How Much Do Clinical Psychologists Make?

Updated November 23, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings across a diverse array of specializations. Regardless of the setting, they often strive to help people live happier, more fulfilled lives. Learn more about clinical psychologists, what they’re training involves, and how much they earn below.

What Is A Clinical Psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional who holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). Clinical psychology is a broad field with multiple specialties, but it often involves working directly with others rather than conducting research. Some clinical psychologists specialize in working with individuals at various life stages, such as children, teens, or seniors.

What Do Clinical Psychologists Do?

Learn More Clinical Psychologists and Their Income.

Clinical psychologists may perform a variety of tasks depending on the field in which they work and where they work. Through psychotherapy and other treatments, clinical psychologists often aim to help clients become happier, more self-sufficient, and independent.

Treatments conducted by a clinical psychologist may vary in length, with more intensive therapy lasting for a longer amount of time. Clinical psychologists may have many patients or very few, and this can impact the amount of money earned.

How To Become A Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist must complete years of education and training before they can be licensed to practice in their home state. Their training usually begins with a traditional four-year degree. They must then choose a specialty, or general clinical psychology, and go through an additional four to seven years of training to earn a doctorate.

As stated above, there are two different types of degrees that a clinical psychologist might get to start their career. A clinical psychologist who wants to specialize in science and research might earn a Ph.D. A clinical psychologist who wants to specialize in clinical work might get a Psy.D.. 

Clinical psychology students typically perform work in a school-sponsored internship setting as part of their degree completion. They have to pass examinations and become licensed in their state, which typically involves an additional internship. Internships last for a set number of hours, as clinical psychologists are required to practice under the supervision of another psychologist as part of their licensing requirements. The number of hours under required internship supervision varies by state.

How Much Does A Psychologist Make In A Year?

When compared to professionals in other scientific fields, clinical psychologists tend to earn less. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a clinical psychologist is about $82,000 per year.

However, there may be some additional earning potential. If a psychologist specializes in a certain area of psychology or a certain age group, they may be able to charge more for their services. Also, some clinical psychologists make well over the average income. In fact, the top 10% of clinical psychologists earn over $160,000 per year.

Income may depend on several factors. Some clinical psychologists who work in rural areas may not earn as much as a psychologist working in a city. There are also other factors, such as continuing education, how many clients a psychologist maintains, and if they are involved in any specific research.

Other factors may also change how much a clinical psychologist makes, such as area of specialization. For example, a child psychologist may earn more than a geriatric psychologist. 

Also, the setting where a clinical psychologist works may also make a difference in earning potential. A clinical psychologist working in a hospital setting tends to earn about $96,000. On the other hand, clinical psychologists who work for home health services tend to average $132,000 per year.

Where the psychologist practices can also have an impact on how much they make. New Jersey tends to pay the most for clinical psychologists, with the average income being over $143,000 per year. California is also one of the highest-paying states for clinical psychologists, with an average salary of $122,000 per year. Also, California has the highest number of clinical and counseling psychologists. 

On the other hand, the Midwest tends to pay among the least of the states. For specific information about salaries in your state, you might check with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where Do Clinical Psychologists Work?

Clinical psychologists work in a variety of jobs and industries. There are many applications for psychology in today's world. Most clinical psychologists work in universities and hospitals or other health institutions. Some work in Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers or for the government in other capacities. Others work in an academic setting, and still others work in public schools. Also, some companies and organizations hire in-house clinical psychologists.

How Can I Save On A Clinical Psychologist?

Aside from earning a living, clinical psychologists must maintain state and national licensing and certifications, pay overhead for office space and staff, pay for continuing education required by each state, maintain malpractice insurance, and repay any student loans used to pursue their careers helping others.

So, how can you save? One way to save money on psychotherapy is to go through a telehealth organization like BetterHelp. BetterHelp connects you with online therapists who can help you with a variety of mental health concerns. Because online therapists often work from home, their services may be more affordable than those of traditional in-person therapists. You can connect with a therapist from the comfort of your home.

Learn More Clinical Psychologists and Their Income.

One frequent question about online counseling is about how it compares to in-person counseling or therapy. Researchers have investigated the uses of online therapy for a variety of mental health concerns. For example, one recent study compared patient satisfaction between online and traditional therapy among those who sought counseling for concerns as broad as anxiety, depression, parenting, marriage troubles, and stress. The results revealed no differences in satisfaction between in-person and online counseling.

Below are some reviews of online therapists at BetterHelp.

“It took me several tries to find a therapist I connect with. As someone with a clinical degree, I am critical of the style and approach each therapist brings to the table. Liz could not be more supportive, kind, and attentive. After our first call, I knew I would be returning to her care. Liz has been with me through some of the best, worst, and most mundane days of my life and I am truly grateful for her steady gaze, compassionate ear, and sharp wit.”

“Jaye has been incredibly helpful and positive throughout our sessions together. She has an incredible energy and great clinical methodology. Her expertise shines in each session, and she truly cares about the work we do together. She has been a wonderful resource to me thus far, and I look forward to our continued sessions.”


No matter what you’re going through, you can get matched with a clinical psychologist or therapist with experience helping people with similar concerns. With BetterHelp, you can have sessions online through phone or video, and you can contact your therapist via in-app messaging. Therapists are available at multiples times throughout the day to work well with your schedule. Contact BetterHelp to get started today.

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