A bachelor’s degree in psychology grants students insight into the workings of the human mind and how it affects behavior. It allows employment in counseling, education, research and social work. The education acts as a foundation for the further education required to become a licensed psychologist. Income varies according to psychology specialty.
Students with psychology degrees received earnings of $45,000 per year, with an annual range from below $31,000 for the lowest-paid 25 percent to above $65,000 for the highest-paid quarter, according to a 2011 salary survey compiled by Georgetown University. The degree proved to be the most popular major in the psychology and social work group, garnering over 73 percent of the total 1.8 million credential in the group. About 71 percent of the graduates were female, although they earned lower annual compensation of $41,000, compared to male salaries of $53,000 yearly for the major. A psychology degree forms the starting point for an eventual doctorate, which is necessary to become a practicing psychologist.
The highest-paid psychology degree holders belong to industrial and organizational psychology, with a median salary of $53,000, and salary range of below $37,000 to above $78,000, according to the Georgetown University salary report. This compares to an annual compensation of $42,000 for all bachelor's degree holders in psychology and social work. About 63 percent of the students were females, earning $57,000 per year. The survey did not show salaries for males. The degree is a stepping-stone to the master’s that is needed to become an industrial-organizational psychologist. These professionals solve workplace problems involving management styles, worker morale and employee efficiency.
At $29,000 per year, with an annual range of below $21,000 to above $42,000, holders of bachelor’s degrees in counseling psychology showed the lowest salaries of the group surveyed by Georgetown University. About 74 percent were female, although salaries were not specified by gender. The education is useful for obtaining the master’s degree needed to become a mental health counselor or therapist, who treat people with mental and emotional issues. They encourage patients to reveal their inner emotions in therapy sessions either individually, as couples or in groups.
About 43 percent of psychology graduates obtained graduate degrees to boost their salaries by 45 percent, putting their annual incomes at $65,250. For industrial psychology majors, the average salary increase was 28 percent, putting yearly compensation at $67,840. Those obtaining a master’s in counseling psychology boosted their annual pay to $48,430, an increase of 67 percent.
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