Clinical Psychologist Salary in California

Clinical psychologists provide important mental health services, such as diagnosing emotional or behavioral disorders, conducting research into psychology and human behavior, and providing ongoing treatment for mental health, emotional or behavioral issues.

Among all psychologists, clinical psychologists tend to make lower salaries, but their salaries still tend to be much higher than the overall average salary for all jobs in the U.S. What does the pay and employment outlook situation look like here in California for clinical psychologists?

How Much Do Clinical Psychologists Make in California?

The median annual wage for clinical psychologists, including counseling and school psychologists, is $76,990 nationally, but the typical clinical psychologist in California earns a far higher wage, more than 30% higher, as a matter of fact.

Median annual clinical psychologist wage by state

Top 10
California $100,850
Oregon $89,150
Connecticut $88,890
New York $88,710
Rhode Island $86,370
New Jersey $85,160
District of Columbia $84,780
Alaska $84,740
Minnesota $84,630
Bottom 10
Arizona $61,500
South Carolina $61,030
Vermont $60,590
Montana $60,540
Alabama $60,370
Kentucky $59,300
Kansas $58,900
Mississippi $57,780
West Virginia $50,890
Oklahoma $49,830

While it’s true that even in California, salaries for other psychologist occupations do tend to be higher than for clinical, counseling or school psychologists, clinical psychologist jobs are more lucrative than most other jobs in the state.

Median California wage by occupation, select occupations

Obstetricians and Gynecologists $201,170
Orthodontists $198,330
Airline Pilots $197,740
Lawyers $152,930
Pharmacists $144,660
Nurse Midwives $142,410
Nuclear Engineers $136,000
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists $129,300
Computer and Information Research Scientists $128,370
Advertising and Promotions Managers $121,800
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists $100,850
Mathematicians $99,080
Financial Examiners $96,750
Epidemiologists $90,670
Court Reporters $89,990
Fish and Game Wardens $79,780
Web Developers $78,040
Labor Relations Specialists $75,790
Accountants and Auditors $75,690
Training and Development Specialists $68,760
Editors $68,530
Broadcast News Analysts $67,230
Survey Researchers $63,810
Meter Readers, Utilities $58,200
Real Estate Brokers $56,500
All Occupations $42,430
Medical Secretaries $41,360
Home Health Aides $29,380
Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks $28,340
Retail Salespersons $26,650

In addition to relatively high wages, demand for clinical psychologists is expected to grow at a higher rate in California than elsewhere over the next couple of years.

States by projected growth rate for clinical psychologist job openings, 2018-2020, top 10

Alaska 7.7%
Arizona 5.8%
Washington 4.9%
Oregon 4.3%
Colorado 4.1%
Utah 4.1%
California 4.0%
Florida 4.0%
Wyoming 4.0%
Georgia 3.9%

Which California Cities Are Best for Clinical Psychologists?

Not only does the state of California boast the highest median wage for clinical psychologist, several California cities and metro areas have the highest salaries among all U.S. cities. In fact, among the top 10 areas for clinical psychologist salaries, all but one are in California.

U.S. city/metro area by median annual clinical psychologist wage, top 20

Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $125,180
Madera, CA $123,220
Santa Rosa, CA $120,380
Salinas, CA $118,820
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA $116,480
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA $115,370
Hanford-Corcoran, CA $113,050
Napa, CA $112,520
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $109,080
Baton Rouge, LA $107,370
Bend-Redmond, OR $106,260
Visalia-Porterville, CA $104,610
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA $104,380
Bakersfield, CA $103,950
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $101,460
El Centro, CA $101,140
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $100,830
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA $100,420
Stockton-Lodi, CA $100,390
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $97,820

Additionally, several California cities are among those where clinical psychologist jobs are most plentiful.

U.S. cities/metro areas by clinical psychologist employment per 1,000 jobs, top 12

Hanford-Corcoran, CA 3.625
Madera, CA 2.968
Mankato-North Mankato, MN 2.624
College Station-Bryan, TX 2.459
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 2.089
Fairbanks, AK 2.03
Barnstable, MA 1.98
New Bedford, MA 1.953
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA 1.872
Missoula, MT 1.819
Bakersfield, CA 1.803
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 1.794

Who’s Hiring for Clinical Psychologists in California?

While new jobs are listed every day, we know that the demand for clinical psychologist jobs is high here in California. Here’s a look at organizations, businesses, educational institutions and other employers who routinely seek to hire clinical psychologists throughout the state of California:

  • Thrive Education
  • Bay Area CBT Center
  • Institutes of Health
  • Brandman University
  • S. Army
  • Loma Linda University
  • Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources
  • UC Davis Health
  • Monterey County
  • Tri Counties Regional Center
  • Alliance Medical Center
  • University of California San Francisco
  • UCLA Health
  • S. Air Force
  • Los Angeles County
  • The Center for Well Being
  • Tiny Steps Developmental Services
  • Optimum Performance Institute
  • Stars Behavioral Health Group
  • The Center for Connection
  • California Department of Veterans Affairs

Conclusion

A career in clinical psychology can be incredibly challenging, but for those with a passion for helping others, the chance to make a lifelong impact is well worth the struggle. Earning a comfortable wage doesn’t hurt, either. With both the state and several cities across the vastness of California offering well-above-average wages for clinical psychologists, California looks to continue being a popular destination for those with the drive.

Additional References

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Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Editor-In-Chief

Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.