Clinical Psychologist Salary

This guide breaks down what Clinical Psychologists can expect to make based on their years of experience and their location. It also covers how Clinical Psychologists can increase their earning potential and how their salary compares to other psychological subfields.

Clinical psychologists generally work with patients with a mental illness — either diagnosed or suspected. Besides conducting therapy sessions, Clinical Psychologists engage in research to further their field’s understanding of how to care for patients.

Some Clinical Psychologists serve as consultants for companies, nonprofits, and other organizations. They may be tasked with improving a community program or teaching executives how to raise their employee’s morale.

As you might expect from a field where the work is varied, the salaries on offer vary as well.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn as a Clinical Psychologist?

Being a Clinical Psychologist means earning a comfortable salary — once you’re finished with your internships and other licensing requirements.

When a Clinical Psychologist has earned their credentials to practice, they begin their career by making $54,440 annually, or about $28.35 per hour. This is the average national starting salary.

With more tenure, their salary increases to $91,667 annually, or about $47.74 per hour. This is the average salary of Clinical Psychologists in the United States.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of a Clinical Psychologist’s expected earnings by years of experience*:

  • 0-1 years: $54,440 annually
  • 1-4 years: $75,000 annually
  • 5-9 years: $83,500 annually
  • 10-19 years: $91,500 annually
  • 20 or more years: $98,000 annually

*The rates in this list are averages of what Clinical Psychologists across the U.S. earn on a yearly basis. 

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Depending on their geographical location, their salaries can vary. A practitioner in California will likely make more money than a Psychologist employed in West Virginia.

Which U.S. Cities are Paying Clinical Psychologists the Most? 

A Clinical Psychologist’s earning potential is heavily influenced by where they choose to practice. A higher demand for the profession and more expensive cost of living can mean a larger salary.

These are the top 10 highest paying cities for Clinical Psychologists*:

  1. Santa Rosa, California: $136,390 annually
  2. Vacaville, California: $121,753 annually
  3. Jefferson City, Missouri: $118,920 annually
  4. Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura, California: $117,960 annually
  5. San Diego and Carlsbad, California: $117,280 annually
  6. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim, California: $117,140 annually
  7. Madera, California: $116,190 annually
  8. Trenton, New Jersey: $114,740 annually
  9. Vallejo and Fairfield, California: $114,580 annually
  10. Salem, New Hampshire: $113,777 annually

*These salaries are the averages of what Clinical Psychologists of all experience levels make each year. 

Keep in mind that these cities may have a higher cost of living and offer a bigger salary to help offset this. Before committing to a practice location, make sure to research how expensive it is to live there.

Which U.S. States are Paying Clinical Psychologists the Most? 

While California has several cities that offer higher salaries for psychologists, it isn’t the state with the largest average annual salary. If you’re searching for the best-paying state, you’ll need to look in the complete opposite corner of the United States.

These are the top 10 Highest paying states for Clinical Psychologists*:

  1. Maine: $133,926 annually
  2. Idaho: $117,905 annually
  3. California: $113,480 annually
  4. New Hampshire: $113,346 annually
  5. Delaware: $112,388 annually
  6. Nevada: $108,425 annually
  7. Connecticut: $107,442 annually
  8. New Jersey: $106,877 annually
  9. New York: $106,747 annually
  10. North Dakota: $105,211 annually

*These salaries are the averages of what Clinical Psychologists of all experience levels make each year. 

How Does a Clinical Psychologist’s Salary Compare to Other Psychological Fields? 

While a Clinical Psychologist has the potential to make a six-figure salary, how does their earning potential compare to some of the other popular subsets of psychology?

These medical professionals are licensed doctors who practice in the field of mental health. They work with patients to diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental illnesses and disorders. Their training involves going to medical school and taking a plethora of tests to earn their credentials, giving their salary an extra boost.

Neuropsychologists are responsible for studying how the human brain and human behavior impact one another. They are a type of Psychologist who has a doctorate in their field and also completed extra training in neuropsychology. They’re mainly found in research centers and clinical offices.

Like Clinical Psychologists, Counseling Psychologists also primarily work as therapists. The main difference between these fields is that Clinical Psychologist’s patients normally have a mental illness, while Counseling Psychologist patient’s do not. These professionals also hold a doctorate and need a license to practice.

These psychological professionals hold either a doctorate or master’s degree. They work in school systems and provide counseling for students. School Psychologists may also give personality tests and create treatment plans for students to thrive in a classroom setting.

How Do I Advance My Clinical Psychology Career and Earn More? 

There are a few ways to increase your salary as a Clinical Psychologist who has already completed their degree and licensing requirements.

Your regional location will greatly impact your income. That doesn’t just mean providing therapy in New York City compared to practicing in Wichita, Kansas — it’s also about your local demographic. If you’re working in a practice near a high-income area, compared to a low-income one, you’ll be able to get patients who may be executives, lawyers, or another kind of well-paid profession, and charge them a higher fee.

Another big factor is opening your own practice. Being a part of an agency means having a cap on your earning potential, while working for yourself doesn’t have the same limitations.

Getting specialized training can help entice more patients to seek you out as their Clinical Psychologist. This could be anything from addiction treatment to child mental health.

Finally, as your years of experience increase, your salary will as well. Relying on the passage of time can feel infuriating, but this is a reliable factor you can always count on for earning more money.

Sources:

  • For average salary: Indeed, AllPsychologySchools, ZipRecruiter, Career Explorer, Salary.com, PayScale.com, Glassdoor, Alliant
  • For starting salary: Alliant, Career Explorer, Career Trend, ZipRecruiter, Salary.com, PayScale.com, Glassdoor, Zippia, SalaryExpert