The article was last updated by Emily (Editor) on February 7, 2024.

Are you considering a career in clinical psychology? Curious about the earning potential in this field? In this article, we will explore the world of clinical psychology, what clinical psychologists do, and how they earn money.

We’ll take a deep dive into the factors that affect their salary, the average salary across different states and years of experience, as well as the benefits and challenges of being a clinical psychologist.

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of whether the salary of clinical psychologists is worth it. So, let’s get started!

What Is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology is a specialized branch of psychology that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health disorders and emotional challenges.

It involves applying psychological principles and research to understand, predict, and alleviate emotional suffering and psychological disturbances. Clinical psychologists often work in various settings such as hospitals, private practices, universities, and mental health clinics.

Their scope of practice includes providing therapy, conducting psychological assessments, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans.

Clinical psychology plays a pivotal role in addressing the complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors contributing to mental health issues, ultimately improving the well-being of individuals and communities.

What Do Clinical Psychologists Do?

Clinical psychologists are trained professionals who utilize various therapeutic techniques and psychological assessments to help individuals cope with emotional distress, mental health issues, and behavioral challenges.

How Do Clinical Psychologists Earn Money?

Clinical psychologists can earn money through various avenues, including salaries, hourly rates, and bonuses, often influenced by factors such as advanced education, private practice, and income tax records.


The salary of a clinical psychologist varies based on factors such as experience, location, and specialization, with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating diverse earnings across different states, including California, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware.

Experience plays a significant role in determining a clinical psychologist’s salary. Those with substantial experience typically earn higher compensation. Location also heavily influences earnings, with states like California offering more lucrative opportunities compared to states like Maine or Idaho.

Specialization is another critical factor. Those who specialize in high-demand areas such as neuropsychology or clinical health psychology tend to command higher salaries due to their specialized expertise.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is one of the top-paying states for clinical psychologists, with an annual mean wage of $114,860.

In contrast, Maine offers a considerably lower mean wage of $75,990. Other states, including Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware, also exhibit variations in salaries based on their respective demand-supply dynamics and cost of living.

Hourly Rates

Clinical psychologists may also earn income through hourly rates, with platforms like BLS, ZipRecruiter, and Career Explorer providing insights into the average hourly earnings for professionals in this field.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate for clinical psychologists is $43, with a range of $21 to $68. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median hourly wage for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $38.90 in May 2020.

Career Explorer notes that the average hourly remuneration for clinical psychologists can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and specialization. Those with advanced credentials and sought-after skills may have higher earning opportunities.


Plus salaries and hourly rates, clinical psychologists may receive bonuses, with platforms like,, and Glassdoor offering information on the typical bonus structures and incentives within the industry.

These bonuses play a significant role in the overall income of clinical psychologists. They provide additional financial rewards based on performance, tenure, or meeting specific targets.

The structure of these bonuses can vary widely, from signing bonuses for new hires to retention bonuses for long-term employees, and performance-based incentives tied to achieving certain goals.

Individuals’ educational background, experience, and geographical location can also impact the magnitude and frequency of these bonuses. Platforms such as,, and Glassdoor are valuable resources for clinical psychologists to gauge the typical bonus ranges and structures based on industry standards and regional variations.

For example, they can explore the average annual bonuses for different experience levels or specializations, understand the influence of factors like employer size or practice setting on bonus offerings, and even delve into the impact of additional benefits such as profit-sharing or revenue-sharing in certain employment arrangements.

What Factors Affect the Salary of Clinical Psychologists?

Several factors impact the salary of clinical psychologists, including education, experience, location, type of employment, specialization, and job growth, with varying earning potential across different U.S. cities and states.

Education and Experience

The level of education and professional experience significantly impact the salary of clinical psychologists, with advanced degrees such as Ph.D. and Psy.D. and reputable institutions like Alliant, Indeed, and All Psychology Schools contributing to enhanced earning potential.

Advanced degrees in psychology, including doctoral degrees, not only expand a clinical psychologist’s knowledge base but also open doors to higher paying positions in research, academia, and clinical practice.

Graduates from renowned institutions often command better starting salaries and opportunities for career advancement. The experience gained through internships, residencies, and supervised clinical hours plays a pivotal role in determining the earning potential of clinical psychologists, as it hones their practical skills and expertise.


Geographical location plays a crucial role in determining the salary of clinical psychologists, with variations in earning potential across different U.S. cities and states, often influenced by income tax records and platforms like TurboTax.

For instance, clinical psychologists working in metropolitan areas such as New York City or San Francisco generally command higher salaries compared to those in rural locations due to the higher cost of living and increased demand for mental health services.

Income tax rates differ significantly between states, potentially impacting take-home pay. Understanding the regional differences in income and taxation becomes crucial for professionals in the field, as it directly affects their financial well-being and career decisions.

Type of Employment

The type of employment, whether in companies, private practice, or research academia, can significantly influence the salary of clinical psychologists, with competition and demand shaping earning potential within these professional settings.

Working in companies can often offer higher salaries due to larger budgets and the demand for specialized expertise.

Psychologists in private practice have the potential to increase their earnings through building a robust client base and offering specialized services.

In comparison, those in research academia may have more stability in income, often influenced by grants and funding availability.

The level of competition within the industry can impact earning potential—psychologists with unique specializations or advanced qualifications often command higher salaries due to high demand and limited supply within the field.


Specialization in areas such as psychiatry, neuropsychology, counseling psychology, or school psychology can impact the salary of clinical psychologists, with diverse earning potentials based on the chosen fields of expertise.

For instance, clinical psychologists who specialize in psychiatry tend to have higher earning potentials due to the demand for mental health practitioners in psychiatric settings.

