“Psychologist” many things come to mind when an individual hears the word “psychologist.” Many of them envision a patient laying on a leather couch, recounting their problems. Others think of school psychologists, helping students through their problems. Still others discount workers in the field as quacks. While there are many different specializations in psychology, clinical psychologists are the one’s working with patients in confidence, helping them through their problems, doing good while earning a clinical psychology salary.
Clinical psychology is by far the most popular specialization of all psychologists, comprising of over 63,000 jobs in the United States alone. This number suggests a pattern of enormous growth, as only 20,000 such positions existed as recently as 1974. Such a drastic increase is largely due to an expansion of the field’s interests and foci; while clinical psychologists dealt primarily with serious mental trauma and emotional distress, it now encompasses topics such as sports wellness and gerontology. Modern practitioners are focused on behavioral, humanistic, familial and psychoanalytical elements of the mind, working to explain and contribute to their patients behavior through treatment in these four fields.
On average, a clinical psychologist’s salary typically ranges from $48,000 to $82,000, depending on an individual’s qualifications, including education, place of employment, and prior experience. The median income for workers in the field is around $64,000, a salary which provides a quick return on a costly educational investment. Those with additional education (typically a Doctorate), several years of experience and a management role, likely in a private practice, can earn substantially more. The highest earning 10% of clinical psychologists made in excess of $106,000.
Of course, along with a clinical psychology salary comes a host of other benefits – and concerns. Employees in the field are responsible for helping people through their problems, attempting to correct their behaviors and emotions in ways that benefit the patient. Such practice can be incredibly empowering, adding fulfillment and promise in a job that may otherwise seem full of other people’s problems. By the same token, clinical psychologists must be careful to remain removed from the affairs of their patients. If they are not careful, they may wind up growing attached to patients and influence their behavior in particular ways. Perhaps more practically, clinical psychologists may wind up taking their patients’ problems home with them, leading to stressful mindsets of their own.
Becoming a clinical psychologist is about so much more than a salary. Those embarking down the long road to entry in the field must have a passion for getting to the root of the problems of their patients and fixing them, often over the course of several months or even years. They must enjoy talking to, listening to, and helping people who they may not like as people, but respect and patients. In reward, they get to end each day knowing that they are influencing other people for the better, leading them towards greater things while taking home a clinical psychologist’s salary. A fulfilling and extremely challenging career, clinical psychology promises it’s practitioners an interesting life.