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The Fastest Growing Careers in Psychology

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This section of our site is designed as a resource for aspiring psychology students and graduates seeking career information, education, job search, and licensure assistance. Aside from a few Google Ads, all resources on this page are non-commercial in nature and free to use in any way you find beneficial. Please contact us with any other resources you'd like to see added to this page.

To learn more about advancing your career in psychology select a topic below.

Careers in Psychology

Psychology is to study mental processes and human behavior through researching, observing, analyzing, and interpreting how individuals and other living creatures relate to one another and their environment. Like other social sciences, psychology revolves around the formulation of theories, or hypotheses, which are intended to explain what is observed. But unlike other social science disciplines, psychologists often concentrate on individual behavior, more specfically in the beliefs and feelings that influence a person's thought patterns and ultimately their actions.

Psychology is truly a very diverse field that provides a plethora of career opportunities for qualified professionals. Psychologists perform a large variety of duties in a number of diverse industries. For example, psychologists working in the field of health services may provide mental evaluation and healthcare services in clinics, hospitals, schools, or in the private sector. They may also be employed in applied settings, including industry, business, nonprofit organizations, or government, providing training, conducting research, designing organizational systems, or acting as advocates for psychology.

One of the factors that many psychologists will tell you prompted their decision to pursue a career in psychology was their desire run their own business. Today, nearly 34 percent of psychologists are self-employed, mainly as private practitioners and independent consultants, which is four times the national average for all other occupations.

While psychologists apply their knowledge and skill in a vast range of endeavors, including human services, healthcare, education, management, sports, and law, they usually focus in one of the specializations listed below.

Therapy

Therapist Career Specializations
Therapy is a popular and growing career field that offers opportunities for psychology students and therapists.

Employment

Psychologists held about 160,200 jobs in 2012. Educational institutions employed about 29 percent of psychologists in positions other than teaching, such as counseling, testing, research, and administration. About 21 percent were employed in healthcare, primarily in offices of mental health practitioners, hospitals, physicians' offices, and outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers. Government agencies at the State and local levels employed psychologists in correctional facilities, law enforcement, and other settings. Between 2012 and 2020, employment of psychologists is predicted to increase by 18,700.

After several years of experience, some psychologists—usually those with doctoral degrees—enter private practice or set up private research or consulting firms. About 35 percent of psychologists were self-employed in 2012—mainly as private practitioners.

In addition to the previously mentioned jobs, many psychologists held faculty positions at colleges and universities and as high school psychology teachers.

Geographic Profile for Psychology Occupations

Below you'll find states employing the highest number of psychologists, along with the number of psychologists employed, employment per thousand jobs, and location quotient. (The location quotient is the ratio of the concentrations of psychologists employed per geography to the national average concentration. States with a location quotient greater than one employ a higher number of psychologists than the national average. A location quotient less then one indicates the state employs a lower number of psychologists than the national average.) The location quotient is a useful figure that should be considered when seeking employment opportunities and deciding where to set up a private practice. We've also include basic wage information for comparison purposes.

States employing the highest number of psychologists include:

State Total employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Florida 1,580 .21 2.59 $43 $89,000
California 1,010 .07 .84 $43 $90,000
Texas 640 .06 .7 $42 $86,000
New York 460 .05 .64 $39 $82,000
Maryland 440 .17 2.12 $50 $105,000
The charge below shows those states with the highest concentration of psychology jobs and location quotients.

State Total employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
District of Columbia 200 .3 3.67 $41 $86,000
Florida 1,580 .21 2.59 $43 $89,000
Hawaii 110 .19 2.32 $43 $89,000
Maryland 440 .17 2.12 $50 $105,000
New Mexico 110 .15 1.78 $46 $95,000
Source: Burueau of Labor Statistics.

Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists


The largest employment sector within the field of psychology is made up of clinical, counseling and school psychologists. The mean average pay for this group of psychology professionals was $67,650 as of May 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual projected growth of clinical, counseling and school psychologists is estimated at 11 percent between 2012 and 2012, slightly lower than the 12 percent growth rate projected for All Psychologists, but about as fast as the average growth rate for all other occupations in the United States.

