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Psychology Salary

Updated on July 14, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Psychologists study the human mind by observing, recording and analyzing human behavior. All states require licensing or certification for using the title of “psychologist” especially in clinical and counseling, or when practicing in schools. Some states do not require licensing or certification for industrial or organizational psychologists, or make it optional.


Certified psychologists earned a mean $35.14 per hour or $73,090 per year as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They help individuals, couples and families change their behavior, and diagnose mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. They encourage persons to talk about their thoughts and emotions in individual and group therapy. They can then create and create treatment plans, sometimes in collaboration with doctors and social workers. They can address issues in the home, at work or in the community, and help patients identify resources for managing problems.


In 2011, the biggest employers of certified psychologists were elementary and secondary schools, where almost 41 percent of the 100,850 professionals earned a mean $34.38 per hour or $71,510 per year. About 13 percent worked in their own offices, earning a mean $40.22 per hour or $83,650 per year. Individual and family services showed almost 7 percent of the positions with means at $32.65 per hour or $67,900 per year. The highest paying employers were employment services at a mean $46.67 per hour or $97,060 per year. Business schools and computer and management training were next for wages with means at $45.99 per hour or $95,670 per year.


Areas with the largest populations provided the most opportunities for certified psychologists starting with the most populous state of California. It contained almost 16 percent of all positions, averaging $40.66 per hour or $84,580 per year. New York was next with 10 percent of the professionals making a mean $40.43 per hour or $84,090 per year. Texas ranked third with 6 percent of the jobs and mean salaries at $30.90 per hour or $64,260 per year. The highest wages were in New Mexico at a mean $31.26 per hour or $65,020 per year, followed by Massachusetts, averaging $37.05 per hour or $77,070 per year.


The BLS predicts job growth for clinical, counseling and school psychologists of 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is more than the 14 percent growth for all jobs in all occupations and the 18 percent rate for all other psychologists. However, it is under the 35 percent increase predicted for industrial-organizational psychologists. Much of the demand will come from schools, hospitals, mental health centers and social service agencies. In addition, more people are turning to clinical and counseling psychologists to help manage such issues as depressions, job stress, addiction and marriage issues. Psychologists are also needed to deal with the mental and physical changes associated with aging.


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      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      It is pretty interesting to see in numbers how much these people make! I have employed them for 20! It is a hard and stressful job indeed. It was an interesting read today! Voted up!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Huh, not sure why, but I expected their salaries to be much higher than this. While it is still a good wage, these people are helping and dealing with some extreme situations, emotional trauma, and also some very personal issues. It must be a hard job and mentally draining! But, one to feel proud of.

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      I'm sure that the psychology students especially appreciate this hub. I admire these professionals (those with integrity), because their entire lives are invested in their patients. They deserve all the money they get. Thanks for sharing.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, useful, and awesome Alocsin. That is a healthy yearly salary. I know my psychologist does really well. He has a plane and a mansion. I reckon he is doing something right. He has a suboxone facility. 200 patients at $400 a month, plus his regular salary. Needless to say. he is well off. This is a field I always wanted to go in. Another great article Alocsin. Hope all is well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have a good friend who started out as a teacher and then went on to become a psychologist. It is an important job. It sounds like a good area to consider as a career for students just starting out and deciding what they wish to do. Your entire series is an excellent resource for students! Voted up and interesting and will share.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Psychologists don't go through med school, urmilashukla23. But psychiatrists do.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      This is particularly interesting to me as I studied Psychology for over four years, and in fact I was one course away from being a councilor. Interesting stuff, I am sure it will be most helpful to anybody working in this field. I just wish I had gone and done the last course, it just wasn't the right time, great info, cheers nell

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I always appreciate it when commenters add more information, fpherj48.

    • Angel198625 profile image

      Amber Lynn 5 years ago

      This is very useful to anyone considering this career. This was also well written!

    • Dahlia Flower profile image

      Dahlia Flower 5 years ago from Canada

      Great research, well laid out, Alocsin.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      alocsin....I can only hope you don't mind if I add a little info....I realize you always make it clear about the differences in salaries as they relate to "area"..geographically. But also....because "specialization" has spread to all areas of medecine, to include Mental Health (Psychologists, etal)...the salaries can range quite a bit. Under Mental Health, can be, to name ONE area: Psychology....further, under Psychology , are numerous sub-depts , or divisions, if you will....for example HBA's (Human Behavioral Analysts) which is considered a "specialization" depending on the clinical environment. Don't mean to drag this out, but I felt I should explain.......HBA's are in HIGH demand these days....especially in communityRehab Facilities...and as a result, the salary has become very attractive. What was 40 to 45 $ per hr, is now 50 to 60 $ per hr. I only know this via co-workers I have remained in touch with since I retired.

      Your hubs on various jobs, careers etc, with related info are very informative and helpful. I would hope that HS graduates who aren't sure of their choice in major....would read all this info. UP++

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great information on what would have been my second choice for a career. The money is pretty good and you can make a big difference. Great hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I started out my career search in psychology, but decided on education instead. It is a great opportunity to help others in need. The salary pay is exceptional and does promise increased value through the next few years. 22% growth is very good. Wonder why California is popular to this career?

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hehe, if I could listen better, I'd become a psychologist. I think I might be a little too ADD - I don't know if I could sit still long enough to listen to everyone. Hehe.

      One of my really good friends became a psychologist for at-risk youth. She's amazing and when she calls me on the phone, I end up feeling like I'm one of her patients because I end up talking about what bothers me, LOL. That notwithstanding, they make great money. If I could only be so lucky...hahaha.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is fascinating. I had no idea that schools are the biggest employers of certified psychologists. Considering the issues in today's society, I imagine the demand for psychologists will continue to increase. Voted up and shared!

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Interesting topic here Alocsin. I contemplated going back to school for this degree but I've had so much schooling I decided against it. If I had to choose a career again it would definitely be psychology. Helpful hub. Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Interesting facts put out there, Alocsin.

      As usual, you have always been a resource full of information...cheers!!

      voted up and sharing it across

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      It seems certified psychologist earn pretty good money. Do they go through med school? Nice work Alocsin. Keep it up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love this series of hubs; I learn something new with each addition to this series. Well done once again my friend!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      This is good information to know, especially if you are studying psychology and need to know your options. Voted up.