The top 25 psychology majors are worth over $100,000 in salary (2023)

To start a career in psychology, you must be willing to spend years studying. With few exceptions, all psychology majors require a Ph.D., which requires an average of 8.2 years of continuous study. After that, various internships and supervised work must be completed. For this reason, a psychology degree is not for everyone. However, there are also many lucrative career options that you can consider if you complete all necessary education, licensure, registration and certification. In general, though, psychologists train because they have a genuine desire to make the world a better place. The fact that they can win a decent amount of money in this race is secondary.

pay for your education

Since the path to becoming a psychologist is such a long educational path, it also requires significant financial resources. However, there are countless ways to fund this education, as long as you know how to find it. About half of psychologists complete the entire training course without debt, showing just how many options there are.

Some of the most common places to look for funding are:

  • The school you choose. They often have scholarships for those who want to study psychology.
  • The federal government. There are several grants, grants and awards. Institutions such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense have options available. In addition, there are tax credits and tax deductions.
  • State psychological organizations also offer grants.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) offers "Awards, Honors and Research Fellowships". They also have the Minority Scholarship Program.
  • APAGS, student branch of APA. They offer a number of different awards, grants and scholarships.
  • American Psychological Foundation, which awards grants ranging from $300 to $25,000.
  • Different APA departments that offer money for specific areas of psychological studies.
  • Niche organizations, with the Society for Neuroscience and the Association for Psychological Science being two of the best.
  • Psi Chi, International Society of Honors in Psychology.
  • Private foundations including the International Dissertation Research Fellowship Program, the Beinecke Fellowship Program, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowships and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Psychology of Career Information

The field of psychology is incredibly broad, with many subspecialty areas. Because of this, it is difficult to paint a true picture of career development in this field. However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the average salary for a psychologist is $70,700 per year. In 2014, there were 173.9 thousand jobs. Job prospects between 2014 and 2024 are at 19%, much higher than average. The variation in employment between 2014 and 2024 means an increase of 32,500 jobs.

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Let's take a look at the top 25 psychology graduates with salaries over $100k. Keep in mind that many of these careers have average salaries closer to the average psychology mark ($70,700). However, years of experience, geographic location, the organization you work for, and training will all help place you in the top 10% earning, bringing your salary to over $100,000 a year.

1. TV Personality

Perhaps the most famous psychologist in the world is Dr. Phil. He earns around $80 million a year. Unfortunately, their riches and accomplishments are very hard to come by. You are probably less likely to imitate him than to win the lottery!

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2. Adult psychiatrist

As with a child psychiatrist, you must complete a lengthy residency program to be classified as an expert in the field. You will use a variety of therapeutic tools at your disposal to improve your patients' mental health. Median income is in the range of $204,000.

3. Child and adolescent psychiatrist

Your mission in this position will be to improve the mental health of children and youth. Again, it means graduation from medical school and an eight-year residency. In this position, you can expect to earn around $204,000 annually.

4. Geriatric Medical Psychiatry

Although salaries vary by location, some geriatric psychiatric physicians have reported earning in excess of $204,000 per year. However, these physicians completed medical school, four years of residency, a doctorate, and several specialty courses. They can also diagnose dementia and Alzheimer's, for example.

5. Outpatient psychiatrist

After completing medical school and four years of training, you can expect to earn around $203,000 annually for this position. You work with people who are mentally ill, but they don't have to go to the hospital. Typically, you will work with the tools of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy to improve your patients' lives.

6. Psychiatrist

These doctors, trained in medicine and psychiatry/psychology, typically earn around $198,000, depending on where they work. In particular, his focus will be on mental disorders, diagnosing and treating patients according to their needs. In most cases, it will focus on a specific demographic.

7. Forensic Psychiatrist

In this position, which requires years of study, including medical school and residency, you will work primarily in the prison and court system. They monitor and diagnose patients with mental illnesses. Part of his role will be to provide expert testimony about a person's mental capacity to stand trial, but he will also focus on the psychology behind issues such as psychopathy. Revenue is around $193,000 per year.

