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Psychology Salary

Updated on December 26, 2018

© 2018 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 median $37.03 per hour or $77,030 per year as of May 2017, 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 clinical, counseling, and psychologists were elementary and secondary schools, where over 40 percent of the 108,060 professionals earned a mean $37.22 per hour or $77,430 per year. About 15 percent worked in their own offices, earning a mean $44.29 per hour or $92,310 per year. Individual and family services showed almost 7 percent of the positions with means at $39.02 per hour or $81,160 per year. The highest paying employers were home health care services at a mean $45.15 per hour or $93,910 per year. Specialty hospitals (not including psychiatric and substance abuse) were next, averaging $43.48 per hour or $90,450 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 17 percent of all positions, averaging $45.63 per hour or $94,910 per year. New York was next with 11 percent of the professionals making a mean $43.84 per hour or $91,180 per year. Texas ranked third with 6 percent of the jobs and mean salaries at $33.68 per hour or $70,060 per year. The highest wages were in New Jersey at a mean $47.01 per hour or $97,790 per year, followed by Alaska, averaging $46.32 per hour or $96,350 per year.


The BLS predicts job growth for clinical, counseling and school psychologists of 22 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is more than the 14 percent growth for all jobs in all occupations and the 11 percent rate for all other psychologists. Next is the 8 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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