A psychologist’s job consists of evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and studying the cognitive, emotional, and social processes of human behavior. They observe and analyze past behavior, and use this information to predict future behavior. Essentially, psychologists study the human mind and behavior to provide a better understanding of the causes behind the actions and to provide probable solutions to improve the individual’s life.
Psychologists either have their own practice, work as part of a healthcare team, conduct research, and/or collaborate with schools, doctors, and other institutions.
To become a psychologist, one must have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. or PsyD to be able to apply for a license or certification.
How much do psychologists make? An average psychologist salary depends on the specialty and educational attainment. An individual with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology has limited job prospects in the field and often work as research assistants, as preschool or high school teachers, and as assistants to practicing psychologists.
The median wage for psychologists is $79,010 per year, or $37.99 per hour. This median wage is defined as the average salary where half of the country’s psychologists earned more than that amount and half earned less.
The lowest 10% of the of the psychologist population in the US earned less than $43,800 while the top 10% earned more than $129,250.
The psychologist starting salary as well as the annual average salary differ per specialty. Those who specialize in industrial-organization psychology earn more the median wage, which is $97,260. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn an annual average salary of $76,990, and $100,770 for other psychologists.
Salaries also differ depending on the hours worked every day. Many individuals in this industry practice in private clinics and have their own hours. Most treatments and therapy sessions are conducted through appointments and work hours can consist of evenings and weekends. Those who work as school psychologists work during the day, during school hours, and those in the industrial-organization field work in corporate hours or from 9 to 5.
Top 5 Paying States
|Flag||State||Employment per 1000 Jobs||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
Top Paying Industries
|Industry||Percent of industry employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Child Day Care Services||0.04||$46.24||$96,180|
|Scientific and Development Services||0.08||$42.03||$87,430|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||0.10||$39.46||$82,070|
|Offices of Physicians||0.16||$39.19||$81,510|
Psychologist Job Description
Psychologists observe and gather data, use the information to evaluate and interpret behavior, and predict future behavior. There are different specialties in the field of psychology and job descriptions differ for each.
Generally, a psychologist’s career consists of studying the human mind and behavior through controlled experiments, diagnostic tests, interviews, observations, and other methods of gathering data. Once all the needed information is acquired, the psychologist evaluates and creates options for treatment, for improvement, and other recommendations.
Psychologists work in their own practices, in clinics, in hospitals, in rehab facilities, in mental health centers, and in schools. Those who specialize in research mostly work in colleges and universities. Others work in government agencies and private research organizations.
In 2012, there was a total of 160,200 jobs, with 43% being self-employed, 31% working in educational services, and 29% in healthcare and social assistance.
There are 7 specialty areas to choose from for a psychologist career, and these are:
Clinical Psychologist – those who analyze, diagnose, and treat mental disorders. These psychologists also focus on a school of thought that defines the way they gather data and how they diagnose information to create a plan of action. They handle patients who have short-term issues to those who have severe and chronic mental conditions.
Clinical psychologists can also focus on a specific population, such as those who specialize in Health Psychology. Those who specialize in this field study the way psychology plays a role in those who are suffering from an illness such as cancer. This occupation is found primarily in hospitals where patients are given recommendations to help alleviate symptoms of pain and depression.
Clinical psychologists can also become Neuropsychologists – those who study the biology of the brain and its relation to thoughts and behavior.
Counseling Psychologists – those who are in this profession also analyze behavior but they don’t diagnose mental disorders. They simply give advice to individuals who may be suffering from problems in the home, the workplace, and the community. Issues include marital problems, addiction, school problems, and other issues that reduce a person’s quality of life.
Developmental Psychologists – these psychologists focus on the individual’s progress and development throughout life. However, those who focus on children and adolescents are more prominent, as the diagnosis for development and learning disorders often occur during these years of a person’s life.
Forensic Psychologists – those who use psychological principles in conjunction with the legal and criminal justice system. They work with lawyers and judges and often appear in court as expert witnesses.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists – those who use the theories of psychology and apply it in the workplace and to groups of people. They mostly work in the corporate world to help with the screening of job applicants, help to evaluate and assess potential promotions, handle employee relations, as well as workplace productivity. These psychologists are the ones who make up a company’s Human Resource department.
School Psychologists – those who work in education-related issues. They often work in schools where they get to evaluate students’ behavior and academic performance, create recommendations for college applications, give out tests, as well as to counsel students as well as teachers.
Social Psychologists – those who study human interaction in the social setting and use research to improve better social interactions.
Psychologist Job Outlook
There is a projected growth forecast of 14% for psychologists from the years 2016- 2026. The specialtie areas having the most growth in employment is the clinical, counseling, and school psychology fields where growing demand is seen to be more than the average across all occupations.
An 14% growth in clinical, counseling, and social psychologist jobs is also projected, as well as the growing demand for school psychologists.
Psychologist Salary by State
Top paying metropolitan areas
|Area||Employment per 1000 jobs||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|Waterloo / Cedar Falls, – IA||0.60||$56.00||$116,470|
|Hanford Corcoran, – CA||2.63||$52.84||$109,900|
|San Luis Obispo / Paso Robles, – CA||1.89||$50.86||$105,780|
|Vallejo / Fairfield, CA||1.78||$49.50||$102,960|
|Salinas, – CA||1.42||$48.37||$100,610|
Top paying nonmetropolitan areas
|Area||Employment per 1000 jobs||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage|
|North Coast – Region of California – nonmetropolitan area||1.02||$46.08||$95,840|
|Southwest Maine – nonmetropolitan area||0.32||$43.43||$90,320|
|Northwest Massachusetts – nonmetropolitan area||1.73||$42.88||$89,180|
|Upper Peninsula of Michigan – nonmetropolitan area||0.66||$42.34||$88,070|
|East Idaho – nonmetropolitan area||0.81||$39.89||$82,970|