A clinical psychologist aims to improve the psychological well-being of clients. She assesses a client's needs, abilities and behaviour using psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation. She also consults with physicians, social workers, occupational therapists and psychiatrists. Then she devises a treatment strategy that may include therapy, counseling, and referral to other medical services. Typical conditions that clinical psychologists treat are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, relationship problems, addictive behaviors and learning disabilities.
A salary survey in 2009 conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collated wage data from nearly 100,000 individuals working as clinical or counseling psychologists, either in private offices or in schools. It concluded that their average yearly salary was $72,310. Those within the top 10 percent of earners received an average of $109,470 while their counterparts in the bottom 10 percent received an average of $39,270. The median wage -- the average among the middle 50 percent of earners -- was reported as $66,040.
Salary by Industry
Different sectors of the health-care industry offer clinical psychologists different average salaries. According to the BLS, positions within the offices of other health practitioners offered an average of $87,270, more than those within the offices of physicians -- $83,950. Psychiatric and substance abuse treatment hospitals were listed at $83,120 while individual and family services offered an average wage of $70,490. Outpatient care centers were listed at $69,620.
Salary by State
Across all industry sectors the BLS found that New Jersey and Colorado were the states offering the highest average salaries to clinical psychologists --$92,380 and $90,130 respectively. California offered an average of $84,600 while Ohio was listed at $80,470. Rhode Island completed the top five at $79,630. New York State offered slightly less -- $79,480 -- while Hawaii was listed at $70,630. Among the lowest-paying states were Idaho -- $63,090 -- and New Mexico -- $61,880.
Salary by City
Wage comparison website SalaryExpert.com conducted a survey of clinical psychologist pay levels in several major cities across the United States. It found that of the cities analyzed, Chicago and New York City offered the highest average salaries -- $108,720 and $107,713 respectively. The nearest competitors were Orlando, Fla., -- $97,058 -- and Atlanta, Ga., -- $95,222. At the opposite end of the scale Dallas was listed at $84,943, while Charlotte, N.C., offered an average of $83,741.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for psychologists of all types, including clinical psychologists, to increase by around 12 percent from 2008 to 2018. The growth in demand for clinical psychologists will arise from the rising health-care costs of unhealthy lifestyles, meaning more resources will be put into prevention and employee-assistance programs to deal with increased rates of depression and other mental disorders, as well as addiction.