Salary and Career Info for a Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology

Sep 21, 2019

Education in counseling psychology is generally offered through doctoral programs that include clinical training and experience in research. Continue reading for an overview of programs as well as career and salary info, and some career options for graduates.

The job growth for professionals in counseling psychology has risen considerably in recent years, making a doctoral degree in this field quite attractive in terms of job prospects. Let's review the essential information to help you decide if this is a good career for you.

Essential Information

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree prepares prospective counseling psychologists to apply psychological and developmental principles to helping individuals with psychological issues. While similar to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counseling Psychology, a Psy.D. degree program places greater emphasis on clinical practice.

Career Title Counseling Psychologist
Education Requirements Ph.D. or Psy.D. Degree in Counseling Psychology
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) * 15% (clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $76,990 (clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

After earning their doctoral degrees in counseling psychology, individuals might go on to become practicing counseling psychologists. They could also have the option of building careers in research or academic teaching.

Salary Information for a Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology

A counseling psychology specialization in a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program focuses on fostering lifelong healthy psychological development in addition to addressing mental illness, and is one of the most general specializations recognized by the American Psychological Association. Mental health counselors who work for insurance companies and the government earned more, on average, than counselors working in outpatient care centers and hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, In May 2018, the BLS reported that professionals in the 90th percentile or higher earned $129,310 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $44,040 or less per year.

Career Information

The BLS expects employment of counseling psychologists to grow much faster than average from 2018 to 2028, due to the increase in need for psychological services in schools, hospitals, substance abuse clinics and social service agencies. Holders of doctoral degrees, either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D., are expected to have better employment prospects than master's and bachelor's degree holders.

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. and Psy.D. Programs

Counseling psychology doctoral students can choose a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Psychology program. Both degree programs require similar coursework and internship placements over 4-7 years, and a doctoral dissertation at the end of the degree program. A Ph.D. program focuses more on research, while a Psy.D. focuses more on clinical hands-on training, providing more training in psychological assessments and testing than Ph.D. programs. The research-intensive Ph.D. program prepares graduates for careers in research and teaching, while a Psy.D.-holder is more likely to find work in clinical settings. However, both degrees are recognized by all state licensing agencies for counseling psychologists.

Completing your Psy.D. or Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology could lead to a fascinating career in research, teaching, or clinical practice, including a salary of around $77,000. This career has good job prospects--all that's left to do is make that all important decision.

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