Most clinical psychologists have PhD or Psy.D (doctor of psychology) degrees, although the term “clinical” psychologist often is used as a job title for psychologists who have master’s degrees only. Clinical psychologists represent the largest group within the psychologist profession, which includes school psychologists, social psychologists, developmental psychologists, industrial and organizational psychologists, and research and experimental psychologists. Clinical psychologists typically work in patient-care settings, dealing directly with patients through assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention techniques. Therapy can be provided both individually and in group sessions.
Self-employed clinical psychologists are the highest paid of all psychologists, averaging £35,750 to more than £65,000 annually on a national basis, according to Pay Scale. This includes psychologists in private practice and those who work as consultants. Private practice within a firm or partnership pays less, on average, with a top end of about £53,300. Of course, experience and location are crucial factors in salary levels. As expected, large metropolitan areas offer the best pay, with San Francisco paying clinical psychologists -- in all areas of employment -- an average of more than £58,500 a year. Los Angeles, Atlanta (home to the Centres for Disease Control) and New York average around £52,000 per year.
Clinical psychologists employed in health-care settings -- hospitals, clinics, nursing homes -- earn £33,150 to £52,650 a year nationally (2008 figures), with an average of about £42,250. Psychologists in such settings may work with patients dealing with mental, emotional or physical maladies. Many clinical psychologists specialise in particular areas, such as health (assisting people with lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and smoking cessation), neuropsychology (dealing with head trauma and spinal-injury patients), geropsychology (working with the elderly) and paediatric psychology (dealing with children). Hospital-based clinical psychologists earn the most among psychologists working in patient-care settings, averaging about £42,250 per year as opposed to, say, clinic-employed psychologists, who earn about £32,500 a year.
Federally employed clinical psychologists are among the highest-paid psychologists, earning the highest national starting salary on average (more than £41,600), and peaking at over £65,000 yearly. State and local government clinical psychologists earn between £33,150 and £57,850 a year, while school-based employees average among the lowest starting salaries at about £26,650, with a top end of about £46,800. The need for government-employed clinical psychologists is expected to increase significantly through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), including schools, prisons, law enforcement agencies and social service agencies. Most psychologists who work in government settings have social psychology backgrounds. Forensic psychologists earn more than £65,000 working for government entities, often on a per-case or consulting basis.
Business or Industrial Employment
Clinical psychologists who work with private companies may interview and assess job applicants, work with current employees through company-sponsored mental health programs, or work with employers to develop and implement worksite programs to improve productivity, enhance employee satisfaction and reduce turnover rates. The median annual salary is £50,050, with the middle 50 per cent of psychologists earning between £35,100 and £75,400, the lowest 10 per cent averaging £25,155, and the top 10 per cent earning nearly £97,500.
The national average for clinical psychologists in a university or college environment is £30,550 to £44,200, although tenure at some universities can push the top-end average toward £65,000. In this setting, psychologists could be employed as teachers or professors, researchers, or clinicians who deal directly with students or faculty. Specialisation and additional training in quantitative research and computer science may hold competitive advantages over others without such a background, according to the BLS.