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10 Highest Paying Careers in Psychology

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Updated: March 17, 2024, Reading time: 9 minutes

highest paying jobs in psychology

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Finding the best career paths in Psychology is a daunting challenge, considering this field has so many options. Since most of these career paths require an academic specialization, it’s important that you already choose which path you will take even before you start your Psychology education.   

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right Psychology program that suits your needs—whether it’s for personal fulfillment or money. You need to do your homework as you start searching for Psychology programs with the best available career options after you graduate. 

If you’re one of the many indecisive and confused students who have yet to find out which program offers the highest-paying careers in Psychology, this article provides you with an extensive review of the matter. We list here the different factors that impact your decision-making in pursuing the most suitable career.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Psychology Careers and Graduate School

Before going over our ranking of the most lucrative Psychology careers, let’s first check the state and structure of Psychology education. In this listing, you will notice that the careers covered largely require advanced education and experience. 

In Psychology, the more education and experience you earn within the specialization of your career, the less working experience you will need to demonstrate after you graduate. Conversely, you can also find success by immediately jumping into the workforce right after college. 
Still, there are Psychology careers that no longer require graduate or doctorate degrees, provided that you have complied with industry standards and licensure requirements. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh out the cost-benefit of these different paths in the field of Psychology.

Quick audio summary:


This ranking is largely based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other job recruitment databases. We looked to organize these careers based on reasonable attainability, thus, we have excluded professional outcomes representing less than 5% of job opportunities in each sector. 

This ranking only lists a limited number of careers that require a doctorate. Most of the listed careers will function as aspirational goals for present and prospective graduate students.

This listing also includes a breakdown of regional and geographical factors that impact income. The highest average salaries earned in the most lucrative industries are also included so that you will have an idea of what sectors are most rewarding.

The factors used to create this ranking include:

The Most Lucrative Careers in Psychology

Below are ten of the best careers in Psychology that provide a chunky paycheck.

Psychology CareerAverage Yearly PayJob Growth
Child Psychiatrist$220,4306.7%
Change Management Director$176,58214%
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist$144,6105.9%
Clinical Research Coordinator/Natural Science Managers$144,4405%
Human Resources Director$130,0005%
Engineering Psychologist/Human Factors Psychologist$111,3946%
Business Process Consultant/Management Analysts$95,29010%
Genetics Counselor$89,99016%
Psychology Teacher$80,8408%
Executive Coach/ Rehabilitation Counselors$39,9902%

Child Psychiatrist

Also called pediatric psychiatrists, these types of psychiatrists employ the best practices in treating and preventing mental health issues in children and adolescents in the capacity of a medical doctor. They work with clients up to 18 years old, although some opt to specialize in a specific age group. 

While psychiatrists are generally paid well, Child Psychiatry is the highest-paying specialization so far, largely because of the sensitive nature of the work involved with children. 

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
MaineNew York
North DakotaTexas

Change Management Director

Change management directors work at the forefront of innovation within an organization. They closely work with the organizations’ leadership and personnel in initiating and overseeing programs and strategic alterations that might impact the organization in a larger context.

These professionals are not necessarily psychologists by trade. However, to efficiently chart the impact of change across an organization, they must understand Psychology on a deeper level. This is why most change management professionals start their career with a Psychology education.

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
Washington DCTexas
Washington StateNew York
MarylandNew Jersey

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

These professionals use the fundamentals of psychological science to the inner workings of organizations and companies to hit the prescribed operational objectives. Your specific role in the IO industry will depend on the specialty or type of position you seek. 

You can achieve the best salaries if you work in research and development in this field. This will involve testing experimental methods to gather valuable intel for clients and consulting agencies.

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
OhioNorth Carolina

Clinical Research Coordinator 

Clinical research coordinators oversee and manage research operations and experimental projects. In these modern days, big organizations realize that data often offers more value than gold. With that, there’s more psychological research in action—both privately and publicly funded—to uncover the inner workings of human behavior. 

At present, there is a tremendous demand for accomplished researchers who are ready to oversee large projects. To join this job market, you need to earn a Master’s in Research Psychology and complete as many quality research projects as possible. 

