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Psychology Major

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Psychology

$95,610 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Psychology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many psychology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 29,582
Doctor’s Degree 6,403
Graduate Certificate 2,878

What Psychology Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to psychology were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Psychology Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in psychology should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Psychology Majors

A major in psychology prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Psychology Majors

Psychology majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Psychology Major?

People with a psychology degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Clinical Psychologists 14.2% $76,990
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Counseling Psychologists 14.2% $76,990
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists 5.9% $97,260
Investment Fund Managers 8.0% $107,480
Loss Prevention Managers 8.0% $107,480
Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists 10.3% $100,770
Psychology Professors 15.1% $76,710
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
School Psychologists 14.2% $76,990
Security Managers 8.0% $107,480
Supply Chain Managers 8.0% $107,480

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

29,582 Master's Degrees Annually
81% Percent Women
34% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 81% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of psychology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Psychology Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1,204
Black or African American 3,704
Hispanic or Latino 4,157
White 15,913
International Students 1,115
Other Races/Ethnicities 3,489

Geographic Diversity

Psychology appeals to people across the globe. About 3.8% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Psychology Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that psychology students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $42,350 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $37,675 (25th percentile) and $46,200 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to psychology.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $88,490 to $109,030 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to psychology. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Psychology Major  ( 88490 to 109030 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with psychology require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for psychology careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.7%
Some College Courses 0.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 29.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.1%
Master’s Degree 22.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 4.4%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 1.2%
Doctoral Degree 16.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 17.2%

Online Psychology Programs

In 2018-2019, 1,819 schools offered a psychology program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 65 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 20 8
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 0
Associate’s Degree 318 74
Bachelor’s Degree 187 54
Post-Baccalaureate 65 10
Master’s Degree 1,509 196
Post-Master’s 241 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 675 39
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 102 3
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 4 0

Is a Degree in Psychology Worth It?

The median salary for a psychology grad is $95,610 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 140% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,114,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to psychology.

Major Number of Grads
Education 187,512
Social Sciences 22,817
Communication & Journalism 11,707
Library Science 5,644
History 4,418
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 3,917
Area, Ethnic, Culture, & Gender Studies 2,550

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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