Clinical Psychologist Salary Guide 2024

$91,677 is the average annual clinical psychologist salary.

This guide provides more insights on what clinical psychologists can expect to earn 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 subfields of psychology.

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?

Upon licensure, clinical psychologists 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. 

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 have the highest clinical psychologist salaries?

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 have the highest clinical psychologist salaries?

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 to increase your salary as a clinical psychologist

Advanced Education and Specialization

One effective way for clinical psychologists to increase their salary is by pursuing advanced education and specialization. Acquiring a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D. or a Psy.D., can significantly enhance career prospects and earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for psychologists in May 2020 was $82,180, while those with a doctoral degree earned a median wage of $100,770, indicating a substantial salary difference. Specializing in a particular area, such as neuropsychologychild psychology, or forensic psychology, can further boost earning potential. Specialized expertise allows psychologists to offer niche services that command higher fees due to the demand and limited availability of professionals with those specific skills.

Private Practice or Consulting

Establishing a private practice or working as a consultant can offer clinical psychologists an opportunity to increase their salary. Private practice allows psychologists to set their own rates and retain a larger portion of their earnings. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2020 salary survey, the median salary for self-employed clinical psychologists was $120,000, compared to $85,000 for those employed in mental health organizations. Additionally, consultants often earn higher rates due to their expertise and flexibility in choosing clients and projects. Building a strong reputation, networking, and marketing oneself effectively can contribute to attracting a consistent client base and securing higher-paying opportunities.

Research and Academia

Engaging in research and pursuing a career in academia can be another pathway for clinical psychologists to increase their salary. Research positions, especially in prestigious academic institutions or research-focused organizations, often offer higher salaries and additional benefits. Clinical psychologists who publish influential research papers, obtain grants, and develop expertise in a specific research domain can enhance their earning potential. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2020 salary survey, psychologists working in research positions earned a median salary of $95,000, compared to $85,000 for those in mental health organizations. Additionally, academic positions provide opportunities for advancement, such as becoming a department chair or earning tenure, which can further increase salary levels.