FAQ: How Much Does a Psychology Ph.D. Make?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 3, 2022

Earning a doctoral degree can give you the opportunity to increase your knowledge, improve your skills and advance your career in your chosen field. Earning a doctoral degree, like a Ph.D. in psychology, can help you find and obtain a lucrative and meaningful career. Learning about the earning potential of this field can help you find a role that matches your preferences and requirements. In this article, we answer the question "how much does a psychology Ph.D. make?" and provide 12 potential jobs you might consider with a psychology Ph.D., along with salaries and duties for each.

What is a psychology Ph.D.?

A psychology Ph.D. is a graduate degree that mental health professionals earn to prepare for a career in psychology. After completing bachelor's and master's degree work in a relevant field like psychology or mental health counseling, a psychology Ph.D. may complete a doctoral program focused on specialized course work involving counseling, research or other clinical practices. As a part of their program, they may also complete a dissertation project in their desired field. Some examples of specialized areas of doctoral study include clinical, counseling and school psychology.

How much does a psychology Ph.D. make?

The national average salary for a psychologist is $95,308 per year. This number represents an average across types of psychology, which means that it can vary greatly depending on field or specialty. A psychology Ph.D.'s salary can also vary based on the industry they pursue. For example, some doctoral graduates in psychology may find positions in the health care, research, commercial or manufacturing fields.

Related: All About Psychology Jobs and Common Careers

12 jobs for those with a psychology Ph.D.

Here are 12 jobs you can do with a Ph.D. in psychology. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:

  • 1. Recreation therapist

  • National average salary: $46,818 per year

  • Primary duties: A recreation therapist uses recreational activities to help patients increase mental health and improve physical and mental abilities. Some activities they may use in their therapeutic practice include physical activities like games or sports, arts and crafts, dance or music. Often working with children, older adults, or those with disabilities, a recreation therapist may develop specialized programs to help patients solve problems or improve functioning. For example, they may help a patient develop strategies for lessening their anxiety by creating art.

  • 2. School psychologist

  • National average salary: $52,035 per year

  • Primary duties: A school psychologist is an educational and mental health professional who supports students in all aspects of their emotional, mental and academic functioning. They may provide students with psychological counseling and services to reduce stress, improve behavior or support emotional health. By listening to students' issues and providing guidance and advice, a school psychologist can help students improve academic performance and mental health.

  • 3. Professor

  • National average salary: $53,627 per year

  • Primary duties: A professor instructs college-level students in their specialized areas of expertise. They may offer generalized instruction to students in fields like algebra, biology, English or history. They may also teach upper-level courses or seminars in specific areas like American literature, forensic psychology or advanced calculus. This may involve creating lesson or lecture plans to engage students and gauging student learning through exams or projects.

  • 4. Family therapist

  • National average salary: $59,325 per year

  • Primary duties: A family therapist, also known as a marriage and family therapist, provides counseling for individuals, families or couples. Their therapy sessions may focus on the role of the family in a client's mental health. To solve problems or offer emotional support, a family therapist may discuss aspects of a client's family life and how it affects their daily functioning. They may then help a client create strategies for improving individual functioning or strengthening relationships.

  • 5. Market researcher

  • National average salary: $59,420 per year

  • Primary duties: A market researcher is a marketing professional who uses analytical skills to forecast marketing and sales trends, measure the effectiveness of marketing programs and create data-driven strategies to help businesses meet sales or growth goals. They may design and evaluate data collection measures like customer surveys, questionnaires or polls. They may then collect and analyze data from these measures to draw conclusions or make recommendations. The research skills learned in a psychology graduate program can help market researchers succeed in their roles.

  • 6. Addiction counselor

  • National average salary: $63,605 per year

  • Primary duties: An addiction counselor, or substance abuse counselor, provides counseling services for those with drug or alcohol dependencies, eating disorders or other related behavioral problems. They may help clients create strategies to become sober, maintain sobriety or improve overall functioning. This may involve listening to clients' concerns or problems, offering support and guidance and developing strategies to engage clients' families and other supporters.

  • 7. Clinical supervisor

  • National average salary: $67,277 per year

  • Primary duties: A clinical supervisor works in a mental health setting to oversee the work of counselors and other care providers. They may supervise the daily operations of a care center to ensure quality care that complies with relevant regulations and standards. This may require a clinical supervisor to mentor and train care providers or to counsel clients when staffing challenges arise.

  • 8. Licensed clinical social worker

National average salary: $68,308 per year

Primary duties: A licensed clinical social worker provides emotional support, mental health evaluations, therapy and case management to those with emotional, psychological or physical conditions or disabilities. They may work in a variety of settings, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies or hospitals. In many cases, they may work with organizations that provide necessary services for those who can't meet their basic needs for health and well-being. Within these settings, a licensed clinical social worker may provide necessary mental health services and evaluation to improve quality of life.

Related: Learn About Being a Clinical Social Worker

9. Researcher

  • National average salary: $70,460 per year

  • Primary duties: A researcher works in a laboratory setting to create hypotheses, gather data, test assumptions and draw conclusions. This may involve designing, running and interpreting experiments with humans or other subjects. Working in a variety of fields, a researcher can provide knowledge about their area of specialty. This knowledge can influence policy decisions, public opinion or overall understanding of a field. A psychology Ph.D. may pursue a research position involving topics such as social, educational or forensic psychology.

  • 10. Human resources manager

  • National average salary: $70,490 per year

  • Primary duties: A human resources manager oversees the operation of a business' human resources department. This may involve developing and implementing hiring and training policies, providing support for new and current employees and creating policies and events to improve company culture. Since a human resources manager may benefit from understanding human behavior and personalities, this role may be a good fit for those with training in psychology.

  • Related: Learn About Being an HR Manager

  • 11. Clinical psychologist

  • National average salary: $96,095 per year

  • Primary duties: A clinical psychologist provides diagnoses and treatments for mental, behavioral and emotional illnesses. They may specialize in treating those with severe mental health issues like depression or anxiety. To do this, they may listen to patients' concerns and problems and create strategies to help them live successful and happy lives.

  • Related: Learn About Being a Clinical Psychologist

  • 12. Behavioral specialist

  • National average salary: $118,351 per year

  • Primary duties: A behavioral specialist provides care and support for those with behavioral or developmental illnesses or disabilities. They may work with children or adults to develop strategies for improving behavior and increasing the ability to function in society. This may involve developing treatment plans, monitoring patient progress and evaluating and understanding patient behavior through psychological tests and other measures.

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