On the other hand, those focusing on neuropsychology often work in research institutions or rehabilitation centers, where their specialized expertise commands competitive salaries.

Similarly, clinical psychologists with a specialization in counseling psychology may find lucrative opportunities in private practice or corporate settings, leveraging their skills to address various mental health concerns in diverse populations.

Professionals specializing in school psychology are integral to educational institutions, contributing to student well-being and academic success, which can lead to rewarding salaries reflective of their specialized role in the educational system.

What Is the Average Salary of Clinical Psychologists?

The average salary of clinical psychologists varies based on factors such as U.S. states, years of experience, and specialization, with insights from Occupational Employment Statistics and BLS providing comprehensive salary comparison data for the industry.

Average Salary by State

The average salary of clinical psychologists differs across U.S. states, with data from Occupational Employment Statistics and BLS highlighting variations in earnings, including insights for states such as California, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware.

According to the Occupational Employment Statistics and BLS, clinical psychologists in California boast some of the highest average salaries, often exceeding the national average.

On the contrary, states like Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware may have relatively lower average salaries for clinical psychologists.

This variance in earnings can be attributed to factors such as cost of living, demand for mental health services, and local healthcare infrastructure.

It’s worth noting that metropolitan areas within these states often offer higher salaries compared to rural regions.

Average Salary by Years of Experience

The average salary of clinical psychologists evolves with years of experience, influenced by factors such as job growth and industry benchmarks, making salary comparison an essential aspect of career progression in this field.

For instance, entry-level clinical psychologists with less than five years of experience typically earn a lower salary compared to those with over a decade of practice. As professionals gain experience and expertise, their earning potential tends to increase significantly.

In addition, the impact of job growth and demand for clinical psychologists in various industries can profoundly affect average salaries. For example, the healthcare sector often offers higher compensation than educational institutions.

Industry benchmarks play a crucial role in determining salary ranges for clinical psychologists, providing a framework for understanding the earning potential within specific sectors.

Average Salary by Specialization

The average salaries of clinical psychologists vary by specialization, with fields like psychiatry, neuropsychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology offering distinct earning potentials based on industry demands and professional expertise.

For instance, clinical psychologists specializing in psychiatry tend to have higher earning potentials due to the complex nature of treating mental illness and the demand for their specialized skills.

On the other hand, those focused on neuropsychology may also enjoy lucrative remuneration, given the advanced knowledge required to assess and treat cognitive and behavioral issues stemming from neurological conditions.

In contrast, counseling psychology and school psychology often have different earning potentials, influenced by settings such as private practices, educational institutions, or healthcare facilities.

These professionals’ salaries may be shaped by factors like experience, geographical location, and the specific populations they serve.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Clinical Psychologist?

Being a clinical psychologist comes with numerous benefits, including a competitive earning potential, job satisfaction, and opportunities for career development and advancement within the psychological field.

As a clinical psychologist, individuals can enjoy a substantial earning potential, often surpassing the average income level. The scope for financial gain is promising due to high demand in both public and private sectors.

The intrinsic reward of helping patients cope with mental health challenges brings immense job satisfaction, leading to a fulfilling and meaningful career.

There are abundant prospects for professional growth in this field. Clinical psychologists can branch out into specialized areas such as forensic psychology, neuropsychology, or child psychology.

Pursuing research, teaching, or consultancy roles provides avenues for expanding expertise and influence within the field.

What Are the Challenges of Being a Clinical Psychologist?

While rewarding, the career of a clinical psychologist presents challenges such as competition in the industry, job-related stress, and the complexities of patient care, requiring resilience and dedication to overcome these obstacles.

Clinical psychologists often face fierce competition in the industry, where establishing a successful practice or securing employment in a reputable institution demands perseverance and strategic planning.

The demands of patient care, coupled with the responsibility of addressing complex mental health issues, can lead to significant job-related stress.

Overcoming these challenges requires a resilient mindset, ongoing self-care, and a supportive professional network for clinical psychologists to thrive in their careers.

Is the Salary of Clinical Psychologists Worth It?

Assessing the worth of the salary for clinical psychologists involves weighing the earning potential against factors such as income tax records, career satisfaction, and the overall impact of their contributions to mental health and well-being.

Clinical psychologists’ earning potential varies based on their specialization and expertise, with those in private practice often commanding higher incomes. However, income tax implications play a significant role, affecting the actual take-home pay.

Despite this, many find great career satisfaction from helping individuals overcome mental health challenges, which contributes to the profession’s appeal beyond financial rewards. Their contributions to mental health and well-being are immeasurable, underscoring the importance of their roles in society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average salary of a clinical psychologist?

The average salary of a clinical psychologist is around $80,000 per year. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry.

How does location affect the salary of a clinical psychologist?

Location can have a significant impact on the salary of a clinical psychologist. Generally, metropolitan areas and cities tend to offer higher salaries compared to rural areas or small towns.

What industries typically pay the highest salaries for clinical psychologists?

Industries that typically pay the highest salaries for clinical psychologists include healthcare, government agencies, and educational institutions. Private practice may also offer higher salaries depending on the demand and clientele.

Does experience play a role in the salary of a clinical psychologist?

Yes, experience can affect the salary of a clinical psychologist. Generally, the more experience a psychologist has, the higher their salary will be. This is due to their expertise and track record in the field.

What additional factors can impact the salary of a clinical psychologist?

In addition to location and experience, other factors that can impact the salary of a clinical psychologist include specialization, education level, and demand for their services.

Is it possible for a clinical psychologist to make a six-figure salary?

Yes, it is possible for a clinical psychologist to make a six-figure salary, especially with several years of experience and a specialization in a high-demand area. Private practice and consulting opportunities may also lead to higher earning potential.

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