Salary psychologist
Salary psychologist: Prospects for young professionals and experienced people

Dreamcatcher metaphor psychologist salary in Germany

What does a psychologist earn? © Helgi /

People often start studying of psychology due to a desire to understand human nature and shape social contexts. However, the choices made while planning these studies will set the course of your future career as a psychologist. The salary you will earn depends on your degree, the sector and professional qualifications.

Published: 2015-07-24

By: academics

Although many people think that psychologists primarily work as therapists, academic education is in fact so broad that it permits later employment in many areas and sectors. In addition to jobs in health care and social institutions, psychologists can also get involved in research or as a business enterprise consultant. Salaries vary depending on the employer – and can be calculated in different ways.

Different salaries for psychologists in Germany depending on employer and professional experience

Employer Up to 2 years over 2 years, without personnel responsibility over 2 years, with personnel responsibility

Research institute




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A bachelor's degree provides psychologists with all the prerequisites for to start their career. As a rule, however, employers only trust graduates with assistant roles and tend allocate entry-level applicants to correspondingly low groups with starting salaries of around €2,500 per month. Only a master's degree will strengthen the career potential of a psychologist and allow them to achieve an average initial monthly salary of €3,000 and higher. 

If you want to work in research, you should consider gaining a doctorate as a psychologist. If necessary, this can be achieved alongside a research project. Psychologists with relevant degrees are also in demand in the private sector – their skills are valued in work organisation, marketing and even management. 

The career prospects when working in a commercial enterprise can be significantly higher than those in the public sector. Here too, professionals often rely on the psychological effect of a doctorate, but economics and entrepreneurial thinking are just as important.

As in other occupational fields, the salary prospects for psychologists vary regionally. Surprisingly, psychologists in the relatively small federal state of Bremen achieve the highest salaries in Germany at an average of €4,242 a month. Hamburg (€3,614) and Schleswig-Holstein (€3,438) also pay more than average for psychologists' services. The states of Saxony-Anhalt (€2,871) and Saxony (€2,458) bring up the rear. 

Thinking outside of the box can be worthwhile for psychologists. An international study programme, professional experience abroad and the associated acquisition of intercultural skills are important for many employers today. While this is not reflected in collective agreement bonuses, this type of background helps professionals to get a higher-ranking job with responsibility. 

In other European countries, the prospects for healthcare professionals are sometimes very good. Professionals who manage to find a position as a psychologist in Switzerland can expect an annual salary of almost €100,000 on average. There is a shortage of both doctors and psychologists in Sweden. Swedish clinics offer attractive collective agreements with regular working hours. Salaries for healthcare personnel are also noticeably higher in Denmark and Norway than in Germany.


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