The best paid careers in psychology.
Psychology is an amazingly diverse subject, with roots in many fields. Of course, with this diversity, you can expect a very diverse range of pay between them all. This post will show the highest paid jobs in psychology, in order from highest to lowest.
Please note: The pay for psychology jobs vary depending on where you live! This list ‘mixes’ the pay between jobs in the UK and USA. However, all these are subject to change depending on geography and general changes over time.
In the USA, this is deemed the highest paying job that has it’s roots in psychology. The reason there is a * by the name is that you require much more training to be a psychiatrist than just a psychology degree. Typically, a psychiatrist will require medical qualifications (usually around 8 years AFTER an advanced psychology degree) before they are ready for employment. Work typically involves the diagnosis of mental illness and prescription of suitable medication. The pay range is still very varied depending on the nature of the work. The average pay is between $120,000 and $180,000 a year (£75,000 – 112,000), although some can make in excess of $250,000 (£156,000) a year when working in the private sector.
Occupational (aka organisational/industrial) Psychologist
Occupational psychology is concerned with psychology in the business environment. They improve the functioning of businesses by improving performance of staff through training, improving staff morale and job satisfaction, and maximising the effectiveness of small groups at work. Occupational psychologists make $60,000 (£37,000) on average, but can make up to $160,000 (£100,000) when working for private businesses. Pay also depends on level of expertise, length of contracts and geography.
Clinical Psychology deals with the psychopathology of people and reducing mental illness where possible. The main difference between a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist (except, of course, the pay) is that clinical psychologists are not qualified to prescribe medicine. A clinical psychologist can expect to make in the region of approx $40,000 (£25,000) to $125,000 (£80,000) for senior positions. Again, pay varies depending on experience, geography and whether you work in the private or public sector.
Education psychologists generally work to help young people in education overcome obstacles and difficulties whilst learning. This includes helping teachers become more aware of social factors that influence learning, and helping to enhance the ways in which teachers teach children. They can work in a variety of fields, from Local Education Authorities (LEA’s) to schools and colleges. On average, an educational psychologist can expect to make between $40,000 (£25,000) for starting positions and $90,000 (£54,500) for more senior positions. As always, pay will depend on expertise and location.
Forensic psychology and forensic psychology degree programs focus on the psychology of legal processes in courts. It may also involve the assessment of criminal behaviour and understanding the psychology behind such behaviour. Forensic psychologists are NOT like the criminal investigators in CSI! Maybe the psychological aspects, but certainly not crime scene investigation. Forensic psychologists are employed mainly by prisons, but are also seen in rehabilitation settings (such as hospitals and clinics). Forensic psychologists can expect to make between $32,000 (£20,000) and $90,000 (54,500) depending on, you guessed it, expertise and location.
There are graduate programs in forensic psychology available through accredited online schools.
So there you have it, some of the top paid jobs to be found in psychology. It is worth noting that all of the above require extra qualifications AFTER completing a 3 year accredited psychology degree. Most also require at least 1-2 years of applied work experience in a relevant setting. So, you can expect to be learning for around 7 years before you can even start. Of course, that is no reason to be disheartened! Psychology careers are as rewarding as they are fascinating, so (in my opinion) 7 years is a very worthy investment.
Also, the pay indicated in this post was correct at the time of writing – my source being the BPS website and other reliable web sources. To see more, visit the BPS psychology areas section.