Doctorate in Psychology Salary: PsyD Vs. PhD

Nov 04, 2019

Both a PhD and a PsyD can qualify candidates to be licensed psychologists or for other related fields of employment. Although the degrees might sound similar, they do offer various career paths with two different doctoral degrees. Are there any salary differences?

PhD programs have been around for longer than PsyD programs, and each has its own educational philosophy. Below you will find comparative information on each degree, as well as information on related careers and discussion of the salary comparisons associated with the separate degree paths.

PsyD vs PhD

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

PsyD degree programs first began in the 1970s. This comparatively newer style of degree is designed for students who are more interested in the service side of psychology rather than the research side. A primary focus of PsyD programs is to prepare students for the specific careers associated with the field of psychology. These degree programs typically take less time to complete than PhD programs.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology

A PhD in psychology is the more long-standing degree type. This degree may be best suited for students who are more interested in the research side of psychology and participation in expanding the modern consensus of knowledge through research and study. A PhD is also the typical choice for those wishing to qualify themselves to be educators in the field. PhD students are trained in research methods, data collections, experiments, and studies.

Salary Comparison for Psychology-Related Careers


A psychologist is a general term for those professionally utilizing their psychology qualifications. Psychologists perform interviews with patients and clients in order to identify and diagnose potential problems. Psychologists might also recommend or provide treatment, conduct research, administer tests, conduct studies, and interpret data. According to Payscale in 2019, working psychologists holding a PsyD degree have an average salary of about $76,000, while those with a PhD have an average salary of around $88,000.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists meet with clients and patients to diagnose and treat any emotional or behavioral problems or mental disorders these clients and patients might be experiencing. First, clinical psychologists meet with their clients to determine the clinical cause of the problems. Clinical psychologists then develop behavioral treatments and remedies while monitoring the progress of the root problem. The average salary of clinical psychologists with a PhD is about $89,000, while the average salary of clinical psychologists with a PsyD is around $77,000, according to Payscale in 2019.

School Psychologist

School psychologists work with or at a school or university to ensure that students have access to help for mental, cognitive, and behavioral problems. School psychologists meet with and listen to students during the school year to identify potential or on-going psychological problems. School psychologists are also there to meet with and help students with these and related problems through therapies or recommendations of treatment. Payscale in 2019 said the average salary of school psychologists with a PhD is approximately $84,000, while the average salary of a school psychologist with a PsyD is estimated to be about $77,000.

Career Average PsyD Salary 2019* Average PhD Salary 2019*
Psychologist $76,000 $88,000
Clinical Psychologist $77,000 $89,000
School Psychologist $77,000 $84,000

Source: *

In summary, although a PhD may be more common for those pursuing research and teaching, while a PsyD might be the choice for those in the pursuit of more practical applications, both degrees can be applied to a variety of overlapping careers. Although the PsyD and PhD degrees may lead to the same careers, some difference in salary expectations could be found.

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