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
New JerseyNew Jersey
New YorkTexas
Washington StatePennsylvania

Human Resources Director

HR directors work at the intersection of business and Psychology. These Psychology professionals use their mastery of both business acumen and industrial-organizational Psychology to assist large companies in their daily operations. They are responsible for the functionality of the workforce of an organization. 

This career also offers very competitive compensation packages. If you wish to pursue this job, it’s best to earn dual degrees in business and Psychology, like a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. 

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
New YorkCalifornia
New JerseyTexas
Washington StateIllinois
Washington DCNew York

Engineering Psychologist

Also called human factors psychologists, engineering psychologists work in a flourishing field where the interests of business, Psychology, and engineering intersect. These engineers assess health concerns relating to a product or a workplace and then implement programs and strategies to mitigate risks.

These professionals investigate the evolving relationship between machines, humans, and technology and the resulting impact on health and safety. As technology becomes more psychological (like social media), the demand for engineering psychologists is continuously growing. 

In this field, it’s best to have a bachelor’s degree in information technology, followed by a master’s in Human Psychology. 

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
OhioNorth Carolina

Business Processes Consultant 

With your Psychology degree, you can work in the field of management analysis and use your unique skill sets to improve different aspects of operational performance. This niche will also perfectly match those with a background in industrial-organizational education.

Business processes consultants conduct research and analysis of operational practices, as well as audit a client organization. These consultants offer greater flexibility and independence than most jobs in human resources management.

If you’re interested in this career path, you need to develop a background in IO Psychology coupled with business analytics.

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
Washington DCCalifornia

Genetics Counselor

Although this is not an exclusively Psychology profession, the increasing field of Genetics Counseling looks to include more Psychology-facing professionals ready to handle genetic psychological issues. Since this is one of the fastest-growing jobs today, this profession represents vast opportunities for those who are interested in genetics mapping technology.

To join this lucrative field, you need to earn a Master’s of Genetic Counseling or a Genetics program with a specialization in Psychology. Alternatively, you can work towards a specialization in psychological elements by earning a Bachelor’s of Psychology before your graduate degree.

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
VermontNew York

Psychology Teacher

Working as a Psychology teacher offers an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy learning and teaching. While there is relatively stagnant growth in this field, the job market remains extremely competitive.
To successfully launch a career as a Psychology teacher, you need to earn at least a Master’s of Psychology degree specializing in Education. You may also consider a Master’s of Education with a specialization in Psychology.

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
New JerseyCalifornia
New YorkNew York

Executive Coach

These are the professionals who work at the top end of organizations. They coach, train, and counsel their leaders and managers. Executive coaches find staggeringly lucrative compensation when working with science and tech-facing organizations, with the top 10% of them earning over $200,000 each year.

Since this career represents one of the most skill and performance-based careers, you must maintain expert knowledge of the industry where you work and employ a mastery of business dynamics. You’re expected to improve how your executives perform—and these executives are already in the upper echelon of the field. 

Highest Paying StatesStates with the Most Jobs
Washington DCCalifornia
New JerseyNew York
How do I launch a successful career in Psychology?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you launch a successful career in Psychology?

Based on the listing above, this is common: the career options require specialization in a unique professional skill set. The earlier you start building your specialization, the better. 

How do you find an internship for your desired specialization in Psychology?

Internships are designed for both inexperienced students and budding professionals. You can start completing an internship program as soon as it is offered in your school. Meaning, you’ll be able to gain experience while earning your degree simultaneously. 

Are research projects required in Psychology?

Much like an internship, research projects allow you to establish your expertise in your chosen field. While it is generally not required, identifying and pursuing a project in your chosen area will give you an edge.  

How do I know the job market competition in my state?

Based on the ranking above, you will notice that there are some states with congested job markets. There’s considerable competition for employment, especially among new graduates. 

To get a glimpse of the competition in a state’s job market, you can compare the number of jobs to the average salary. Those with many jobs and high average salaries represent a thriving job market, while those with lower-than-average pay but still a large number of jobs represent a highly competitive and congested job market. 

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