10 Highest Paying Psychology Jobs

by Patricia O. Urquiaga | Sep 21, 2021 | behavioral health, counselor, Healthcare, mental health, psychiatrist, psychologist, psychology, psychology career, psychology field, psychology jobs, therapist
10 Highest Paying Psychology Jobs

Are you considering a job in the psychology field?

Jobs in the psychology field can be challenging, but full of opportunities and at the same time rewarding because you are personally helping individuals learn to cope more effectively with life issues and mental health problems.

When considering psychology jobs, professionals should have a great understanding of the educational requirements, skills needed, role and responsibilities, experience and licenses/certifications required.

The psychology field offers several diverse positions, and as mental health professionals you’ll have the opportunity to choose between various occupational settings such as hospitals, private practice, schools etc. that best suit your personality and career goals.

Let’s take a look at the 10 highest paying psychology jobs according to Indeed and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  1. Psychiatrist (national average salary $224,103): Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who’ve completed psychiatric training. Their role is to diagnose mental conditions (i.e., personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, phobias, addiction etc.), prescribe and monitor medications and provide therapy. Some psychiatrists may use non-medicinal practices such as biofeedback, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat mental illnesses. To become a psychiatrist, you must earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), plus complete a residency training in psychiatry. To practice, psychiatrists must be licensed by licensure boards in each state where they intend to practice. They may also seek board certification by the Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.
  2. Psychiatric Nurse (national average salary $110,495): Psychiatric nurses assess, diagnose, and provide therapy for mental health conditions or substance use disorders. Many times, they recommend psychotherapy, medication, or both. To become a psychiatric nurse, you must earn your Associate and/or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In addition, psychiatric nurses must complete a licensing exam and earn a certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
  3. Industrial Organizational Psychologist (national average salary $109,030): Industrial organizational psychologists are known for applying psychology principles to various work settings. Their role is to assess employees work habits, personal interactions, managers supervisory styles and concerns to come up with an effective plan for that particular organization, which also includes suggestions on how to better structure teams, redirect workflow, how to improve work-life balance, resolve work conflicts and more. Professionals seeking industrial organizational psychologist roles must have strong observational and listening skills. To become an industrial organizational psychologist, you must earn a Master’s in Organizational Psychology, a Ph.D. in Psychology and/or a Doctor of Psychology.
  4. Clinical Psychologists (national average salary $95,837): Clinical psychologists focus on all aspects of an individual’s mental health issues. To develop the best form of treatment, they use direct observation and perform psychological testing. Primarily, when treating individuals, clinical psychologists listen to patient histories to identify trauma, depression, anxiety and other forms of disorders or addictions. The next step is to then come up with a treatment plan for the patient which also includes goals monitored by the clinical psychologist. To become a clinical psychologist, you must earn a Ph.D. in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology. A one-year internship is recommended to gain hands-on experience.
  5. Psychology Professor (national average salary $88,490): Psychology professors take their psychology expertise and apply it to the classroom setting at the university level. In addition to teaching, their role includes creating curriculums, developing assignments, administering, and grading tests and possibly even completing experimental research and publishing academic papers. To become a psychology professor, you must earn a Master of Arts in Psychology and depending on the type of employment you are seeking, a Doctor of Psychology might be required.
  6. Registered Mental Health Nurse (national average salary $77,280): The role of a registered mental health nurse is to assess, diagnose and provide therapy for mental health conditions or substance use disorders. Registered mental health nurses work with individuals and their families in a private or group setting and at times they coordinate with community groups and services to provide more comprehensive care. To become a registered mental health nurse, you must earn your Bachelor of Science and/or a Master of Science (M.S.) in Nursing with a focus on mental health care. To practice, registered mental health nurses must be licensed by licensure boards in each state where they intend to practice.
  7. Mental Health Technician (national average salary $67,430): Mental health technicians have two major roles – 1) to provide operational assistance to doctors and 2) to help throughout a patient’s therapeutic journey. This includes taking part in intake to clinics or other facilities, assessing individuals social and psychological challenges, initiating treatment plans, administering medications, transporting patients to appointments, coordinating social services (i.e., housing, transportation etc.) among various other tasks. To become a mental health technician, you must earn a high school diploma and/or an Associate’s Degree.
  8. School Psychologists (national average salary $66,642): School psychologists often are compared to guidance counselors. They tend to work with students in K-12 schools. The role of a school psychologist is to help students achieve academic success while managing physical or intellectual disabilities and challenges at home. Additionally, they work with other faculty to develop the best and most appropriate curriculum for students’ academic skills and interests – and they may also refer students to other staff to address disciplinary issues. Outside of K-12 schools, school psychologists may also find employment with private organizations, local mental health centers and even residential treatment facilities. To become a school psychologist, you must earn a Master’s Degree. If you plan on working as a consultant in private practice, a Ph.D. might be required. To gain additional experience, internships are recommended.
  9. Recreational Therapist (national average salary $60,689): As a recreational therapist, your primary role is to treat and maintain a patients physical and emotional health. To do this, recreational therapists use a combination of techniques including music, art, dance, sports and more – all with a goal to help stimulate a patient’s activity levels. To become a recreational therapist, you must earn a Bachelor’s Degree in recreational therapy or a related field. In some cases, employers may require recreational therapists to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
  10. Guidance Counselor (national average salary $48,992): Guidance counselors help students in elementary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary schools have successful and healthy academic lives. In addition, they help these students’ overcome challenges at home or in their social lives. At times, counseling sessions with these students may include their entire family. To become a guidance counselor, you must earn your Master’s Degree in school counseling. During your program, you will be required to complete a graduate (supervised) internship to best prepare you for employment. Depending on the state in which you intend to work, you might be required to obtain additional certifications/licensures.

As you can see, the field of psychology consists of various specialty and sub-specialty areas.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of psychology is expected to increase by approximately 12% between 2012 and 2022. In other words, this means more psychology jobs will be available to candidates looking to enter the field.

Choosing between which psychology jobs to pursue is a big decision. In addition to salary, there are other factors such as job outlook, experience, location, occupational setting, quality of life, etc. you’ll need to evaluate to see how it complements your personality and life goals.

In the end, remember that if you are looking to enter the psychology field, it should be because it’s something you truly love and are passionate about.


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