The psychology field is growing quickly in the United States; it is anticipated that there will be 19% more psychologist jobs in 2024 than today. For that reason, many people are considering a master’s degree in psychology.
A master’s degree in psychology can be used to accelerate your career in many specialities that pay well. If you are interested in a career in psychology, earning your master’s in psychology can be the ticket to get your career really going. Below are the best five jobs and salaries that can be attained with this advanced degree today:
#1 Clinical Psychologist
Probably the most common and popular psychology careers today is clinical psychologist. These professionals work with clients to mental, behavioral and emotional disorders and help them to improve their condition and how they live their lives.
Via observations, tests and interviews, the clinical psychologist diagnoses current or possible disorders, then together with the client, they devise a treatment program per the needs of the client. Clinical psychologists also monitor how the client is progressing regularly through a number of follow up meetings.
Clinical psychologists often teach people to deal with their problems, overcome serious addictions, improve relationships and much more. They also may give psychologist tests to evaluate patient strengths and weaknesses.
Counseling psychology is similar to clinical psychology; the difference is in the focus. Clinical psychologists tend to see clients with more serious mental illnesses and/or psychosis, while counseling psychologists see more patients who have more ‘normal’ problems, such as mild or moderate depression, anxiety, or relationship issues.
The median salary for clinical psychologists is $75,000 per year, but many of those probably have their doctoral degree in addition to their master’s.
#2 Counseling Psychologist
A counseling psychologist has been trained in assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing mental illnesses; this is one of the largest areas of employment in the entire field of psychology. Many professionals with their master’s in psychology work as counseling psychologists choose to work as either a clinical or counseling psychologist.
Counseling psychologists help their patients to better understand and deal with their psychological issues that lead them to negative behaviors. They help them to understand what their problems are at home, in relationships, in the workplace, etc. They help the patient to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to more efficiently manage their problems.
The median salary for counseling psychologists is approximately $72,000 per year.
#3 Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Industrial-organizational psychologists apply advanced psychological principles to the workplace. They also use research methods to solve workplace problems, and to improve work life quality.
I/O psychologists study productivity in the workplace, managing employee styles of work, and raising morale among workers. I/O psychologists also work closely with management to plan employee policy, screening and training.
Some professionals in this role may work with management to determine which employees should work in which positions. They also may work with management and senior staff to determine if greater efficiency can be realized in the workplace through the reorganization of staff and departments.
I/O psychologists earn a median salary of $82,000 per year.
#4 Substance Abuse Psychologist
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder psychologists provide advice to people who have problems with alcohol and drug addiction. This role is very common in the law enforcement and criminal justice fields because of the high level of drug and alcohol dependency among criminals.
These types of counselors or psychologists may also be referred to as addiction counselors; they can work with patients both on an individual basis and in a group situation. Many of these professionals will incorporate 12 step programs into their practice, which includes Alcoholics Anonymous.
Some substance abuse psychologists work with patients who have received orders from a judge to get treatment for an addiction. Others may work with convicts, those on parole, as well as teenagers, vets or those with disabilities. They may work either in private practice (with a doctoral degree), or in a group of counselors if they have a master’s degree.
This is one of the most rapidly-growing subspecialties of psychology, with 22% job growth anticipated by 2024. This rate is much faster than average. Growth in this field is expected to rise as addiction assistance and counseling is covered on more insurance policies.
Job growth in this field also is occurring because more states are sending criminals to therapy to deal with their drug, chemical and alcohol addictions. More criminals and others involved in the criminal justice system are being sent to drug and alcohol treatment instead of seeing extensive jail time. This is especially common for those who abuse drugs only, instead of also trafficking in them.
The median pay in this specialty is $41,100, but those with the most experience can earn more than $65,000 per year.
#5 Developmental Psychologist
This type of psychologist is often based in academia, and sometimes in a medical or professional school environment. They frequently are involved in legal research as well as consultation with adolescents and children. These psychologists often deal with vital questions involving children’s testimony in a criminal case, and/or in the juvenile criminal justice system. They also work on the needs of families and children who are in a separation or divorce situation.
Developmental psychologists frequently work on children welfare in child custody disputes, delinquency and maltreatment. Instead of assessing and treating children, these professionals often form and test theories about how joint custody and divorce affects children. They also may study the long term effects of sexual, emotional or physical abuse on how adults function later in life.
A critical area that developmental psychologists work on is on juvenile offenses and the degree to which the minors involved understand the legal proceedings.
The APA estimates that the current salary for psychologists in this field ranges from $69,000 to $91,000.
#6 Social Psychologist
A social psychologist studies how individuals affect and are affected by others, and also by their physical and social environments. These types of psychologists may work with regular citizens, as well as criminals. Social psychology allows those in law enforcement and criminal justice to better understand how group dynamics can affect the choices that criminals make. The field also allows better insights into how social perceptions can how interactions affect others.
Social psychologists also student group and interpersonal dynamics and social issues including bias, bullying, prejudice and criminal activity. They may be employed in the public or private sector in various law enforcement settings.
The APA states that the median salary in this field is $81,000 per year, but this is almost certainly a median salary including those with a doctoral degree. A professional with a master’s degree should expect to earn less than this.
#7 Forensic Psychologist
Forensic psychology is one of the most popular specialties of psychology in the 21st century. If you have a strong interest in both criminal justice and psychology, you will likely want to explore this exciting occupation.
Forensic psychologists apply advanced psychological principles to the field of criminal investigation and the criminal justice system. They are deeply involved in criminal and civil justice cases. Some of the most common types of cases forensic psychologists handle are child custody disputes, insurance claims, civil lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits.
These psychologists work in civil courts to make assessments about the competency of accused and convicted criminals; provide second psychological opinions; and provide psychological services to criminals and crime victims. In the criminal court system, forensic psychologists perform evaluations of mental competency, work with young witnesses of crimes, and also provide psychological profiles of juvenile and adult criminals. Forensic psychologists also often testify as expert witnesses.
Forensic psychologists earn a median salary between $60,000 and $70,000 per year; Payscale.com states that the median is $62,800. Those with a master’s degree will usually be at the lower end of the wage scale. It requires a doctoral degree in forensic psychology to earn a maximum salary of $90,000 and above.
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- Psychologists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm
- Psychology Careers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.apadivisions.org/division-41/education/students/careers.aspx