12 Well-Paying Jobs for Psychology Majors

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What’s Covered:

 

Psychology is the scientific study of the brain and behavior. As a major, it encompasses a broad variety of subjects, ranging from the biological bases of neurological mechanisms to the interpersonal relationships that govern people’s lives. 

 

Because the subject teaches such a large variety of subjects in relation to human interaction and behavior, psychology majors are a good fit for a variety of career fields

 

What Skills Do Psychology Majors Learn?

 

Psychology curricula range from school to school, with different universities offering various tracks, concentrations, and specializations. That being said, most colleges have some sort of required psychology curriculum which includes the following subjects:

 

  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Psychobiology
  • Health Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Statistics in Psychology

 

A typical curriculum will include elements of biology and neuroscience in addition to psychology. Students will gain memorization skills, as there are many theories, terms, and other facts that are often tested in bulk. They will also learn how to analyze and interpret research papers, and write their own. 

 

Psychology also covers interpersonal relations, so students will study the neural and behavioral bases of human thought and action, and learn to categorize and understand the minds of those around them. 

 

These skills are most useful in fields with a high degree of personal interaction, especially from an organizational or managerial perspective. Psychology majors often find themselves suited to roles in human resources and social work. They can also engage in research or other science-related academia. A psychology education also prepares students for a career in mental health or teaching. 

 

Earning Potential for Psychology Majors

 

ZipRecruiter notes that salaries can range from as high as $100,500 to as low as $23,500 annually. The average pay range settles around $43,750, with the 25th percentile being $33,500 and the 75th being $54,000. 

 

While entry-level positions for psychology might pay at the lower end of this spectrum, post-graduates can often find themselves moving up rather quickly into managerial positions, depending on the organization. This allows for an increase in salary growth (and responsibilities). 

 

Choosing to continue your education can also impact your salary range. For instance, if you have a Master’s or Doctorate degree, you could be paid anywhere from $110K-400K.

 

Keep in mind that earning potential also varies based on the job location and the expertise required.

 

Top High-Paying Jobs for Psychology Majors

 

1. Psychiatrist 

Education Required: Medical school, 4-year residency training

Projected Growth: 11.9%

Median Salary: 160K-400K per year 

 

Psychiatrists are medical doctors whose responsibilities can encompass mental health or substance use. They are able to assess patients’ physical and mental symptoms and treat them for a wide range of illnesses. Psychiatrists need a comprehensive understanding of medications, as well as their side effects and potential risks. They need to be able to curate a custom treatment plan for their patients and adjust it accordingly.

 

2. Industrial and Organizational Psychologist

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree, though many have a master’s or doctorate degree

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 61K-148K per year 

 

Industrial-organizational psychology involves the application of psychological knowledge to business and management. Psychologists in this field deal with individual and group behavior, and how these interactions play into the overarching organization. 

 

Typical areas of practice can include workforce performance, training and career development, and coaching. Some may even contribute to the company’s marketing strategy when it comes to consumer behavior and satisfaction. 

 

3. Neuropsychologist

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree, though many have a Master’s or doctorate degree 

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 94K-170K per year 

 

Neuropsychologists evaluate patients’ behavior and cognitive health, especially those with ailments. They use a variety of tools to administer neuropsychological evaluations to assess brain function and provide insight for patients’ treatment plans.

 

Other Jobs for Psychology Majors

 

4. Sports Psychologist

Education Required: Master’s degree and additional direct training 

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 94K-170K per year 

 

Sports psychologists deal with the neurological health of athletes, in regards to their performance and development. They also engage with the social components of participating in sports, and the overarching systemic issues within sports.

 

5. Clinical Psychologist

Education Required: Master’s degree in Psychology and residency

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 82K-112K per year 

 

If you want to work in mental health without going through years of medical school, clinical psychology might be the field for you. These psychologists meet with clients and can identify and diagnose their psychological, emotional, or behavioral disorders. They meet periodically with their clients to develop and monitor custom treatment plans. Because they haven’t gone to medical school, they cannot prescribe medications, but they can work with a psychiatrist to help clients whose treatment plans include medication. 

 

6. Engineering Psychologist

Education Required: Master’s degree

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 67K-122K per year 

 

Engineering psychologists apply their knowledge of the brain and behavior to problem solve. Pay depends heavily on their working environment, which can range from academia, tech companies, to government industries. Their career can involve consulting with companies to improve user experience, namely with regard to product safety. Technology is rapidly evolving and these psychologists research what consumers are looking for to ensure that a product is as user-friendly as possible.