8. Gerontologist

As a gerontologist, you deal specifically with the area of ​​aging. As in psychiatry, a medical degree is usually required to enter this profession, including four years of residency and a fellowship in gerontology or psychology or psychiatry. Its mission will be to analyze the behavior of the elderly in order to help them improve their quality of life in general. You can expect to earn over $191,000.

9. Engineering Psychologist

Engineering psychology is even younger than industrial organizational psychology, and growth in this field is even faster. These psychologists focus on finding ways to improve human behavior through technology. These careers are among the most rewarding out there as they allow people to work safely but also productively and enjoyable all the time. A PhD is generally required in this field. As with industrial organizational psychology, there is a large pay gap depending on where you work and how long you worked. In the private sector, you can earn more with an average salary of $179,160. In a government agency, the salary drops to around $107,314.

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10. Resident Clinical Psychiatrist

This is a specialty of psychiatry where you work with patients who have been admitted to hospitals or similar institutions because of their mental health issues. Its job is to analyze and diagnose thoughts and behaviors and develop a treatment plan. This includes ordering tests, prescribing medications, and determining the best form of therapy. Earnings usually start around $178,000, but this particular area requires a lot of training to get started.

11. Child psychiatrist

Child psychiatrist position is the most sought after specialization in the field of psychology. As a result, the earning potential is also very high, averaging around $160,000 per year. As a child psychiatrist, just like a regular psychiatrist, you also need to complete medical school and residency. However, the stay here lasts eight instead of four years.

12. Psychiatrist

Becoming a psychiatrist takes even longer than becoming a psychologist. This is also the reason why it is one of the best payment options in this space. The average salary ranges from $159,300 to $188,210 per year, which means that the top 10% earn even more. However, to become a psychiatrist, you must complete about eight years of graduate school. They must also complete medical school and complete a four-year residency. However, this does allow you to prescribe psychiatric drugs as long as you have the correct license and registration.

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13. Clinical Therapist in private practice

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The average salary for a clinical therapist in private practice is $150,000 per year. Interestingly, this field of work requires slightly less training, as some complete a fellowship in therapeutic practice in six to eight years. However, the higher your education, the more you can earn. A very important factor in how much you can earn is reputation. This is because you will be working independently, so the patients you can gain will also determine how much you can charge. The demand for practicing psychologists is increasing, and more consistently than in the general field of psychology. Again, this is because you are working for yourself, so your success depends more on your ability to attract new customers than the demand itself.

14. Neuropsychologist

As a neuropsychologist, you deal with cognition and the brain. Primarily they develop brain injury assessments, perform brain scans, and create other types of cognitive diagnostic tests. I will probably also do research on drugs, learning processes and cognition. In most cases, neuropsychologists work for hospitals, psychiatric clinics and universities. A doctorate in clinical neuropsychology or normal neuropsychology is required. The top 10% of neuropsychologists report earning $143,476 per year despite having six to 10 years of professional experience.

15. Sports Psychologist

The average salary for a sports psychologist is not among the highest in psychology. However, there is a chance you could work for a national team, especially in sports that attract a lot of national interest. If so, you can expect to earn around $143,000 a year. Your role is to determine the impact of stress levels and competitive environments, preventing burnout and managing potential fame throughout your life.

16. Industrial Organizational Psychologist

This is a relatively new area of ​​psychology and interest in it is very high. Understanding workplace behavior, mapping employee engagement processes, driving innovation and much more are part of the role of work organization psychologists. While an entry-level position can be achieved with a bachelor's degree, those who earn the most have a Ph.D. As it is a relatively new area with so much demand, people can negotiate very attractive salaries. However, there are big differences between the jobs. For example, top earners can expect to earn $125,980 if they work for scientific consulting services. That salary drops to $107,850 for those working in scientific research and development.

