The best paying jobs in psychology typically go to individuals who hold doctoral degrees in the field. Psychologists spend an average of five to seven years in graduate schools earning Doctors of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctors of Psychology (Psy.D.) degrees. This advanced training can lead to higher pay, more job responsibilities and varied work opportunities depending on the specific field of psychology.
Industrial/organizational psychologists focus on performance in the workplace, often helping companies with the hiring, assessments and training of new and existing employees. These psychologists usually work in human resource departments of organisations, independent consulting companies or in private practice. I/O psychologists are among the top-paid professionals of psychology, earning an average of around £66,625 annually, according to 2009 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With 10 to 14 years of experience and working at a consulting firm or business organisation, these psychologists make anywhere from £87,100 to £94,250, according to the 2009 American Psychological Association (APA) Salary Survey.
Clinical neuropsychologists specialise in the relationship between the brain, behaviours and the nervous system. They assess, diagnose and treat patients with a wide variety of diseases and disorders ranging from traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer's disease to depression and other disorders that affect the brain and cognitive functioning. Clinical neurospsychologists often work in brain injury centres, hospitals, private practice, neurology centres and rehab facilities. These professionals make an average of around £70,850, according to the 2005 "Salary Survey" by The Clinical Neuropsychologist. This report shows that clinical neuropsychologists with 20 years or more experience average around £91,000 annually while the top 5 per cent can earn £195,000 or more annually.
Research psychologists work in university departments, but they also work in medical school psychiatry departments, private research laboratories and organisations, government research facilities and non-profit organisations. Research psychologists perform experimental work in laboratories and develop new programs or applications for use in practice depending on which speciality and in what setting they work. For example, research psychologists at pharmaceutical companies conduct clinical trials with patients and assess the effectiveness of new drugs. Government organisations at which research psychologist can be found include departments of the National Institutes of Health as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Doctoral-level researchers in private and government research facilities earn around £61,750 annually, on average, according to 2009 APA Salary Survey data tables. Psychologists with 30 years or more experience working in higher-level administration within private research organisations make around £140,400 annually, on average, according to the 2009 APA data.
Psychology university professors teach psychology courses to undergraduate and graduate students. They also manage their own university laboratories, developing new theories and publishing research reports for the psychology field. Psychologists working in the "associate professor" and "full professor" job title with just three years experience in university psychology departments earn an average of around £48,750 and £62,400 annually, respectively, according to the 2009 APA Salary Survey. Full professors of psychology with 15 years experience earn around £74,750 annually, on average.