The Field of Clinical Psychology
The study of clinical psychology prepares one to work individually and in group settings, usually providing counseling and therapy services to a variety of clients. Clinical psychology is often intermingled with counseling psychology, allowing clinical psychology professionals to have a very direct impact on their target population, helping them to examine their behaviors and life situations in an effort to improve life quality or solve specific issues. In this field, psychology practitioners can work with a variety of clients from children to adults, mentally healthy to mentally ill, and so on, and clinical psychology salary can vary greatly.
Careers in Clinical Psychology
Professionals holding a degree in psychology or clinical psychology, with a desire to work in the field of clinical psychology, have a wide variety of options available. Clinical psychologists are sought after in hospitals, physician's offices and other mental health centers. They are often employed in substance abuse programs, correctional facilities, law enforcement and government agencies, academic institutions and a variety of other private and public organizations. Over a third of counseling psychologists are self-employed in private counseling practice. Many are adjunct faculty or full time instructors, while still others conduct research, resulting in books and articles.
Education Levels in Clinical Psychology
Degrees in psychology are offered at the Bachelors Degree level, but rarely is a specialty in clinical psychology available at this level. While a Bachelors Degree in general psychology can be sufficient for some low level research and counseling assistant positions, a Master's or doctoral degree is necessary to truly establish one's self in the field. Those with a Master's degree or higher can engage in self-employed professional practice, or joint practice, or serve at any variety of mental health organizations or other businesses. PhDs are most sought after and most highly compensated.
Clinical Psychology Salary and Earning Potential
An established clinical psychologist can expect to earn a mean income in the mid $60,000 range. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all practicing clinical psychologists earn between $48,000 and $82,000 a year. The most profitable 10% can earn upwards of $108,000 a year. Of all the psychology specialties, clinical psychologists currently enjoy the highest average income.
Those engaged heavily in research can have a widely variable income, depending upon the number and types of research grants they are able to procure and how much they are paid for publishing. Book authors can earn royalties from $5,000 to $50,000 a year, even more; text book authors can find a lucrative, captive audience, though breaking into text book publication is challenging. Counseling jobs working in the public or private sector can start as low as $25,000 for social work positions but go up to $98,000, even more, for tenured faculty positions or jobs with prominent companies.
Clinical psychology salary can vary. Many self-employed counselors earn upwards of $100,000 a year, however this is not necessarily common. Those who do earn the highest salaries tend to have various accreditations in addition to the PhD or PsyD, including state licensure and certifications or license from other psychological institutions and organizations. Adding additional certifications and degrees, such as a specialty in forensic psychology or child psychology, can make a professional more sought after and thus able to earn more money. Of course, experience is also important. The more years experience one has in the field, and the more publication and research credits they have, the more jobs are available and at higher pay.