Psychologist job overview:
- On average, psychologists make around $68,000 per year (and up to $150,000 per year).
- Job opportunities will be best for those with doctorate degrees.
- About 29 percent of psychologists work in educational settings.
What do psychologists do?
The definition of a psychologist, according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), is a trained professional who “studies mental processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people and other animals relate to one another and the environment.”
Say what? Don’t they just listen to people on couches complain?
Not quite. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common kinds of psychologists.
- Clinical psychologists help people cope with problems in their everyday life and provide therapy to help people improve their mental health. They’re the ones who will discover that your fear of flying stems from an incident that happened when you were eight, involving your mom, a bag of fries and a stuffed rabbit named Boris. You’ll usually find clinical psychologists at crisis counseling centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and individual or group practices.
- School psychologists work with children in elementary, middle and high schools. They work closely with teachers and parents to address students’ behavioral problems and learning disabilities, and also to identify gifted and talented students. They also can work at institutions that house psychologically damaged children. These jobs are stressful (and can involve restraining a violent child, believe it or not) but can be very rewarding.
- Industrial psychologists focus on the workplace. They work with management to help improve the quality of employees’ work life by restructuring or reorganizing existing companies. They are frequently consultants, which means they may travel around the country – or around the world – visiting factories and offices.
- Forensic psychologists work in the legal system to help detectives, FBI agents, lawyers, judges and others to understand the psychological findings involved in a particular case.
How much do psychologists make?
Clinical and school psychologists make $64,000 a year, on average. Industrial psychologists, on the other hand, make an average of $77,000 a year. Get your doctorate and you could be making nearly $150,000. Now that’s a salary that makes even us want to change careers.
What are the education requirements to be a psychologist?
You will also likely need accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA) or your local state board. Accreditation can vary depending on what field you decide to enter and can require either testing or proof of experience. Sorry, watching re-runs of “Frasier” doesn’t count as experience.
Career paths for psychologists
After getting a doctoral degree and a little experience, you might decide to enter private practice. In fact, about a third of psychologists are self-employed, and most of them are private practitioners. Set your own office hours, help people improve their lives and make good money. What’s not to love?
About 29 percent of experienced psychologists go on to help train and educate the next generation of psychologists by going on to work at high schools, colleges and universities.
The future of psychologist jobs
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for psychologists are growing at an average pace. Job prospects will be the best for people who have a doctoral degree in counseling or health and those with a specialty or doctoral degree in school psychology.