Those industries highest levels of projected employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists include:

Industry Employment % of Industry Employment Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Elementary and Secondary Schools 42,300 .51 $34.50 $71,900
Health Practitioner Offices 13,400 1.8 $39 $80,600
Individual and Family Counseling 6,800 .49 $32 $66,650
Outpatient Care Facilities 5,350 .79 $32 $66,800
State Government 4,750 .22 $38 $79,000
Those industries offering the highest pay for clinical, counseling and school psychologists include:

Industry Employment % of Industry Employment Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
Research and Development 400 .06 $44 $92,000
Specialty Hospitals and Clinics 680 .28 $42 $86,100
Employment Services 480 .01 $40 $81,900
General Medicine 4,700 .09 $39 $80,700
Health Practitioner Offices 13,350 1.8 $39 $81,000
The chart below shows the states that employ the highest number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists. This is useful information when determining where to look for employment or set up your own practice. Dividing the total employment numbers per state below by the total population of the state will yield a psychologist-to-individual ratio. This ratio is also helpful when assessing employment opportunities.



The chart below shows the industrie that employ the highest number of clinical, counseling and school psychologist as of May 2013. This is useful information for students and job seeker considering employment opportunities.



Directly below is map we generated using 2013 state employment data for clinical, counseling and school psychologists provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Directly below is map of the annual mean wage as of 2013 for clinical, counseling and school psychologist nation wide. Comparing the map below with the map above can help you get a good idea for employment potential in each state.

Job Outlook

Employment opportunities for psychology professionals are expected to grow as fast as average for all other occupations in the United States through 2022. Job opportunities will be best for individuals with a doctoral degree from an accredited university in an applied specialty, such as health or science, and for those with a specialist or doctoral degree in school psychology. Master's degree holders in fields other than industrial-organizational psychology will likely face high levels of competition. Career opportunities will not be as plentiful for bachelor's degree holders, although some entry-level opportunities will exist. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in psychology will likely pursue career opportunities in fields other than psychology.

Employment change. Employment opportunities for psychologists and other psychology professionals is expected to grow 12% from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all other career fields. Employment growth will be due to increasing demand for psychological services in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, substance abuse treatment clinics, mental health centers, consulting firms, and private companies. If you're looking for a job these industries are a good place to start your job search.

An increasing demand for school psychologists will be generated by growing awareness of mental health and behavioral problems, such as bullying, as they relate to students ability to progess and learn in an educational enviroment. School psychologists will also be required to fulfill general student counseling on a variety of other issues, including working with disabled students or with special needs students, addressing drug abuse, and managing and consulting personal crisis.

Ever rising healthcare costs associated with unhealthy lifestyles, such as alcoholism, smoking, and obesity, which have made prevention and treatment more critical, will continue to spur demand for qualified clinical psychologists. A growing number of employee assistance programs, intended to assist workers with personal problems, also should lead to new employment opportunities for a variety clinical and counseling specialties.

A growing number of clinical and counseling psychologists will be needed to help people productively cope with job stress, depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, as well as a variety life altering addictions. An increase in the elderly population will increase the demand for psychologists trained in geropsychology to help people cope with the physical and mental changes that occur as individuals grow older. Forecasts indicate that there will also be a growing demand by the public and private sector for psychologists specially trained to work with returning veterans.

Industrial-organizational psychologists and related psychological specialties who are equiped to boost worker productivity and retention rates in a wide range of businesses will among those psychologists in highest demand. Industrial-organizational psychologists will also be hired to help companies and organizations deal with issues such as antidiscrimination policies and workplace diversity. Psychologists' with expertise in survey design, analysis, and research, capable of design tools for marketing evaluation and statistical analysis will find job opportunities to be plentiful.

Job prospects. Job opportunities will be most plentiful for professionals who have a doctoral degree from a top university in an applied specialty, such as heathcare or counseling, and those with a specialist or doctoral degree in school psychology. Psychologists who have work experience or extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science are predicted to have a competitive advantage over applicants without comparable training or experience.

Psychology professionals with a masters degree in fields other than industrial-organizational psychology are likely to face steep competition for jobs because of the limited number of positions that require only a master's degree (most requiring both a masters degree and doctoral degree.) Those candidate who possess a master's degree will find jobs as psychological assistants or counselors, providing mental health services under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist. Still, other psychologists may find career opportunities involving research and data collection and analysis in government, universities, or private companies.

