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How to become a well-paid psychologists?

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I've heard this is a very lucrative job based on education and experience. Is this true? #education #career #college #psychology #clinical-psychology

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Dr. Ray’s Answer

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Dear Markez,

According to the American Psychological Association Ph.D. psychologists usually earn between $60,000.00 and $120,000.00 per year, with a median salary of $75,000.00. This includes experienced people so you would probably be at the low end of the range in a starting position. The web site www.apa.org has a ton of information about careers and salaries in the field.

Where a person's salary falls within that range depends a lot on what their specialty is and where they work. For example, positions in universities and colleges generally don't pay well, mainly because a large number of qualified people are competing for a few jobs. The best paying positions are generally in industry or in private clinical practice. I was in private practice in Fort Worth for 35 years; I didn't get rich but made a comfortable living. I was able to put our two children through college without their having to borrow any money.

The down side of this is that you have to earn a Ph.D. degree, which is time consuming and expensive. You have to balance the time and money it takes against your eventual earnings. Also, I wouldn't advise going into this field if you don't have a strong interest in it; I think you would be unhappy. If making a lot of money is your major career goal you should probably consider a career in business.

i wish you the best in your career pursuits.

Ray Finn, Ph.D.

Dr. Ray recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out APA's web site for more detailed information
  • If you know any psychologists see if they will talk to you about what they do. Most will be happy to respond.
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Eliza’s Answer

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This is not always true and very much depends on the population of patients you want to serve and what type of work you enjoy. For example, you could go the academic route with a PhD if you enjoy writing and teaching. Professors who can charge for speaking engagement and book sales can supplement their teaching salary. If you want to work with underserved populations, you could get a Masters in Social Work. If you want to focus on family, you could get a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. There are other specialties too, like Sports Psychology who work with professional athletes and teams. I am not in the mental health field myself, but considered it deeply and have several family members and friends who work in the area. I personally did not pursue it because I was several years out of college and the road was long and costly. My sister-in-law got her Master's in Social Work and works with children in a school setting and also has patients in private practice. Her school salary is modest but her private practice helps supplement as these are patients with means to pay out of pocket or with good insurance. She loves her work and has a great work life balance, but it took her a decade to get to private. My advice is to find the aspect of psychology you are most interested in and then be truly exceptional in that area. You may make a lot of money doing it, or you may not. But you will be happy. If you only want to go into psychology for it's potential earning power, I would choose a different career. There are aspects of psychology in many areas of business too. Perhaps that would appeal to you more.

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