Psychology is a popular major at both the undergraduate and graduate level, but do enough jobs exist to support the incoming practitioners? The details below explore the outlook for clinical psychology jobs, including the salaries and growth rates of the most popular positions in the field.
In general, clinical psychologists work to assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent a number of mental disorders. They may choose to specialize in individual or group treatment, in-patient or out-patient treatment, or public, private, or corporate settings. They may work independently or as part of a medical team.
The majority of clinical psychologists are employed in mental health and therapeutic medical offices, where they receive the highest pay rates. Other employers include outpatient care centers, individual and family service organizations, elementary and secondary schools, and state government institutions. Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and residential care facilities are also popular employment locations.
Clinical Psychology Salaries
As of 2008, most clinical psychologists had earned between $48,700 and $82,800. The highest salaries reached over $106,000. Most people working in clinical psychology live near a major metropolitan area in New York or California, although a number of positions can be found across the country.
Past and Future Job Growth
Before 2006, the job opportunities for clinical psychologists had been relatively flat. Practitioners holding a doctoral degree had been the most likely individuals to gain their first pick of employment. Since that year, the number of available positions has nearly doubled.
Open positions in clinical psychology are expected to grow approximately 11% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This level of growth is in line with all other areas of psychology except industrial-organizational, which has an anticipated growth rate of 26%. Clinical psychologists have the most employment opportunities of all psychology divisions, with over 152,000 clinical psychologists working in the United States.
Certain areas of clinical psychology are likely to grow faster than others. The following clinical psychology careers are expected to be in high demand for the future.
The demand for psychologists in elementary, middle, and high school settings has been growing due to changing social demographics. Teachers, parents, and administrators are more aware of children’s mental health needs and seek to combat the negative consequences of bullying, behavioral problems, and learning disorders. School psychologists work with educators to create safe classrooms, provide counseling and intervention services, and address the needs of at-risk students and students with disabilities.
Public schools are the top employer, with approximately 81% of school psychologists working in this setting. Salaries are often comparable with universities, hospitals, and clinics. With a salary range of $48,000 to $67,000 for a 190-contract and the rapid retirement of current practitioners, school psychology jobs can bring lucrative benefits to people with the right education and experience.
As Americans grow older, more attention is being placed on the needs of the elderly at home and in the workplace. Geriatric psychologists design and implement adaptive technologies, work with employers on creating more senior-friendly workplaces, and partner with older citizens to help them cope with issues of mental illness, grief, loss, physical health, and death.
Geriatric psychologists, often called geropsychologists or geriatric social workers, typically earn between $32,000 and $46,000 annually. Wages depend on the employment location and the specialization. Due to the rapidly increasing number of older adults in society, careers in geriatric psychology are expected to grow faster than the 12% predicted for psychologist jobs overall.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Substance abuse counselors work with patients to help them cope with, control, and stay away from their drug and alcohol additions. They deal with issues of mental illness, withdrawal symptoms, social pressures, and internal feelings of guilt, pain, grief, and loss.
People working with substance abuse issues generally earn between $30,000 and $48,000 each year. Substance abuse psychologists who are willing to work in rehabilitation centers may see up to a 34% increase in the demand for their services.
Adult Mental Health
Mental health professionals hold clinical psychology jobs that are necessary in all parts of society. They work within hospitals, clinics, the military, government institutions, and in private settings. Mental health psychologists typically work with people on issues of stress management, relationships, crisis intervention, trauma, depression, grief, anger management, financial worries, career planning, and work-life balance. They also keep watch for symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, substance addiction, and dementia.
In most cases, mental health counselors earn between $29,000 and $49,000 annually. Positions in mental health psychology are expected to grow by 24% from 2008 to 2018.
Overall, clinical psychology jobs are competitive and require extensive education and experience to make top wages. The easiest positions to obtain are in rapidly growing niche areas and locations that are typically overlooked by new graduates.