17. Specialist in geriatrics

As a specialist in geriatric care, you will deal with the psychology of older people. Your job will be to make sure they make the right decisions regarding general medical care, but you can also advise them on where to live and how to adjust to a new environment. This area is very complex and incredibly important to the community as a whole as it focuses on emotional and physical well-being. The earning potential is around $122,000.

18. Military Psychologist

As a military psychologist, you will work primarily with service members, their families, and veterans. His median annual salary is currently $120,538, and demand is expected to increase by about 14% through 2024. Cash. This means that your educational path will take 8-10 years, but sooner or later additional military training may also be required. Once qualified, much of your work will focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and also provide psychological assessments to determine if someone is a good fit for specific positions or tasks.

19. Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists don't make more than $100,000 a year on average unless you're in the top 10%. Becoming a forensic psychologist is very hard work and involves a journey that is not for everyone. You will be involved in solving crimes that are often quite gruesome in nature. They also have to work with suspects, victims and perpetrators, for example. In many cases, you will also be asked to testify in court. The top 10% of forensic psychologists earn $117,470 per year. However, most make $85,000 and are employed by the federal government.

20. Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work with people with emotional and mental disorders. They provide individual and group therapy in a variety of settings including clinics, schools, private practices, inpatient and outpatient clinics, psychiatric hospitals and more. This area requires a doctorate, residency, and license exam. Salaries vary widely, but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the top 10% earners can expect to earn $109,340 or more.

21. Small business owner

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The advantage of a small business is that you can work in any direction you like. While most small business psychologists have their own practices, others will find an area of ​​specialization that interests them for some other reason, including research or education. Furthermore, innovation management is a very interesting field. They earn an average of $104,000 per year.

22. Advertising Agent

As an advertising agent, there is no direct PhD requirement. However, the higher your title, the more you can negotiate your salary. The median salary for this job is $102,000. Your role will mainly consist of making presentations and advertisements that appeal to the customer's psyche, thus increasing sales.

23. Director of Consulting Services

Consulting services directors are responsible for managing human resources and business development within a consulting firm. Your job is to ensure that team management has a clear direction and vision to deliver quality services. You can expect to earn around $102,000 a year.

24. Social behaviorist

In this role, you observe how people behave in the community or other social settings and try to understand why. You do this by analyzing data and your insights are used to improve the world as a whole. With annual earnings of around $101,000, this is a very lucrative career.

25. Company Manager

Often, business leaders no longer work in psychology, even though their focus is on organizational development. Because of this, they can enter the workforce with just a bachelor's degree in psychology, which takes just four years to complete. However, the higher the education, the more they earn and the majority also complete a master's degree. The earning potential is around $100,000 per year. Big business might be an unusual specialization for someone who has studied the mind, but in fact economics and management are a very important part of psychology and can be very interesting.

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What is the highest paid psychology major? ›

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.

Is psychology a high paying major? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $115,650 and as low as $24,399, the majority of salaries within the Psychology Bachelor Degree jobs category currently range between $37,573 (25th percentile) to $70,267 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $96,130 annually in California.

Can I make 6 figures with a psychology degree? ›

Among U.S. students who graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology, about 17% of these grads earned at least $90,000 in 2019, according to the American Psychological Association. People with advanced degrees can earn even more.

What are the salaries for a psychology major? ›

Psychology major graduates in the United States of America make on average $40,858 a year or $19.64 per hour.

Is psychology a respected major? ›

Psychologists can find work in a wide range of fields. This includes jobs in schools, hospitals, substance abuse treatment, social services, and applied psychologists for businesses. Also, a psychology degree is highly valued in the job market because of the range of skills psychology majors acquire.

Is being a psychology major worth it? ›

A degree in psychology opens up many opportunities to have a positive effect on someone's life. For example, as a practitioner in the field, you may help people overcome the effects of trauma, deal with a mental illness, face a mental health crisis or achieve personal goals.


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