It should come as no surprise that the salary of a psychologist will be higher for individuals with more education and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the psychology profession should see between a 15 to 34% growth through the year 2016. Individuals in counseling or school psychology should experience about thirteen percent growth, while individuals specializing in substance abuse and behavioral disorders will see the highest growth of thirty-four percent.
Expected job increases will be seen in schools, hospitals, substance abuse clinics, and consulting firms. On average, the salary for a psychologist holding a doctorate degree will be $6,000-$8,000 more a year than a person who has a master’s degree. Job opportunities for individuals with master’s degrees in psychology will be more competitive than a person with a doctoral degree, however they will enjoy more job opportunities than a person with just a bachelor’s degree. The roles of counselor and psychologist are diverse and can lead to many opportunities in different fields. The psychology graduate will typically find higher salaries in a larger city than in smaller communities. In some cases, employers will pay more due to the higher cost of living in a larger city. The amount of experience you have practicing psychology will be another factor in income, as well as your specialty in the field. Some specialties will actually pay more than others.
Be realistic in your research when investigating salaries. Compare salaries in your local community versus across the nation. Visit your local employment center and talk with career counselors. Many online resources online can help you determine market trends and careers in psychology. Look at average starting salaries, including the high and low range. You might want to network with psychologists and ask questions about career paths and salaries. Individuals in private practice will probably earn a lot more than those employed by government or state agencies. Although most people in the field of psychology are passionate about what they do, most would agree that they would like to be compensated for the time and investment they made in completing their education. A counselor’s salary is lower than a psychologist’s salary; however it does pay well when compared to other professions. Of course, there will be variance in the type of counseling in which you specialize. For most specialties, the high end of the pay scale ranges from $60,000-$70,000. Individuals specializing in marriage and family counseling, school and vocational counseling, clinical therapy, and behavioral disorder counseling can earn annual salaries in this range.
School counselors can also supplement their income by working during the summer months. On the low end of the salary scale are substance abuse and rehabilitation counselors with average salaries from $25,000 – $55,000 a year. The salary of a psychologist may vary by state. Since a license to practice is specific to the state in which it was issued, a psychologist may want to learn about how to obtain a license to practice before considering a move to another state. A psychologist’s salary is significantly higher than that of a counselor. According to PayScale.com, psychologists specializing in child and adult psychiatry will earn the most. The median salary for adult psychiatrists is $153,000, and child psychiatrists earn about $160,000. The highest salaries are earned by those who practice in medical hospitals, nursing facilities, outpatient facilities, and government agencies. Lower salaries were found in Christian counseling where counselors earned between $45,000 – $50,000. Websites such as Payscale.com and Salary.com are great locations to learn more about average salaries in your field. With Salary.com, you can find a wealth of information by just typing in a title and zip code. Payscale.com provides information on “where the jobs are”, largest employers in the field, average salaries, and hiring demographics. Salary information is helpful when considering an occupation and can be used as a negotiating tool when accepting a new job offer.