Clinical psychologists work in schools, mental health units, counseling centers and hospitals, helping patients improve emotionally, behaviorally and physically. The minimum job requirement is a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, but clinical psychologists also need a license in most states. Although laws vary, the usual prerequisites for licensing include a doctorate, work experience and passing a professional exam. The pay of clinical psychologists in hospitals depends in part on the type of hospital.
All hospitals nationwide employed 8,680 clinical psychologists as of 2012, including private and government institutions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their average hourly pay was $36.87, the equivalent of $76,680 annually full time. Ten percent received annual salaries of $42,150 or less, and 10 percent received wages of $111,440 or higher.
Breaking down hospitals by type, the BLS reports the category of general and surgical hospitals employed 4,290 clinical psychologists as of 2012. They received average hourly wages of $37.16, for an average annual income of $77,300. The lowest-earning 10 percent earned $41,140 per year or less, while the top earners received $112,290 annually or more.
Among specialty hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals employed the largest number of clinical psychologists in 2012, according to the BLS. A total of 3,800 clinical psychologists earned average hourly wages of $36.04 in these hospitals, for full-time annual pay of $74,960. Other specialty hospitals employed an additional 600 clinical psychologists, paying them an average of $39.94 per hour, or $83,070 annually. This was the highest average pay for the profession in hospitals of any type.
All Clinical Psychologists
Hospital clinical psychologists receive higher pay on average than clinical, counseling and school psychologists overall. The 103,590 clinical and school psychologists in all industries averaged $34.72 per hour, or $72,220 annually in 2012, the BLS reports. Their largest employer was elementary and secondary schools, where 42,060 psychologists averaged $34.49 per hour, or $71,730 annually full time.
The location of the job also impacts clinical psychologists' wages. The highest-paying state for all clinical and school psychologists in 2012 was Rhode Island, where annual salaries averaged $92,580, according to the BLS. In second place, wages in Hawaii averaged $90,420, and in New York, they averaged $84,850. New York reported 10,610 positions in 2012, while Rhode Island and Hawaii had fewer than 600 jobs each. The top-paying metropolitan area nationwide was the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where salaries averaged $117,050 annually. The San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles combined area of California came second, averaging $111,420 per year.
The BLS estimates the number of jobs for clinical psychologists overall will increase 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average of 14 percent for all jobs. The nation will likely need more clinical psychologists to help people with mental health problems, addictions and damage from traumas, including war and natural disasters.
2016 Salary Information for Psychologists
Psychologists earned a median annual salary of $75,710 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, psychologists earned a 25th percentile salary of $56,390, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $97,780, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 166,600 people were employed in the U.S. as psychologists.