Job opportunities directly related to psychology will be not be as pentiful for bachelor's degree holders as most job candidates will possess both a bachelor's degree and post graduate degree. Bachelor degree holders will likely find jobs as assistants in rehabilitation centers or in other positions involving research, data collection and analysis. Psychology professionals with a bachelors degree who meet State certification requirements may become high school psychology teachers. Many professionals who hold only a bachelor's degree in psychology will pursue job opportunities in other industries.

Earnings Information

As of May 2012, the median annual wage for all psychologists was $69,280 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the same time period about half of all psychologists made between $50,000 and $85,000 a year. The lowest 10% of psychologists make less than $39,000 a year, while the upper 10% made over $111,000.

The median annual wage for psychology professionals by specialty include:

  • $83,600 for industrial-organizational psychologists
  • $67,700 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists
  • $90,000 for all other psychologists

The median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists were:

Industry Annual Wage
Federal Government $88,100
Healthcare Practitioner Offices $104,500
Higher Education $64,300
Hospitals and Clinics $90,500
Physician's Offices $93,000
The states with the highest mean annual wage for psychologists are as follows:

State Total employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Mean hourly way Mean annual wage
New Hampshire 40 .07 .8 $64 $133,000
Minnesota 260 .1 1.2 $59 $124,000
Maryland 440 .17 2.12 $50 $105,000
Iowa 50 .04 .45 $48 $100,000
Kansas 100 .08 .94 $48 $99,000
The map below shows the mean annual wage for all psychologists by state. Those states that are blank indicate that data is not available. (Note: the mean wage is the middle wage. 50% of all psychologists will make more than the mean wage, while 50% will make more.



The map below shows the mean annual wage for clinical, counseling and school psychologists by state as of May 2013.

Below are the wage figures by state for all psychologists as of May 2013 (BLS). These data include both annual wage and hourly pay figures. While figures for individual psychology disciplines by state are not available, the numbers below will provide you a very good idea for the earning potential in one state relative to another. We also recommend comparing the wage figures below to the average cost of living for each state listed.

