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Psychology graduate students are training for some of the country's top careers, according to a recent "Best Jobs in America" list compiled by Money magazine and Psychologist ranked No. 10 on the list of 50 top positions, beating out careers in dentistry, veterinary science and law, while college professor earned the No. 2 slot. The No. 1 job? Software engineer.

To target leading careers, Money and, a Web site that lists compensation and benefits data, evaluated jobs that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predict will grow at an above-average rate over the next 10 years and require at least a bachelor's degree. They rated those careers on stress level; flexible hours and working environment; creativity; and ease of entry and advancement.

The position of psychologist scored high on creativity, slightly lower on flexibility and earned low marks on ease of entry and stress level, according to the data, which seemed to define psychologists mainly as those working in the clinical, counseling and school psychology subfields. Psychology job opportunities, it said, are expected to grow 19 percent over the next 10 years. School psychology is particularly fast-growing because of increased public understanding of the link between mental health and learning, the authors point out. The position of college professor scored high on both flexibility and creativity, slightly lower on stress and lowest on ease of entry. Job opportunities for academicians are expected to grow 31 percent over the next decade, according to the data.

A psychology career is appealing for a variety of reasons including satisfying work, flexible hours and good pay--with the average salary over a range of psychology subfields and job settings listed around $66,500, according to an article about the list on That figure coincides with the APA Research Office's most recent salary data for the average 2003 earnings of counseling psychologists ($65,000), but the APA data lists higher averages for those in the clinical ($75,000) and school psychology subfields ($78,000).

Psychology career caveats include stiff competition for graduate programs and working with insurers.

College professors--who in this data set include both instructors with doctoral and master's-level training-are faring well because enrollment is rising in professional programs, community colleges and technical schools, according to the study. According to the Money study, the average salary for a college professor is $81,500, and approximately 95,300 new positions are available annually. By comparison, a recent report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) lists that average as $70,333. The AAUP data also shows that big differences exist between different types of academic institutions, with full professors at private doctoral universities earning $131,292 on average and assistant professors at community colleges earning $47,046.

Career caveats include vying for tenure and the fact that "salaries at the low end are indeed low," says the article.

All psychology students should feel heartened by the ranking, says APA Board of Directors member Ronald Rozensky, PhD, who as a clinician, department chair and professor at the University of Florida has had firsthand experience with both top jobs.

"No matter what career track you have chosen, it appears that there should be some sense of positive enthusiasm," Rozensky points out. "Those long hours in the library, the lab, the classroom and the clinic seem to be leading to bright futures."

-J. Chamberlin

Read the article online at

The Best Jobs in America

According to Money magazine and, the top 10 U.S. jobs are:


Software engineer
Financial adviser
Human resources manager
Physician assistant
Market research analyst
Computer/IT analyst
Real estate appraiser