In the United States, the average median psychologist salary is reported to be about $86,000 per year or about $ per hour. The top 10th percentile of psychologists make about $110,000 or more per year or about $ or more per hour. The bottom 10th percentile earns annual wages of $68,000 or less or hour wages or $ or less. The middle 50% of psychologists (majority of them) have salaries ranging from $76,000 to $98,000 per year which is between $ and $ per hour.
Psychologists can be put into two broad areas. These are clinical and counseling psychologists. The average salaries for both fields differ slightly. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for clinical psychologists is $64,000 per year. The bottom 10th percentile earns $38,000 or less per year and the top 10th percentile earns about $106,000 or more per year. Counselling psychologists earned slightly higher. They earned an average of $69,000 per year. The bottom 10th percentile earn about $40,000 or less per year and the top 10th percentile earn about $112,000 or more per year.
As with most jobs, there will be factors that influence the salary of a psychologist. These factors include number of hours worked, number of year of experience on the job, geographical location of the job, type of establishment, industry of establishment and skills level. Each of these factors can either slightly raise or lower the wage.
When considering a psychologist salary based on the industry they work in, the breakdown is as below:
Those working in the offices of other health professionals earned an average of $81,000 per annum. Those that work in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals reported an average annual income of about $75,000 per year. Those working in educational support capacities such as school counselors had an average salary of about $67,000 per year. Psychologists working in outpatient care centers reported income of about $68,000 per annum on average. Our report also found that psychologists in Rhode Island received the highest average salary in the country followed by Hawaii and New York.
Psychologists may also be entitled to benefits from their employers. Employers generally pay benefits such as social security, bonuses, pension, healthcare benefits, 401K and paid time off. When these benefits are added to the base salary, the total remuneration package could come to a median of about $120,000 per year. Those in self-employment are responsible for paying these benefits.
Job description of a psychologist
Psychologists are responsible for evaluating, diagnosing and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in patients. Psychologists will often find themselves classified under one of the following subspecialties:
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Developmental psychologists
- Forensic psychologists
- Industrial-organizational psychologists
- School psychologists
- Social psychologists
Clinical psychologists often work in private practices, hospitals, counselling centers and clinics. They provide mental and emotional disorder patients with a way of adjusting to their life. They often help patients that have undergone some form of trauma deal with their post traumatic syndromes. A clinical psychologist’s clients list can include people dealing with persona crisis such as injury, the death of a loved one and divorces or heartbreaks.
Most of what they do involves talking to patients. They make diagnosis by talking to patients to better understand what they are going through. They use treatments ranging from psychotherapy and medication. Where medication is concerned, they often consult with other physicians to determine which medication is should be prescribed.
Counselling psychologists work with patient’s case history, interviews as well as observation to provide counselling service to patients. They aim to help people achieve personal goals and deal the stress of day to day living. They often give advice to their patients. They may often deal with people’s problems such as low self-confidence, social problems and people wanting to make changes in their lives.
How to become a psychologist
Most psychologists hold either a master’s doctoral or specialist degrees. For those wanting to become clinical psychologists, they will need to have either a Ph.D. degree in psychology or another degree known as a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). The Ph.D. in psychology degree is a generally a research based degree. Students qualify for this degree by completing an extensive examination and doing a dissertation through original research. The second degree, Psy.D. is more of a clinical degree. Students undertake more practical experience instead of a dissertation. They must also pass an extensive exam.
Psychologists with a master’s degree often find themselves working as industrial-organizational psychologists. They can however work in clinical, research or counselling settings as assistants to psychologists with doctorial qualifications.
If you want to study psychology in graduate school, you should know that entry into this program is very competitive. Although a bachelor’s degree in psychology is not a pre-requisite for admission, you are required to have done some coursework in experimental and introductory psychology and statistics.
If you want to practice psychology or be called a psychologist, you will need to get licensed or certified in most states. In every state, a license is required to operate your own individual practice. In most states it is required that the psychologist have a doctoral degree, undertake an internship, have about 1 – 2 years of experience and pass an exam in order to get a license. Most are required to have some sort of supervised training from a qualified psychologist before they are allowed to practice.
Verdict on psychologist salary
Psychologists undergo extensive education and treatment and often work in stressed environments. A lot of them open their own practices or have private consultations. As such a psychologist salary should be a very rewarding one. How much you end up earning depends on so many factors. It is not uncommon to see very large discrepancies in the salary of psychologists with similar qualifications.