What Is the Salary for Graduates with a PhD in Clinical Psychology?

As a clinical psychology practitioner, you will work directly with a variety of individuals to promote mental health. Read on to learn about your earning potential within the field. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that clinical, counseling and school psychologists overall earned a median annual salary of $68,900 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Most of these professionals earned wages from $40,080 to $113,640. Additionally, PayScale.com reported that the median salary for clinical psychologists with 0-5 years of experience was $65,684 as of January 2016.

Important Facts About Psychologists

On-the-Job Training Internship/residency
Key Skills Patience, trustworthiness, ability to observe, ability to think analytically, ability to communicate well, problem-solving and people skills
Work Environment Private practice offices, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities
Similar Occupations Counselor, physician, postsecondary teacher, social worker, sociologist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Entry-Level Salaries for Recent Ph.D. Graduates

According to the 2009 doctoral employment survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), a recent graduate can expect to earn approximately $50,000-$70,000. The median starting salary for graduates providing direct human services in clinical psychology was $61,000, while those beginning their careers in school psychology earned a median salary of $58,000. The APA also reported that Ph.D. holders working as assistant professors earned a median annual salary of $56,727, while those working in research earned a median salary of $60,000.

Salaries by Industry

The BLS reported that industries with the highest level of employment opportunities for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in May 2014 included elementary and secondary schools, offices of health practitioners, individual and family services, outpatient care facilities, and general medical and surgical hospitals. Individuals working for schools made $72,710 on average, while those working for the offices of other health practitioners averaged $81,480. Average wages for other industries were $67,380 for individual and family services, $66,570 for outpatient care centers, and $82,070 for general medical and surgical hospitals.

Child day care services paid these psychologists the highest average wage of $96,180 in May 2014, according to the BLS. Specialty hospitals offered an average wage of $90,050, while scientific research and development paid an average of $87,430.

Salaries by Location

According to the BLS, top-paying states for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in May 2014 included Rhode Island, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Alabama. Average wages for each of these states were $94,590, $87,620, $86,120, $85,670 and $85,440, respectively. The states that employed the most of these professionals included California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, with average wages ranging from $61,580-$85,130 annually. The lowest average wages in the country ranged from $34,090-$62,820 and were found in states that included Arizona, Utah, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, Vermont and Kentucky.

Career Overview

Clinical psychology focuses on identifying, treating and preventing a variety of mental health disorders. As a clinical psychologist, you will provide an outlet for individuals, groups and families to talk through and deal with issues ranging from personal feelings to major mental disabilities, including depression and schizophrenia. The field encompasses a number of specialty areas, such as child psychology, health psychology and neuropsychology. These professionals are needed in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, the military, private practice and healthcare organizations.

Education Requirements

According to the BLS, a doctoral degree is usually required to enter the field of clinical psychology. Aspiring clinical psychologists choose either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in clinical or counseling psychology. As a graduate of a clinical psychology Ph.D. program, you can choose to pursue careers in teaching, research or direct patient care. Ph.D. programs typically require 4-5 years of full-time study and require extensive coursework in areas such as psychotherapy, intervention, assessment and human development. Independent research is required to complete a doctoral thesis.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects average job growth of 20 percent for clinical, counseling and school psychologists over the 2014-2024 decade. The aging population and an increased need for professionals who can help those with mental health issues will contribute to this growth. By 2024, the BLS estimated that there will be 30,600 new jobs in this field.

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