SGPsychStud: Money vs Passion - Will being in this field get big bucks for me?

The question for this post is on whether being a social worker/counsellor/psychologist or any related job in this field provide you lots of money. The definition of "lots of money" here would be  having a good enough life with money to spare, a nice car, a nice house, etc of materialistic value. This might be a little extreme, as these might not be the desire of some to have these materialistic stuff. However, this is just to set up this illustration of this comparison between the need of materialistic gains vs the passion to work in the helping field.

This story starts with the initial thoughts of getting the salary when you start work after your studies. How much are you getting to get paid for your services? Probably your salary would be proportional and matched to your years of education?

Let's have a current look at the median monthly gross salary rates of June 2010 as published by the Ministry of Manpower. Please skip forward to Appendix 1 (page 51) in the attachment. Social workers/counsellors and psychologists are of the 5 lowest paid professionals at $2700 and $2850 respectively. But this might not be an accurate reflection of your current wages as they are the median (50th percentile) wages of everyone who participated in the survey, which included 197 social work and counselling professional and 52 psychologists. Hence we are not very sure of what the average wage or starting wage would be like for people who wish to join this field. Please understand that I am not trying to discourage you to continue pursuing psychology, but just here to show you the real picture of what is really happening.

UPDATE: Here is the new excel tables from MOM, based from the Report of Wages in Singapore 2011 (full report). Still one of the lowest paid health and social service professions at $3150 (psychologist) and $3180 (social work/counselling professionals). This is based on 317 social work and counselling professionals and 131 psychologists.

After sacrificing at least another 2-3 years of your life studying the honours degree and  Masters program, you may expect that your salary would be similar to that of your peers who graduated 3 years ago and been working since then. However this might not be the case.

But is this going to stop you from pursuing this field? Is your love for psychology larger than the materialistic gains? Have a think about it. I know I have my answer. Do you?

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