Clinical Psychology Salary: What You’ll Earn
Once you complete your clinical psychology degree program your salary options are as wide open as the field itself.
Salaries for the work you do in psychology can vary widely based on a number of factors.
That said, keep reading to learn how much you’re likely to make in any number of psychology careers: organizational-industrial, clinical, counseling, or school psychology, and more.
Also, learn about job growth predictions, competition for jobs, and where you might work.
Median Annual Salary
According to the most current Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national annual salary for clinical psychologists is $70,580. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
What’s my earning potential?
Salaries for clinical psychologists can be lucrative, with the BLS reporting that the top 10 percent earned more than $120,000. As with every career, experience plays an enormous factor in salary. A clinical psychology salary jumps significantly around the fifth year, and salaries tend to increase steadily with each consecutive year.
How does a clinical psychologists’ salary compare to other psychology careers?
|Psychology Career||Median Annual Salary*|
|Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists||$70,580|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Is there demand for this career?
Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as people continue to turn to psychologists to help solve or manage their problems. More psychologists will be needed to help people deal with issues such as depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, job stress and addiction. Psychologists also will be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that occur as they grow older.
What is the job growth for the field?
Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is expected to grow 14 percent, faster than average for all occupations. Greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies should drive employment growth. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
How much competition will I face for a job?
Depending upon the area of clinical psychology that you intend to pursue, jobs are competitive despite a healthy job growth prediction. The best way to stay ahead of the competition is by earning your doctorate degree in an applied specialty, or in school psychology, which will continue to grow because of the increasing number of children in school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that earning your master’s degree alone may place you in high competition markets, and that master’s degree-holders may need to resort to finding jobs in a related field outside of psychology.
What kinds of companies hire clinical psychologists?
Owning your own practice remains a popular career choice, but clinical psychology offers many more options. While the vast majority of clinical psychologists work in independent practice or the university and college system, many also work in hospitals, clinics and schools.
Here’s where the American Psychological Association (APA) says psychologists are working today:
- Universities and 4-year colleges—25.9 percent
- Hospitals/Other health service—25 percent
- Government/VA medical center—16.3 percent
- Business/Non-profit organizations—10.4 percent
- Medical school/Other academic setting—6.3 percent
- Schools/Other educational—8.1 percent
- Independent practice—5.7
How do I advance in my clinical psychology career?
Although the path you’ll take depends upon whether you’re interested in clinical practice, research or academics, the answer is the same: get more education. Studying current theory and practices in a specific field will give you the skills to work in a broad range of settings. Graduates with a master’s degree can find entry directly into the field of psychology as an industrial-organizational psychologist or as an assistant in clinical or research setting. But if you want to maintain a practice and hang out your shingle as a psychologist, you’ll need your doctorate and licensing.
Becoming licensed allows you to practice as a psychologist in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia. From there, some doctorate-holders advance into research or a specialized clinical psychology area, such as neuropsychology. Some psychologists choose to pursue a medical education and become a psychiatrist, which allows them to write prescriptions for patients.
Clinical psychology is about much more than the money, but it’s great to know that this career offers good salary opportunities in addition to meaningful social contributions.
To learn more about the education required for clinical psychologists, research your degree options.
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