Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in mental health and must complete four years of medical school and up to eight years of internship and residency to practice. They are also able to prescribe medications to treat their patients. Psychologists must possess at least a master's degree and, in some cases, a doctoral degree to practice, along with a state-mandated license. Salaries for careers in psychiatry and psychology differ based on educational requirements, industry and location.
The average salary of a psychiatrist in the United States was $163,660 in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while psychologists earned less. Social, developmental, experimental and forensic psychologists earned an average salary of $84,220; clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned $72,310, and industrial-organizational psychologists earned the highest average salaries of all psychologists at $102,570 annually.
A high concentration of psychiatrists worked in private practices such as doctors' offices and earned an average income of $154,650 annually. Psychiatrists who worked in general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average of $160,250 a year, while those in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals earned an average of $158,690. Psychologists who specialize in social, developmental, experimental and forensics worked were mostly employed by the federal government and earned an average of $85,620 annually. While a high concentration of psychologists who specialized in clinical, counseling psychology worked in schools and earned an average of $69,870 a year. Psychologists who specialize in industrial-organizational psychologists were employed the most by management, scientific and technical consulting services industries and earned an average of $121,010 a year.
The government offered higher than average wages for psychiatrists as of 2009; the BLS states that those employed by local governments earned an average of $179,920, and those employed by state governments earned an average of $189,450. Outpatient care centers and nursing care facilities were the two highest paying industries for psychiatrists with salary averages of $190,340 and $199,910 respectively. For clinical, counseling and school psychologists, the highest salary average was in management, scientific and technical consulting services at $102,150 annually. Social, developmental, experimental and forensic psychologists earned the highest wages working in physicians' offices, where the salary average as of 2009 was $109,550.
Oregon had the highest paid psychiatrists with a salary average of $219,450, followed by Wyoming at $210,550. Social, developmental, experimental and forensic psychologists earned the highest salary average in Arizona at $101,100 a year, while New Jersey was the top paying state for clinical, counseling and school psychologists at $92,380 annually. Florida offered the highest salary average for industrial-organizational psychologists at $126,640.