How Much Do Clinical Psychologists Make?
Clinical psychology is a specialty that offers continuing and comprehensive behavioral and mental health care for families and individuals. You also will offer consultative services to communities and agencies, as well as education, training, and supervision.
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Most clinical psychologists eventually earn a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree to earn the highest possible salary. (APA.org). Clinical psychology is the most popular specialty in psychology, so you will face ample competition for good-paying jobs after graduation.
Some of the advanced knowledge you will obtain in clinical psychology programs are:
- An understanding of diagnostic and intervention considerations as well as understanding of psychopathology.
- Mental health problems across life and based on a good understanding of psychopathology.
- The ability to assess, integrate and synthesize personality test information with other standardized assessment information.
- Learning to consult with other healthcare professionals regarding serious psychopathology disorders, violence and suicide.
Some of the different career fields you can choose with a degree in clinical psychology are:
- Clinical case manager: Handle a caseload of psychology clients with diverse needs.
- College professor: Work several years in the field, probably in private practice, and work for a college as a psychology teacher in students at the bachelor’s, master’s and/or Ph.D. level.
- Clinical social worker: Assist clients to obtain resources they need to live, such as rent help and job assistance, and help them work through their personal problems, such as marriage, divorce, anxiety, depression.
- Private practice psychologist: If you earn your Ph.D., you may be able to work as a private practice psychologist with your own slate of clients that you develop on your own. You could often work with children, young adults, those with anxiety or even specialize in people suffering from mood disorders.
- Mental health social worker: Provide clinical counseling services and resources to social work clients. You may work in crisis intervention groups, help patients find housing and daycare, and sign up for various government resources, such as healthcare and food stamps.
Working as a clinical psychologist requires a doctoral degree, which takes at least four or five years to earn. If you want to work in this field, it is important to know what you can earn as a clinical psychologist. It will, of course, vary by your job title, where you live and experience level.
Clinical Psychologist Salary Information
There is plenty of data available to show the salary level you can expect as a clinical psychologist.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a good resource for psychologist’s salary information. In 2018, the Bureau determined the median salary for all psychologists is $79,000. The top 10% with the most education and experience earned $129,000 per year. (BLS.gov)
BLS reported the median salary for clinical and counseling psychologists is $76,990. The top-paying industries were:
- Government: $96,400
- Hospitals: $86,500
- Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,100
- Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800k
The American Psychological Association (APA) has extensive salary data for all kinds of psychologists. In 2016, it conducted a survey of 1,283 graduate students and early career professionals. The median first-year salary for all psychologists was $60,000. Salaries for psychologists with new doctorates were $64,000 in 2009. (APA.org)
For clinical psychologists specifically, APA reported a median salary of $65,000 and a maximum salary of $130,000.
Payscale states the average clinical psychologist’s salary is $77,500, with a range between $49,000 and $111,000. (Payscale.com). The website further notes the average salary can go up or down based on living in these cities:
- Washington DC: +11%
- New York City: +3%
- Boston: 0%
- San Diego: -2%
- Chicago: -6%
- Los Angeles: -7%
- San Francisco: -12%
Payscale.com also reports the entry-level clinical psychology professional earns an average salary of $65,300.
According to Ziprecruiter.com, the average salary in this profession is $101,300 per year. The website states that it has seen annual salaries in this field as high as $166,000 and as low as $34,000. However, most clinical psychologists earn a wage between $81,500 and $113,000. (Ziprecruiter.com)
Indeed.com reports the average salary for all clinical psychologists in the US is $96,400 per year. Below are some of the reported salaries for clinical psychologists at different employers across America:
- MDSI Physicians Services – Clinical Psychologist: $156,000
- Cotler Health Care Clinical Psychologist: $140,000
- National Security Agency Clinical Psychologist: $113,800
- Sterling Medical Clinical Psychologist: $115,000
- Seattle Christian Counseling Clinical Psychologist: $128,600
- US Department of Defense Clinical Psychologist: $117,100
- US Army Medicine Clinical Psychologist: $106,700
Job Outlook for Clinical Psychologists
The APA reports that 72% of recent graduates in the classes of 2013 and 2014 had jobs within 90 days of graduation. APA also cites BLS data for 2018, noting job growth for all psychologists will be at least 15% through 2028, which is much faster than average. It is expected there will be greater demand for psychological services in clinics, health centers, hospitals and schools as people want to deal with their mental health concerns to lead happier lives.
Also, in 2013, just one percent of psychology research Ph.D.s reported being unemployed.
BLS data also shows there are 162,000 clinical psychologists working in the US today in these fields:
- Self-employed: 29%
- Elementary and secondary schools: 24%
- Ambulatory healthcare services: 18%
- Government: 10%
- Hospitals: 6%
An extensive review of official employment and salary data shows the salary and job outlook for clinical psychologists is solid. More Americans are looking to have their mental health and personal issues dealt with as they live longer and healthier lives. With a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, it is likely you may earn a salary well above $70,000 for years to come. This is possible working in private practice, for the US government and even as a professor of psychology at a university.