Highest Paying Psychology Careers

If you have an online degree in psychology, you can seek employment in a variety of industries. It is important to note that the more education you have in psychology, the better your job prospects will be. In other words, those who have a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology, tend to have the highest salaries. With an advanced degree, you can even enter medical school and become a child psychiatrist or general psychiatrist. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), the two highest paying careers for those who have advanced degrees in psychology are child psychiatry and general psychiatry. If you are interested in finding out what psychology careers have the highest salaries – you have come to the right place. This article will help you determine your earning potential in the various areas of psychology.

Highest Paying Psychology Careers

Child Psychiatrist

The highest paying career that is based on a psychology degree is child psychiatry. A child psychiatrist is a physician (M.D.) who has completed at least 8 years of medical training, beyond his/her degrees (B.S., M.S./M.M.F.T. and/or a Ph.D./Psy.D.) in psychology. A child psychiatrist is required to complete four years of medical school (including a clinical internship) and four years of psychiatric residency treating children and teens who have psychological disorders and/or mental illnesses. As a child psychiatrist, you will treat a variety of adolescents (i.e. children and teens) with moderate-to-severe emotional and psychiatric issues.

The adolescents who come to you will more than likely need prescription psychiatric medications (i.e. anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, etc.). It is important to note that although, psychiatry can be quite overwhelming and stressful (at times), it can also be very rewarding. Child psychiatrists who have a background in psychology (i.e. child psychology, school psychology, developmental psychology, etc.) tend to make approximately $160,000 per year, on average.

General Psychiatrist

The next highest paying psychology-based career is general psychiatry. A general psychiatrist receives the same education and training as a child psychiatrist, but this psychiatrist does not specialize in a particular field. In other words, a general psychiatrist treats a variety of people and issues. As a general psychiatrist, you may counsel adolescents (i.e. children and teens) on adjustment issues (i.e. bullying, moving to a new state and/or school, the addition of a baby brother or sister, a blended family, divorce, a new step-parent, etc.), adults who are experiencing anxiety, phobias, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and elderly people (geriatric psychiatry) who are experiencing clinical depression, hallucinations, delusions or anxiety. General psychiatrists who have a background in psychology (i.e. child psychology, school psychology, general psychology, clinical psychology, geriatric psychology, developmental psychology, etc.) tend to make approximately $150,000 per year, on average.

Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

The highest paying (100%) psychology career is industrial/organizational psychology. An industrial/organizational psychologist uses his/her background in psychology to help organizations (i.e. companies and businesses) increase employee quality and production and improve workplace morale. The goal is to help these organizations increase revenue and retain employees. As an industrial/organizational psychologist, your main function will be to help organizations with their hiring processes, offer valuable suggestions and monitor employee health (mental, emotional and physical) and well-being. Industrial/organizational psychologists tend to make approximately $70,000 to $80,000 per year, on average.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychology is another high paying psychology career. A clinical psychologist administers psychological evaluations and counsels a variety of clients on their issues (i.e. emotional distress, psychological disorders, adjustment issues, mental illnesses, etc.). As a clinical psychologist, you may administer psych evaluations, diagnose mental illnesses and psychological disorders and develop treatment plans. Clinical psychologists tend to make approximately $60,000 to $75,000 per year, on average.

Forensic Psychologist

Lastly, forensic psychology is in the top five highest paying psychology careers. A forensic psychologist uses his/her psychology degree to help the legal community. In other words, as a forensic psychologist, you will work with law enforcement and the court system to evaluate possible criminals and to offer psychological guidance on the likelihood that a particular individual will repeat a crime or similar crime again. You may also be called to testify as an expert witness in court, advise attorneys on jury selection or act as a consultant for a particular case. Moreover, your job function may consist of criminal profiling and/or victim advocacy. Forensic psychologists tend to make approximately $50,000 to $60,000 per year on average.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. Occupational Employment Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Psychologists. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social- science/psychologists.htm

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