Clinical psychology is the largest speciality within the psychology field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clinical psychologists often have their own practice, but some also work in hospitals, clinics, counselling centres and group homes. Clinical psychologists help people deal with emotional crises, emotional distress, mental disorders and other life challenges. In most cases, psychologists cannot prescribe drugs, but they work in conjunction with doctors and other medical professionals who can prescribe medication. There are a wide variety of potential jobs for clinical psychologists, and the average annual salary varies depending on the industry and the type of clinical work.
Clinical psychologists who specialise in a particular area may have a higher salary than clinical psychologists without specialised training or expertise. Clinical psychologists can specialise in geropsychology, health psychology or neuropyschology. Geropsychologists deal with psychiatric issues among the elderly. Health psychologists study the effect of psychological factors on illness. Neuropsychologists focus on how psychology impacts behaviour. In many cases, an advanced degrees and additional education are required to become a specialist. However, psychologists also can develop specialisations through clinical work with patients.
The median salary for clinical psychologists varies depending on the work environment. The median salary for clinical psychologists who work in schools, clinics or counselling centres is £38,636, according to the BLS. Clinical psychologists who work in a mental health office have a median salary of £45,181 a year. Psychologists employed by the government have a median salary of £38,200 annually. Psychologists in family services have a median salary of £33,007, and those in outpatient centres have a median annual salary of £32,701.
As of May 2009, clinical psychologists who work in employment services have the highest average annual wage, at £58,194 annually, according to the BLS. Clinical psychologists who work in school settings have an average annual salary of £57,830, and those in research and development average £54,639. Clinical psychologists who work in general medical offices (which include mental health services) make £53,826 on average, and those who work in doctor's offices make £53,826.
Top Paying States
Location plays an important role in determining a clinical psychologist's salary. In New Jersey, clinical psychologists make an average of £56,634 annually, the highest of any state, according to the BLS. Colorado is next with an average salary of £54,990, followed by California at £52,728, Ohio at £52,279 and Rhode Island at £52,130.
As of 2006, there were about 166,000 jobs in the United States for clinical psychologists. Approximately 34 per cent of those psychologists were self-employed. The BLS estimates that the job market for psychologists is expected to grow faster than average, at a rate of 15 per cent between 2006 to 2016.
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