How to Get the Best Psyd Salary

Those who want to practice in the area of psychology should think about the benefits of earning their doctor of psychology degree or PsyD. It’s important to remember that a PsyD is very different from the Ph.D. in psychology because it is far more clinically-based than research based. This means that if you want to work directly with patients and address their mental health needs in a more direct capacity, then you may find that the Psy D degree is more beneficial for you.

Although people generally find themselves being drawn to the career of psychology because of their desire to help others, it’s worth noting that salary has a big part to play when it comes to determining whether a person feels that a doctorate degree is worth the time and effort. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has found that the average annual salary for psychologists was around $72,580 as of 2015.

Why Earn a PsyD

Naturally, those who obtain a PsyD will generally be more capable of applying for higher-paying jobs than someone who has a master’s degree in psychology. However, it’s worth remembering that obtaining this degree will also take a lot of time and money, and you’ll need to consider whether you’re actually going to see a return on that investment. You will also need to attach some value to the personal satisfaction that you’ll get from earning a more advanced degree.

Psychologists are responsible for studying emotional, cognitive, and social processes and different behaviors. They work by interpreting, observing, and recording how different people relate to each other within their specific environments. While some psychologists work independently, consulting with clients and conducting research, others work as part of a comprehensive healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and other experts.

On a full-time basis, it will usually take between four and five years in total to finish a PsyD degree. This will involve completing a thesis that must also be defended. What’s more, you will need to finish a year-long internship, which can be unpaid.

Education Level

There are a lot of differences in earnings depending on the type of psychology education that you receive. For instance, in a 2012 study, it was found that:

  • Industrial organizations earned an average of around $85,580.
  • Clinical and counseling psychologists earned around $67,650.
  • Other kinds of psychologists received a typical salary of around $90,020.

Another important factor that can influence the salary that you get as a psychologist is the industry in which you are employed. The BLS has reported that around 50% of all psychologists currently enjoy some annual earnings of between $48,000 and $82,000. However, the differences in industries can be dramatic. For instance:

  • Those employed in outpatient care might earn around $59,000.
  • Those employed in individual and family services earn around $57,000.
  • Those employed in elementary and secondary schools earn around $65,000.
  • Those employed in healthcare offices earn around $68,000.

Knowing where to focus your education while earning your doctorate degree might help you to achieve a higher salary. One of the fastest growing areas within psychology at this time is connected with industrial-organizational technology. The BLS has reported that this particular part of the industry will grow by around 53% from 2012 to 2022.

Experience Level

One of the most interesting areas that you can work in as a PsyD graduate is probably clinical psychology. Not only is it possible to earn a very competitive salary in this area, but you can also look forward to very strong job growth.

It’s worth noting that growth is pretty strong in almost all areas of psychology, such as clinical, school, and counseling psychology. Though your doctorate in psychology should go a long way towards making you more competitive when it comes to applying for a job in your chosen field, the amount of experience that you have already gathered in your industry can be very important too.


Importantly, where you choose to earn your doctorate, and continue your career as a doctor of psychology will have a signi8ficant impact on the amount you are capable of earning. Different geographical locations have more of a demand for psychologists, but it’s worth remembering that a higher wage in one part of the country could also be dampened by a higher cost of living. It’s important to balance your cost of living with your income when you are determining the best city to live in as a psychologist.

Some of the best states for wages in psychology at a doctorate level include:

  • California

This state offers the highest rates of salaries in the country for professionals in psychology. You can earn anywhere between $52,000 and $116,000 annually, and for those who have spouses who additionally need to find work, the state has many positions around some of the most fast-growing industries in the country, including aerospace and information technology.

  • New York

In order to address the behavioral and cognitive changes that are necessary for living in such a fast-paced modern environment, industrial-organizational psychology in the state of New York has seen a significant amount of growth. The average psychologist in New York currently earns an annual income of around $98,589, and that is well above the national average.

  • Illinois

Over 4,000 registered psychologists are currently living in Illinois, mostly within the schools throughout the state. The average salary for trained psychologists at a doctorate level is around $82,877, but it’s worth noting that the number could potentially be much higher depending on the education and experience level.

  • Pennsylvania

This is a wonderful place for doctorate-level psychologists to find employment in industrial psychology, development, research, and government services. It is home to several major cities depending on where you live in the state. The average salary for a psychologist in Pennsylvania is currently $86,175.


All psychologists practicing throughout the United States will be expected to adhere to their state’s requirements for certification and licensing, according to information from the BLS. Each state will be required to set its own licensing requirements, but for most clinical psychologists, a PsyD as well as internship and amount of work experience will be mandatory. Additionally, a passing score on the state examination is essential before licensure. Continuing education must also be taken to keep the license valid.

Individuals working as school psychologists may earn their National Association of School Psychologist’s nationally certified school psychologist title. As of January 2012, this designation is recognized across 31 states, according to the BLS. Board certification is also available through the American Board of Professional Psychology.


The BLS predicts a 19% rate of of growth in demand for psychologists from 2014 to 2024. One reason for this is a greater need for psychologists in healthcare facilities, schools, social services, and private organizations.