Clinical and Counseling Psychologists
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Overview
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Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.
Titles for this career often contain these words
PsychologistCounselorSpecialistClinicalTherapistLicensedSchoolCounselingStaffBehaviorBehavioralCoordinatorDirectorChildPrivatePracticeProfessionalConsultantHealthChiefPsychometristScienceAssessmentAnalystPsychologyCriminalEatingDisorderEducationalMentalPsychotherapistSeniorTreatmentSexualAssaultUniversityTeamAppliedABSSAutismBilingualChallengingChemicalDependencySelfDevelopmentAdolescentCustodyEvaluatorCollegeConsultingServicesProfilerDevelopmentalEarlyInterventionDiagnosticianElderExperimentalFamilyForensicGeropsychologistGroupHealthcareLearningBusinessOwnerLPCManagerUnitLeadOutPatientOutpatientPediatricPersonalPreliminaryProgramRecoveryManagementCoPsychoanalystPsychologicalExaminerServiceSexOffenderResponseatCenterPTSDVocational
Education
About 93% of clinical and counseling psychologists have a graduate-level education, and 100% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by clinical and counseling psychologists
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with graduate degrees
More clinical and counseling psychologists have graduate degrees than 98% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Clinical and counseling psychologists, with 162,000 workers, form a larger workforce than 75% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for clinical and counseling psychologists are expected to grow by 15%, and should have about 14,600 job openings a year.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn.
$78K$0$50K$100K$150K
Gender
Women account for 68% of clinical and counseling psychologists -- that's a larger percentage than 80% of other jobs.
Gender of clinical and counseling psychologists
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For clinical and counseling psychologists, the median men's salary was 27% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 13% of clinical and counseling psychologists are minority, and 9% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of clinical and counseling psychologists
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (9%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Clinical and Counseling Psychologists per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of clinical and counseling psychologists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (66%)
  • Consequence of Error (43%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (35%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do clinical and counseling psychologists earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists (BLS Salary Data)
$78K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$78K$0$50K$100K$150K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists (ACS Salary Data)
$73K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$73K$0$50K$100K$150K
Psychologists: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $72KAll jobs' median $45K$75K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire clinical and counseling psychologists.
Employers of Clinical and Counseling Psychologists (ACS)
Private for-profit (20.9%)
Private not-for-profit (19.9%)
Local government (19.8%)
State government (12.9%)
Federal government (7.8%)
Self-employed incorporated (7.6%)
Self-employed not incorporated (11.2%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of clinical and counseling psychologists by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$73K$97K$75K$69K$74K$72K$82K$62K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of clinical and counseling psychologists by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$78K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for clinical and counseling psychologists

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$78K$46K$93K$72K$89K$61K$84K$82K$0$50K$100K$150K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
01K2K3K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Clinical and counseling psychologists and gender

With 68% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 80% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
68%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Clinical and counseling psychologists
Men (32%)
Women (68%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for clinical and counseling psychologists tops that, with the median salary for men 27% higher than the median salary for women.

$69K$87K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Clinical and counseling psychologists have one of the more significant inequity issues, with the increase in men's median salary over women's median salary even higher than that for 76% of other jobs.

27%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of clinical and counseling psychologists

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority clinical and counseling psychologists than for 83% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of clinical and counseling psychologists
White (85% )
Black (6% )
Asian (4% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
13%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$74K$0$50K$100K$150KWhite
Distribution: Salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists by nativity
$71K$73K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Clinical and counseling psychologists and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 23% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 74% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time clinical and counseling psychologists is shown following.

$38K$73K$0$50K$100K$150KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by clinical and counseling psychologists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical and counseling psychologists typically hold a doctoral or professional degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as clinical and counseling psychologists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for clinical and counseling psychologists

Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Students can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that is obtained after taking a comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation based on original research. Ph.D. programs typically include courses on statistics and experimental procedures. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program.

School psychologists need an advanced degree and either certification or licensure to work. Common advanced degrees include education specialist degrees (Ed.S.) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or Psy.D.). School psychologist programs include coursework in education and psychology because their work addresses both education and mental health components of students’ development.

Industrial–organizational psychologists typically need a master’s degree, usually including courses in industrial–organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, other master’s degree graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for clinical and counseling psychologists

In most states, practicing psychology or using the title “psychologist” requires licensure. In all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work.

Licensing laws vary by state and by type of position. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, and at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience. They also must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Information on specific state requirements can be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 15 areas of psychology, such as clinical health psychology, couple and family psychology, and rehabilitation psychology. The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology offers certification in neuropsychology. Board certification can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area. Certification is not required for most psychologists, but some hospitals and clinics do require certification. In those cases, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology, a state license or certification, and any additional criteria required by the specialty field.

Education attained by clinical and counseling psychologists
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for clinical and counseling psychologists? Below we see the distribution of clinical and counseling psychologists salaries based on the education attained.

$51K$63K$73K$93K$0$50K$100K$150KBachelor's Degree (7%)Master's Degree (43%)Professional Degree (10%)Doctorate (40%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by clinical and counseling psychologists

This table shows the college majors held by people working as clinical and counseling psychologists.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Clinical and counseling psychologists with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as clinical and counseling psychologists, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Elementary and Middle Sch...Specialized Social Worker...Specialized ManagersEducational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsLawyers, and judges, magi...Postsecondary TeachersRegistered NursesLabor Relations Specialis...Education and childcare a...Clinical and Counseling P...Medical and Health Servic...School PsychologistsSpecialized TherapistsSpecialized CounselorsChild, Family, and School...Healthcare Social WorkersSocial and Community Serv...Mental Health and Substan...PhysiciansDentistsSpecialized Physical Scie...Specialized Life Scientis...Medical and Clinical Labo...PharmacistsSecretaries and Administr...Police OfficersSecondary School TeachersSpecial Education Teacher...Preschool and Kindergarte...EditorsWriters and AuthorsFirst-Line Supervisors of...Mental Health CounselorsSubstance Abuse and Behav...Childcare WorkersChief executives and legi...Management AnalystsFinancial ManagersParalegals and Legal Assi...PsychologyClinical PsychologySocial WorkBiologySociologyEducational PsychologyEnglish Language andLiteratureCounseling PsychologyFamily and ConsumerSciencesPolitical Science andGovernmentAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

Almost all of people working as clinical and counseling psychologists have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%10.0%20.0%30.0%40.0%50.0%60.0%Percentage with this major$40,000$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000$120,000$130,000$140,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for clinical and counseling psychologists

What jobs will most clinical and counseling psychologists hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of clinical and counseling psychologists reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

PsychologistsCounselorsPhysicians and surgeonsTherapists, all otherSocial workersPostsecondary teachers and assistants
Lateral job transitions for clinical and counseling psychologists

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as clinical and counseling psychologists as well as 1% of respondents after working as clinical and counseling psychologists. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for clinical and counseling psychologists: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as clinical and counseling psychologists? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of clinical and counseling psychologists surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most clinical and counseling psychologists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as clinical and counseling psychologists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Clinical and Counseling Psychologists per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.51.01.5
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where clinical and counseling psychologists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for clinical and counseling psychologists.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Clinical and Counseling Psychologists (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which clinical and counseling psychologists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?