Top 5 Most Rewarding Careers in Psychology

As the ultimate helping profession, the potential rewards in the field of psychology are numerous. The field overall is poised for satisfaction given that it provides ample opportunity for professionals to be substantially rewarded monetarily as well as emotionally and mentally. The fields that have an effective combination of all three rewards are typically thought of as the most satisfying. Since psychology is an ever-evolving field, it also requires continuing education in order for practitioners to stay relevant and informed in their practice. It is therefore, an intellectually stimulating field that offers learning opportunities throughout the career span.

School Psychologist

Working with children in any field usually presents a healthy amount of challenges; however, the rewards are many. As a school psychologist, you are in a position to have a significant impact on a child’s life especially at a period of their life where it is likely that you are the only person they may trust. It is a role that comes with great responsibility and one that needs to be tactfully managed, particularly when working with minors, but helping a child through a difficult time can be very fulfilling. With a median annual salary of $68,900 [2014] as reported by One Net, combined with helping students manage their mental health in order to realize their bright potential, this can be a very rewarding career indeed.

Organizational/Industrial Psychologist

If you have an interest in psychology and a flare for a business environment (and lifestyle) then there are many rewarding aspects of becoming an organizational psychologist. In this specialty, you’ll typically work as a strategist in a large corporation advising on human resources, management, marketing strategy and employee performance improvement. If you thrive in fast-paced, results-driven environments with a lot of interpersonal interaction, then this is a career for you. For professionals who enjoy knowing outcomes, you’ll find those rewards and positive feedback in this specialty. Additionally, organizational psychologist is the fastest-growing occupation projected for the period of 2012-2022 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and has one of the higher salaries in the field of psychology with a median annual salary of $76,950 [2014] as reported by One Net.

Military Psychologist

Those that make the ultimate sacrifice require especially dedicated individuals to provide the specialized knowledge and sensitivity for this patient population and their families. The rewards here are plentiful as helping to heal the wounds of soldiers and their families make you an extension of that soldier and their sacrifice. Salaries are competitive and vary by rank and years experience in the military.

Forensic Psychologist

Popularized by shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, the field of forensic psychology has become a major draw for professionals looking to specialize. This area holds a certain glamour to it given the cinematic portrayals of characters as forensic psychologists. Dramatic portrayals aside however, this is a field that does in fact offer intrigue, potential for drama and a dynamic work environment which can be very rewarding to many. Some forensic psychologists may work in prisons and others may deal directly with the courts during proceedings. Forensic psychologists are also in a good position for substantial compensation. In addition to base salaries if employed at a facility, which can be relatively modest but range from approximately $40,000 – $100,000 annually, there are other avenues for financial gain. Forensic psychologists are considered field experts and are often called upon to complete heavily weighted assessments and testimony for court proceedings which can offer considerable payments the further established they are in the field.

Psychology Professor

Perhaps one of the most rewarding vocations across all industries is that of a teacher. The ability to share your skills and knowledge to help others effectively help others carries a cycle of rewarding feedback. A career as a professor has other benefits as well. Tenured faculty enjoy job security along with ample time to pursue other avenues of interest, whether they be private practice, research/publication of a study, or even a sabbatical. Financially, this can be ideal as well. In a recent report put out by in April 2015, psychology professors had a median salary of $90,654. Overall, if work-life balance and financial security are top priorities for you, then a career in academia may be a good option.