctional treatment specialist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons is required to have a graduate degree and notable experience in a specialized field because they help evaluate programs that reintegrate former convicts into society. Because it is a federal position, the job offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes a nationally recognized health insurance provider that contributes pre-taxed earnings to health bills, a leave policy that allows for 13 to 26 vacation days per year and a 3-part retirement program that offers Social Security benefits and a 401(k).
At the University of Chicago, research assistants in the psychology department are given a number of excellent benefits, including a choice between 2 dental plans, counseling services and an elder care referral system in case they have older relatives with assisted living needs. Many times, psychology undergraduates pursuing their bachelors or associates in psychology will apply for positions like this in order to bolster their work experience and supplement their future degrees. To receive optimal benefits, you should look for jobs in hospitals, federal agencies or colleges with large psychology departments because these institutions have policies that require every employee to receive the same essential benefits package.
Will I always earn a salary?
Many of these jobs will offer a salary for psychology services. According to the BLS, collegiate psychology professors earn an average annual wage of $68,150, but typically are not paid hourly because professors aim to work many years at the same institution, thus granting them tenure. As such, universities do not expect high turnover and are more comfortable awarding yearly salaries.
However, some professions in the field cannot offer a psychology degree salary. Many clinical psychologists are paid by the hour during private patient sessions, especially if they run their own practice. PayScale estimates their hourly rates and finds that a clinical psychologist earns between $9.17 and $49.13 after practicing for less than 1 year. Naturally, this rate goes up as you accumulate more experience and gain more clients. The hourly wages of clinical psychologists practicing for 5 to 9 years range from $24.44 to $192.71.
Growing fields like industrial-organizational psychology specialize in counseling employees and creating efficient work environments using psychological principles, but professionals in the field are paid in different ways. According to a BLS report on industrial-organizational psychologist earnings, professionals in the field can earn a median hourly wage of $45.54, while the average industrial-organizational psychology starting salary is $94,720. If you follow this career track, you will be compensated through the company’s payroll system, which can differ from one business to the next.