State Pay Period Low (<10%) Median (50%) High (>90%)
United States Hourly
Annual
$20.50
$42,500
$43.85
$91,100
$56.30
$117,100
Alabama Hourly
Annual
$13.85
$28,800
$44.60
$92,700
$52.00
$108,100
Alaska Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Arizona Hourly
Annual
$20.30
$42,200
$44.60
$92,700
$52.30
$108,800
Arkansas Hourly
Annual
$14.30
$29,700
$43.00
$89,400
$51.15
$106,400
California Hourly
Annual
$18.70
$38,900
$48.10
$100,000
$60.55
$125,900
Colorado Hourly
Annual
$14.80
$30,800
$40.65
$84,500
$51.15
$106,400
Connecticut Hourly
Annual
$22.40
$46,600
$45.85
$95,300
$56.20
$116,900
Delaware Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Dist. of Columbia Hourly
Annual
$22.10
$46,000
$44.25
$92,000
$55.65
$115,700
Florida Hourly
Annual
$18.90
$39,200
$39.35
$81,800
$71.75
$149,200
Georgia Hourly
Annual
$28.50
$59,300
$43.30
$90,000
$52.15
$106,400
Hawaii Hourly
Annual
$24.05
$50,000
$46.60
$96,900
$55.60
$115,600
Idaho Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Illinois Hourly
Annual
$22.25
$46,300
$44.60
$92,700
$56.05
$116,500
Indiana Hourly
Annual
$17.65
$36,700
$42.75
$88,900
$51.40
$106,900
Iowa Hourly
Annual
$39.35
$81,800
$48.50
$100,900
$64.70
$134,600
Kansas Hourly
Annual
$29.45
$61,200
$44.60
$92,700
$51.15
$106,000
Kentucky Hourly
Annual
$20.70
$43,000
$38.50
$80,000
$51.15
$106,000
Louisiana Hourly
Annual
$22.10
$45,900
$42.00
$87,300
$51.15
$106,400
Maine Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Maryland Hourly
Annual
$25.10
$52,200
$48.70
$101,500
$74.75
$156,000
Massachusetts Hourly
Annual
$22.20
$20,000
$44.45
$20,000
$55.95
$20,000
Michigan Hourly
Annual
$21.05
$43,700
$42.00
$87,300
$54.50
$113,500
Minnesota Hourly
Annual
$20.90
$43,400
$47.25
$20,000
$90+
$20,000
Mississippi Hourly
Annual
$11.55
$24,000
$34.20
$71,200
$48.50
$111,000
Missouri Hourly
Annual
$20.35
$42,200
$43.30
$90,000
$51.10
$106,500
Montana Hourly
Annual
$19.15
$39,800
$41.75
$86,800
$51.15
$106,500
Nebraska Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Nevada Hourly
Annual
$16.00
$33,000
$43.30
$90,000
$51.15
$106,000
New Hampshire Hourly
Annual
$42.00
$87,500
$54.50
$113,500
$90+
$187,500
New Jersey Hourly
Annual
$22.90
$47,600
$48.90
$102,000
$57.70
$120,000
New Mexico Hourly
Annual
$28.00
$58,000
$48.35
$101,000
$57.20
$119,000
New York Hourly
Annual
$16.20
$33,500
$44.35
$92,500
$57.70
$120,000
North Carolina Hourly
Annual
$29.40
$61,000
$44.60
$92,800
$51.35
$107,000
North Dakota Hourly
Annual
$19.15
$39,800
$32.60
$67,800
$57.90
$120,500
Ohio Hourly
Annual
$17.50
$36,300
$44.60
$92,700
$53.20
$111,000
Oklahoma Hourly
Annual
$20.30
$20,000
$43.30
$20,000
$51.15
$20,000
Oregon Hourly
Annual
$21.40
$44,500
$45.35
$94,500
$60.30
$125,000
Pennsylvania Hourly
Annual
$24.30
$50,500
$42.80
$89,000
$53.15
$110,500
Rhode Island Hourly
Annual
$23.40
$48,700
$48.80
$102,000
$55.95
$116,500
South Carolina Hourly
Annual
$10.00
$20,000
$10.00
$20,000
$10.00
$20,000
South Dakota Hourly
Annual
$11.55
$24,000
$42.00
$87,500
$49.85
$104,000
Tennessee Hourly
Annual
$11.55
$24,000
$43.30
$90,000
$51.15
$106,500
Texas Hourly
Annual
$24.15
$50,300
$44.25
$92,400
$52.66
$110,000
Utah Hourly
Annual
$11.50
$24,000
$40.65
$84,500
$51.15
$106,500
Vermont Hourly
Annual
$19.60
$40,700
$34.20
$71,100
$51.15
$107,000
Virginia Hourly
Annual
$30.35
$63,100
$46.85
$97,500
$73.70
$153,400
Washington Hourly
Annual
$23.70
$49,400
$44.25
$92,500
$54.60
$114,000
West Virginia Hourly
Annual
$15.70
$32,500
$40.65
$84,500
$51.15
$106,500
Wisconsin Hourly
Annual
$16.20
$33,700
$44.60
$92,700
$83.35
$173,500
Wyoming Hourly
Annual
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
There are several factors, including location, experience, education level and industry, that impact earning potential for psychologists. You can find more earnings information for individual disciplines on our psychologists salary and wage information page.

Licensure

Any psychologist who has a private practice, or provides services directly to patients, must fulfill specific licensing and certification requirements mandated by state and federal law.

These requirements vary, depending on the state you live/work in and your specific area of focus (clinical, counseling, school, etc.). In the end, it's your responsibility to know the requirements for your particular situation. A state license is essentially a seal of approval, verifying that the psychologist is sufficiently trained and capable of providing effective services to his or her clients. Typically, state licenses only allow psychologists to practice within the realm of their training and education.

Clinical and counseling psychologists are usually required to hold a doctorate degree in psychology before being considered eligible for licensure. After earning a doctorate degree, psychologists must pass a standardized licensing exam, which is administered by their state licensing board. This exam may consist of multiple choice questions and/or essay and verbal response sections. Once again, these requirements vary from state to state.

It is not uncommon for psychologists to be required to undergo a two-year internship or residency, as well as passing the exam before becoming eligible for licensure.

Below you'll find licensure information for other specialties.

Job Search Resources

The psychology job search resources below have been compiled, reviewed and evaluated by our editorial staff for relevancies and usefulness. If you know of any other reputable job search resources for aspiring psychology students and psychology graduate we'd love to add them to this section.

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