Becoming a Psychologist

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: I have been thinking of going to school to become a psychologist. What kind of a salary might I expect to make in that profession?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t recall ever being asked that question before, and yet it is a very logical question to ask. I have the impression many people believe the salaries of psychologists are more lucrative than they really are. Salaries vary by region. Based on research conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2015, the following information was found.
Salary levels were highest in the Middle Atlantic region ($108,000), followed by the West North Central region ($92,000) and the West South Central region ($91,000). Salary levels were lowest in the East South Central region ($59,000) and the Mountain region ($60,000). The median salary for psychologists on the west coast, including Alaska was found to be between $65,000 and $90,000 per year. I remember one of my professors telling the class, “If you are going into the field of psychology to make a lot of money, you are in the wrong profession. Go into the business field and become a CEO.”
Annual salaries also vary by the type of psychology practice. For example:
•Industrial/organizational psychologists earn an average, annual salary of $125,000.
•Experimental Psychologists, $92,000
•Counseling Psychologists, $85,000
•Clinical Psychologists $80,000
•Forensic Psychologists, $75, 230
•Neuropsychologists, $89,000
Keep in mind these are average salaries and there is a great range of salaries depending on where one is employed and length of time employed. Also, psychologists in private practice report a significantly higher income.
Psychology, like many other helping professions, is something you go into because you want to help others and make a difference in this world. If you are looking to become a psychologist and become rich, you may be seeking the wrong profession. You might want to heed the words of my professor, “If you are going into the field of psychology to make a lot of money, you are in the wrong profession. Go into the business field and become a CEO.”
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]

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