Only psychologists with Ph.D.'s are licensed to work in clinical, counseling and school settings, although those with master’s degrees are allowed to work in industrial and organizational environments. Though a large number are self-employed in solo practices, many psychologists also work as a team with other psychologists and medical professionals.
Ph.D. psychologists work from offices that are as comfortable for patients as they are for themselves. Those who are self-employed can set their own hours, which typically include evenings and weekends for the convenience of their patients. Those working in institutions like hospitals or other healthcare facilities may need to work shifts that are outside normal business hours. Their median salary is $66,040 yearly, with a range of $39,270 to $109,470. This is equal to $31.75 hourly, with a range of $18.88 to $52.63. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2009.
The biggest employers of Ph.D. psychologists are elementary and secondary schools, with almost 42 percent of the total 98,330 jobs. They pay a mean $33.59 per hour or $69,870 per year. The highest-paying employers are management, scientific and technical consulting services, which offer a mean $49.11 per hour or $102,150 per year. However, they only have 90 jobs, making it difficult to land a position. Also in the top five for pay are the offices of other health practitioners, which include the offices of psychologists. They boast far more employment at 11,410 jobs, but at lower wages of a mean $41.96 per hour or $87,270 per year.
The state with the highest pay for Ph.D. psychologists is New Jersey, with 3,450 positions that pay a mean $44.41 per hour or $92,380 per year. Also among the top five for pay is California, which contains more jobs at 14,530, but lesser wages at $40.68 per hour or $84,600 per year. The state with the best compensation for psychologists is Colorado at $81.86 per hour or $170,280 per year.
The BLS states that employment for all psychologists will increase by 12 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is about average for all occupations. The growth will come from increased demand for psychologists in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, social service agencies and consulting firms. More and more organizations are seeing psychology as a solution for the unhealthy lifestyles that produce higher healthcare costs. Prospects will be best for those who have a doctoral degree from a top university in a specialty such as counseling or health.