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 $76,990 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Most of these professionals earned wages from $44,040 to $129,310. Additionally, PayScale.com reported that the median salary for clinical psychologists at early career was $71,020 as of June 2019.

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 2015 doctoral employment survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), a recent graduate can expect to earn approximately $75,000-$125,000. The median starting salary for graduates providing direct human services in clinical psychology was $80,000, while those beginning their careers in school psychology earned a median salary of $75,000. The APA also reported that Ph.D. holders working as assistant professors earned a median annual salary of $55,500, while those working in research earned a median salary of $95,000.

Salaries by Industry

The BLS reported that industries with the highest level of employment opportunities for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in May 2018 included elementary and secondary schools, offices of health practitioners, individual and family services, offices of physicians, and outpatient care centers. Individuals working for schools made $78,970 on average, while those working for the offices of other health practitioners averaged $96,930. Average wages for other industries were $85,810 for individual and family services, $94,320 for offices of physicians, and $93,620 for outpatient care centers.

Offices of other health practitioners paid these psychologists the highest average wage of $96,930 in May 2018, according to the BLS. Management of companies and enterprises offered an average wage of $95,190, while offices of physicians paid an average of $94,320.

Salaries by Location

According to the BLS, top-paying states for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in May 2018 included California, Oregon, New Jersey, District of Columbia, and Hawaii. Average wages for each of these states were $108,350, $103,870, $98,470, $95,500, and $94,550, respectively. The states that employed the most of these professionals included California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, with average wages ranging from $73,650-$108,350 annually. The lowest average wages in the country ranged from $63,720-$83,610 and were found in states that included Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Montana, Vermont, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.

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 14 percent for clinical, counseling and school psychologists over the 2016-2026 decade. The aging population and an increased need for professionals who can help those with mental health issues will contribute to this growth. By 2026, the BLS estimated that there will be 21,000 new jobs in this field.

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