Psychologist Salary and Benefits

A career in psychology can provide a lifetime of rewards. Certainly one of the most important will be the positive impact you will have on peoples’ mental health, their lives, and relationships. Another benefit will be your salary. On average, a psychologists salary is about 112% higher than the national average annual salary. Let’s look at the statistics related to psychologist salaries.

National Pscyhologist Salaries

According to the 2016 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a psychologist makes an average of $78,690 per year; 112% more than the national average for all occupations ($37,040).

Similarly to the BLS, reports the national psychologists salary average to be $79,908 as of July 2017 and reports the national median salary to be $74,774.

State Psychologist Salaries

All reported salary averages are dependent on the sample size and the demographic and geographic spread of the respondents; as you’ll see below, salaries from the BLS range dramatically by geographic region. Coastal states and the upper mid-west are the highest paying states for psychologists.

Psychologist Salaries by Level of Experience

While an advanced degree provides a great foundation for a psychology career, and is typically required, the field of psychology is also about working with people – which makes real-world, on-the-job experience invaluable. For instance, according to, you can see that the best psychology salaries generally go to those with the most experience.

  • Entry-level experience (0-5 yrs) = $65,000
  • Mid-career (5-10 years) = $80,000
  • Experienced (10-20 years) = $89,000
  • Late-career (>20 years) = $98,000

Psychology Salaries by Career

According to, the following are the reported average yearly psychology salaries in for five of the most popular psychology careers:

Experience0-5 yr5-10 yrs10-20 yrs>20 yrs
Clinical Psychologist$69,000$78,000$90,000$94,000
Counseling Psychologist$53,000$64,000$65,000$72,000
Forensic Psychologist$60,000$72,000$82,000$118,000
School Psychologist$54,000$60,000$66,000$72,000
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist$61,000$94,000$112,000$131,000

Factors That Influence Psychology Salaries

As in all career fields, your salary as a psychologist will be influenced by a variety of factors. What you earn as a professional may be higher or lower than the average national salary based on the following factors:

  1. Geographic Location

    Where you choose to work will play a big part in determining how much you’ll earn as a psychologist. For instance, in New York City, salaries for qualified psychologists are typically much higher than in rural locations, such as Lincoln, Nebraska. However, when considering location, you must also take into account the cost of living. The cost of living in New York City is much higher than it is Lincoln, Nebraska. Whether you decide to work in the big city or choose to set up shop in a rural town, your salary will likely be similar to that of other psychologists in your area. Check out the national salaries by state in the map above.

  2. Work Experience

    All things being equal, work experience is one of the largest factors influencing salaries. For recent college graduates, or those just getting started, salaries are often lower than for psychologists who’ve been working in the industry for several years. Experience is a great qualifier and a great teacher. With time, your skills as a psychologist as well as your confidence will increase. Another benefit of experience is developing your professional reputation. You’ll gain recognition among your peers and reputation within your community that will help to sustain and grow your business and professional worth.

  3. Education Level

    As you attain higher levels of education your earning potential will increase, as will your attractiveness to potential employers and partners. Psychologists with a master’s or doctoral degree usually have the best job prospects. Earning an advanced degree will not only expand your job prospects, but it will enable you to negotiate a higher salary or compensation package.

  4. Type of Industry

    The industry you choose to work in, as well as your psychology specialty, will greatly impact your near and long-term earning potential. For example, industrial and organizational psychologists working for a large corporation will likely earn more than their counterparts working in other healthcare industries. For some psychology specialties, hospitals and clinics tend to pay higher salaries than other employers and vice versa.

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