Salary Outlook for Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D. or Ph.D)
Individuals who want to work directly with patients and clients to help them improve their mental and emotional health should consider pursuing a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. In contrast to a PhD in Psychology, a Clinical Psychology PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) course of study will focus more heavily on real-world work vs. academic research.
Those with Clinical PsyD degrees are likely to see a positive employment outlook over the course of the next decade. Here’s a look at how much these individuals can expect to make, where employment is the strongest and which job titles in clinical psychology have the best prospects for high wages.
Clinical Psychology Salaries
Because job titles vary based on specialty and specific employers, national- and state-level data on clinical psychology employment is quite broad. But it still reveals interesting details about the salary outlook for those with a PsyD in Clinical Psychology.
Employment in clinical psychology, which includes counselors and school psychologists, is expected to increase by 14 percent through 2026, which is about double the rate for all occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The median annual income for clinical psychologists is $75,090, but the median salary for non-clinical or industrial/organizational psychologists, which encompasses many individuals with Clinical PsyD degrees, is $97,740. Because the BLS categorizes clinical psychologists along with school psychologists and counselors, whose salaries often are lower simply because they work in education, the overall median for clinical psychologists could be misleading.
Which economic sector an individual chooses also has a large impact, as those choosing to work in elementary education have the worst salary prospects. Median income for those employed at both public and private elementary or secondary schools is $74,470, while clinical psychologists employed by the government earn a median salary of $94,910, more than 25 percent higher.
Geography also impacts expected salaries, as some states and cities are likely to include higher-wage jobs. Seven of the top 10 cities are in California, while California is the highest-paying state for clinical psychologists.
Metro areas with highest median income
- Salinas, California $118,360
- San Jose, California $111,540
- San Francisco, California $111,190
- Santa Barbara, California $109,690
- Vallejo, California $108,730
- Bend, Oregon $108,080
- Greensboro, North Carolina $107,530
- Hanford, California $105,910
- Napa, California $105,100
- Manchester, New Hampshire $102,310
States with highest median income
- California $94,670
- New Jersey $87,910
- Connecticut $86,940
- New York $86,410
- North Dakota $85,230
- Oregon $83,550
- Alaska $82,720
- Hawaii $80,060
- Colorado $79,190
States With the Most Opportunities
Just like any industry, the employment picture for those with Clinical Psychology PsyD degrees depends largely on where you live. Several states have more opportunities now than others, and some are projected to see larger increases than others over the coming decade. Here’s a look at which areas are strongest.
Highest concentration of openings*
- Vermont 1.98
- New Mexico 1.89
- Rhode Island 1.85
- New York 1.63
- Minnesota 1.56
- Massachusetts 1.49
- California 1.44
- Colorado 1.43
- Utah 1.36
- Connecticut 1.34
A few states fall well below the national median for careers in clinical psychology, though that doesn’t necessarily indicate that individuals with Clinical PsyD degrees can’t find jobs there. It simply means the state is not a hotbed of clinical psychology hiring. Louisiana has less than a third of the national median, while four other states (Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida) have less than half.
* This figure is based on the BLS’ location quotient indicates an area’s rate of clinical psychology jobs relative to the national median. So the top state on the list, Vermont, has almost twice the concentration of clinical psychology jobs than the national rate.
For those just now entering their degree programs, the job picture today likely won’t bear much resemblance to the marketplace they’ll enter once they complete their education. In fact, some of the states with the lowest concentration of Clinical PsyD-related jobs are projected to post the biggest gains.
Highest percentage change in clinical psychology job openings (2016-26)
- Colorado 33.5%
- Utah 30.8%
- Arizona 24.9%
- Nevada 21.7%
- Washington 21.5%
- Texas 20%
- Florida 19.9%
- Virginia 18.2%
- Arkansas 17.7%
- Georgia 17.4%
No state is projected to have a decline in clinical psychology job openings through 2026, and, in fact, for all states, the growth picture for Clinical PsyD degree holders is better in most states
than the overall job growth rate of 7 percent. Only four states (Rhode Island, Maine, Illinois and Vermont) have clinical psychology growth rates below the national employment growth rate.
Salary Outlook for Clinical PsyD Jobs
In addition to finding work under the “clinical psychologist” job title, Clinical PsyD degrees qualify individuals for dozens of other interesting roles. Here’s a look at salary range information for some of the highest-paying clinical psychology specialties:
- Psychometrician: $75,000-$140,000
- Mental Health Counselor: $40,000-$80,000
- Addiction Counselor: $40,000-$80,000
- Social Worker: $45,000-$100,000
- Psychologist Reviewer: $60,000-$90,000
- Adolescent Therapist: $75,000-$135,000
- Telehealth Psychologist: $45,000-$80,000
- Couples Counselor: $50,000-$80,000
- Behavioral Scientist: $75,000-$150,000
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapist: $40,000-$70,000
- Crisis Counselor: $50,000-$100,000
- Clinic Director: $50,000-$100,000
- Psychological Consultant: $85,000-$120,000
- Faculty & Staff Therapist: $50,000-$75,000
- Behavior Analyst: $70,000-$125,000
- Sleep Counselor: $50,000-$100,000
- Forensic Psychologist: $75,000-$100,000
- Veterans Counselor: $75,000-$100,000
- School Counselor: $70,000-$110,000
- Grief Counselor: $50,000-$60,000
- Neuropsychologist: $75,000-$100,000
While a great deal depends on where in the U.S. you live, individuals with Clinical PsyD degrees are likely to find well-paying jobs, particularly if they develop specialties that make them more attractive candidates.
Those working in government roles and private practice are likely to earn the highest salaries. Those opening their own practices are largely able to set their own rates, and individuals who work as clinical psychologists within government will likely be compensated for jobs that are expected to be more stressful than average work.
With a growth rate more than double that of the nation at large, individuals who have a passion for helping others improve their lives through bettering their emotional and mental health should have a wide range of opportunities to earn a comfortable living once they complete their Clinical PsyD degrees.
As the nation gets older on average and as public acceptance and understanding of the importance of caring for mental health grows, a Clinical PsyD could very well prepare you for a job that doesn’t even exist today.
All information about job openings, job growth, state- and city-level income and state income growth came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s a look at where you can explore the data for yourself. (Note, in some cases, you will need to create a custom table using this tool).
- Salary: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-5
- Job outlook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-6
- State and metro data: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-7 and http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Information on specific job openings available and their salary ranges was gathered from Indeed and Glassdoor in mid-February 2019.