2 answers

How much of an income difference is there between a Master's in Psychology and a Ph D in Psychology?

Asked Richmond, Virginia

I'm taking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and considering graduate school. I'm wondering how much more money someone with a Ph D would make vs. someone with a Masters working as a counsellor/therapist? #psychology #therapy #phd #masters-degree #therapists #family-therapy #social-science-phd #group-therapy

2 answers

Carl’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

Hi. Don't be fooled by my title. I have degree in psychology as well. I wanted to chime in on this question because as an undergraduate, I was always told that you wouldn't make any money simply by getting a Master's in Psychology. I know individuals with Ph.D's in psychology that aren't even making $60,000 a year and I also know people with Master's degree in psychology making close to $100,000. You must think about what you want to do. There are a lot of opportunities to earn a nice living with a master's in psychology. For instance, when courts mandate that someone needs counseling for drugs, alcohol, anger management, those contracts often go to counseling organizations that specialize in those areas. A lot of times these counseling organizations aren't ran by Ph.D's, but individuals with Master's degrees and an entrepreunerial mindset. Certifications such as being a licensed marriage and family therapist can also offer you career options without having to obtain a Ph.D. Of course the breadth of knowledge a Ph.D would provide will provide a more opportunities, but I wouldn't recommend getting a Ph.D simply for financial purposes.

Judy’s Answer

Updated

HI Emma,

The income differences in a Masters in Psychology and a PH.D. varies. First, certain states do not recognize or allow a Masters in Psychology to practice in their states as a clinician. Some states, like California allows a person with a Masters in Psychology to obtain licensure to practice independently, so I would check what the requirements would be in Virginia. I have met and worked with PH.D.'s who may work the same position as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW- Masters in Social Work), but I have also worked with PH.D.'s who only made more slightly more. The PH.D. Counseling Psychology programs often involve more years of study and culminate in a dissertation. The PH.D. would also be more advantageous if you plan to teach or be involved in research related organizations.

Lastly, I want to you to know that many on-line schools or small programs that offer the Masters In Psychology and/or a PH.D. counseling psychology program may or may not be accredited nationally. These schools may be pricey and having a student loan can result in added stress if a future employer does not recognize your school and your degrees.





Judy recommends the following next steps:

  • go to: https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/psychology/ for additional research on licensure for counseling psychologist for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.