After years of specialized education, psychologists may begin careers in a variety of work environments and with equally variable salaries. The starting salary of a psychologist in any discipline is significantly higher than the average U.S. salary, though markedly lower than the average salary earned with experience. Even within the field of psychology, the average salary differs widely from one field to another.
Starting salaries for assistant professors of psychology averaged $59, 155 annually, according to an American Psychological Association survey of 2009 doctorate recipients. Depending on the department, the average salary ranged from $51, 103 to $59, 447. As an instructor or lecturer, psychologists began at an average salary of $42, 212 annually; the initial average salary for educational administrators was $72, 767.
Psychologists employed in research settings earned slightly higher average salaries than those in academia. The APA reported that the mean initial annual salary for psychologists working at a research center at a university or institute was $67, 364 for 2009 Ph.D. recipients. The lowest average salary was for researchers in the psychiatry departments at medical schools, where they earned a mean wage of $50, 275. Overall, psychologists engaged in research averaged $60, 767 annually.
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