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New psychology graduates in practice subfields continue to face more debt than their colleagues in research subfields, finds APA's recently released 2003 Doctorate Employment Survey. In 2003, the median debt of those in practice subfields was $67,000, compared with $22,000 for research subfields.

Overall, 68 percent of those who earned psychology doctorates in 2003 carried some debt, though new doctorates in practice subfields were 20 percent more likely than those in research subfields to have debt.

The survey of 1,637 recent psychology graduates found that clinical PsyD students' median debt level in 2003 was $90,000, an increase of $10,000 from 2001. Meanwhile, clinical PhDs also experienced an increase of $14,000 to a total median debt of $50,000. PhDs in research owed a median of $21,500 in 2003.

The survey also shed light on psychology graduates' career paths: 64 percent of respondents were employed full time, 8.5 percent worked part time, 22 percent were full-time postdocs and 5.5 percent were unemployed--half of whom said they were not seeking employment. Of those unemployed and not seeking a job, 52 percent cited home or child-care responsibilities.

The average starting salary in 2003 for all fields was $54,814, and women earned about $3,000 less than men. Minorities earned about the same amount as whites. Those working in applied psychology settings--such as in business, government, industry and consulting firms--reported the highest salaries, with a median of $71,000.

-D. Smith Bailey


View the Full Report, including starting salaries by subfield.