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7. Financial Analyst

Education Required: Master’s degree, financial certification(s)

Projected Growth: 5%

Median Salary: 56K-77K per year 

 

Though it might not seem like the most related career, a lot of psychology majors find a good fit career in finance. If you don’t have a comprehensive background in finance, you can get your Master’s in a finance-related field such as Economics or Accounting. Your knowledge of psychology will help you navigate the interpersonal elements of the workplace, while your certifications can supply you with the industry knowledge you need to excel as a financial analyst. 

 

8. Forensic Psychologist

Education Required: Master’s degree, but some entry-level positions require a Ph.D. 

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 46K-120K per year 

 

If you’re looking for a way to apply your psychology career to solve crimes, consider forensic psychology. They work closely with other law enforcement officers such as police officers, lawyers, and detectives in order to provide insight on cases. 

 

They can work in multiple capacities, acting as expert witnesses in the courtroom, performing psychotherapy in family courts, and interviewing convicted criminals with the ability to inform their sentencing. If you’re considering this field, you should look into double majoring or minoring in a field such as Criminology, Criminal Justice, or Forensics.

 

9. School Psychologist

Education Required: Master’s degree; an Ed.S. in School Psychology is recommended

Projected Growth: 3% (for all psychologists)

Median Salary: 50K-130K per year 

 

School psychologists’ roles can vary dramatically depending on the institution. Those that work at the university level might engage in research in addition to counseling professors and students. School psychologists who work in high schools and elementary schools will apply their knowledge of mental health to close the achievement gap and help students thrive academically, emotionally and behaviorally. The school itself factors heavily into pay, with private and higher education schools paying more, and public schools generally having less funding.

 

10. Business Consulting 

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected Growth: 2.3% 

Median Salary: 45K-84K per year 

 

Though not directly applicable to psychology, business consulting is a great way to score an entry-level job with a dynamic work environment and potential for professional growth. Psychology majors can work as entry-level analysts, working with their firm to consult other businesses on compensation and marketing strategies. They can use their knowledge of interpersonal relations and organizational dynamics to analyze and improve business structures. Your pay will depend on the competitiveness of your firm, the location, and whether or not you attend business school. 

 

11. Marketing Manager

Education Required: Bachelor’s degree

Projected Growth: 7% 

Median Salary: 44K-100K per year 

 

Psych majors can apply their understanding of social behavior to consumers. Marketing managers devise and oversee a company’s campaigns to increase customers and brand awareness. They work with specialists in different types of media, such as social networks, blogs, videos, and more. Marketing managers will review campaign performance and analytics to inform future content creation.

 

This career requires a strong grasp of consumer behavior, an analytical mind, and excellent communication skills—making it a great fit for psych majors. 

 

12. Psychology Professor

Education Required: Master’s degree, Doctorate for tenure-track

Projected Growth: 13% (for all postsecondary teachers)

Median Salary: 38K-78K per year 

 

If you love psychology as an academic field and want to share that passion with others, consider becoming a psychology professor! Professors can teach a variety of courses, including electives on subfields of psychology, like close relationships or abnormal psych. 

 

Professors also conduct their own research in pursuit of scientific breakthroughs that will be published in academic journals. Pay range and benefits depend on the university, especially on factors like whether it’s public or private, and the amount of donor funding it receives annually.

 

What Colleges Are Best for Psychology Majors?

 

1. Yale University

2. Rice University

3. Princeton University

4. Stanford University

5. Harvard University

6. Swarthmore College

7. Williams College

8. Wellesley College

9. University of Chicago

10. Vanderbilt University

 

These schools are the top-ranked institutions to study psychology in the United States. For more information about great schools for this major, check out this complete list or our YouTube video on the topic. Note that the schools on this list are extremely competitive and will be categorized as “reaches” for most students. It’s important to have a balanced college list overall. You should apply to 8-12 schools in total, with 25% being safety schools, 40% target schools, and 35% reach schools.

 

To help you better categorize your prospective school list, you should look into your individual chances of acceptance at your target universities. At CollegeVine, we’ve simplified this process by engineering an Admissions Chances Calculator. First, search for schools in our database based on your preferences regarding location, major, cost, and more. Then, plug in your demographics and any relevant profile information to generate your unique chances at acceptance. This is a great (and free!) way to get a headstart on your college strategy.

 

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Short Bio
Priya has been working at CollegeVine for two years in various capacities, including mentoring students, editing hundreds of essays, and creating blog content. She has also interned in healthcare consulting. She is extremely grateful for all the help she received as an applicant and wants to pay it forward by demystifying the admissions process for others.

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