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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZw9ZPv6lts.
Quick Facts: Psychologists
2023 Median Pay $92,740 per year
$44.59 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education See How to Become One
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2022 196,000
Job Outlook, 2022-32 6% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 12,000

What Psychologists Do

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments.

Work Environment

Psychologists work in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and private practice. Most are full time, but part-time work is common. Some work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients' schedules.

How to Become a Psychologist

Psychologists typically need an advanced degree, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, in psychology. Licensing requirements vary by state and position.

Pay

The median annual wage for psychologists was $92,740 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 12,800 openings for psychologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for psychologists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of psychologists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about psychologists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Psychologists Do About this section

Psychologists
Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological research and methods to workplace issues.

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments. They use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors.

Duties

Psychologists typically do the following:

  • Study behavior and brain function by observing, interviewing, and surveying individuals
  • Identify psychological, emotional, behavioral, or organizational issues and diagnose disorders
  • Research and identify behavioral or emotional issues, such as anxiety and depression
  • Test for patterns that will help them better understand and predict behavior
  • Discuss the results of testing with clients or their families and, if needed, develop treatment plans
  • Write articles, research papers, and reports to share findings

Psychologists seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Through techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation, they try to gain a better understanding about how beliefs and feelings influence people.

Psychologists often gather information and evaluate behavior through controlled laboratory experiments, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy. They may administer personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. They look for patterns of behavior or relationships between events, and they use this information in their research or when treating clients.

The following are examples of types of psychologists:

Clinical and counseling psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They help people deal with problems ranging from everyday issues to severe, chronic conditions.

Clinical and counseling psychologists typically interview clients, administer diagnostic tests, and provide psychotherapy to individuals, families, and groups. They help clients identify their strengths and available resources to prevent or manage problems, and they design behavior modification plans that they help clients to implement.

Clinical and counseling psychologists sometimes work with a specific population, such as older people, or focus on a specific condition, such as cognitive disorders. Some states permit clinical psychologists to prescribe medication.

Industrial–organizational psychologists apply psychological principles to solve workplace problems and improve work-life quality. They study issues such as productivity, employee testing and selection, and organizational dynamics. They may work closely with top executives, training and development managers, and training and development specialists.

School psychologists study strategies to address educational, behavioral, or developmental problems that impact students’ learning. They may design and implement performance plans, evaluate performance, and counsel students and families. They may consult with teachers, administrators, and other educators.

Other psychologists include forensic psychologists, who work with judges, attorneys, and related specialists to understand the psychological aspects of a legal case; neuropsychologists, who study how dysfunction or damage to the brain, spine, or nerves affects behavior and cognition; and rehabilitation psychologists, who help foster independence in clients who have physical or developmental disabilities due to illness or injury.

Psychologists are among several specialists who focus on mental and behavioral health. For more information about some of these specialists, see the profiles on psychiatrists, a type of physician; marriage and family therapists, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, and social workers.

Work Environment About this section

Psychologists
Counseling psychologists often have their own practices.

Psychologists held about 196,000 jobs in 2022. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up psychologists was distributed as follows:

Clinical and counseling psychologists 67,500
School psychologists 62,200
Psychologists, all other 56,300
Industrial-organizational psychologists 10,100

The largest employers of psychologists were as follows:

Self-employed workers 28%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 27
Ambulatory healthcare services 21
Government 8
Hospitals; state, local, and private 4

Some psychologists work alone when researching, consulting with clients, or counseling clients. Others work as part of a team, collaborating with specialists to treat clients and promote overall wellness.

Work Schedules

Most psychologists work full time, but part-time work is common. They may work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.

How to Become a Psychologist About this section

Psychologists
In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure.

Psychologists typically need an advanced degree, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, in psychology. Licensing requirements vary by state and position.

Education

Psychologists typically need at least a master’s degree to enter the occupation. Applicants to graduate-level psychology programs typically have a bachelor's degree in a field such as psychology, education, or social science

Clinical and counseling psychologists typically need a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Ph.D. programs usually emphasize research that culminates in a dissertation, while Psy.D. programs focus on applying psychological principles to working with clients or patients. As part of either program, students are typically required to complete an internship.

Industrial–organizational psychologists typically need a master’s degree. Programs for these psychologists usually include courses in statistics, research design, and topics specific to understanding the relationships between people and workplaces.

School psychologists typically need at least a master’s degree in school psychology. Other degrees for school psychologists include education specialist (Ed.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) degrees. School psychologist programs include coursework in education and psychology to address both of these components in students’ development. These programs also usually require completion of an internship.

Training

Most psychologists need supervised experience to qualify for licensure, which may include an internship or postdoctoral training. These experiences provide an opportunity for prospective psychologists to use their knowledge in an applied setting. The required number of hours for internships varies by state.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require licensure for those who provide psychology services or use the title “psychologist.” All states and the District of Columbia require that psychologists who practice independently be licensed where they work. Licensing laws vary by state and by type of position. For more information, contact your state’s licensing board.

Clinical and counseling psychologists are licensed in every state. School psychologists also typically need a credential, such as a license or certification from their state’s board of education. Licensure typically requires applicants to have earned a master’s or doctoral degree and completed supervised experience. They also may need to have passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

All states require psychologists to complete continuing education to maintain licensure. For more information about specific state requirements, visit the ASPPB.

Certification, which may be optional or may be required by employers, is available from professional associations. For example, the American Board of Professional Psychology offers certification in areas such as clinical health psychology, couple and family psychology, and rehabilitation psychology. The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology offers certification in neuropsychology. Board certification typically requires candidates to have a doctoral degree and pass an examination.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Psychologists examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions.

Communication skills. Psychologists spend much of their time speaking with people, writing reports, and describing their research. They must be able to convey ideas both orally and in writing.

Compassion. Psychologists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must empathize with their clients.

Integrity. Psychologists need to keep client discussions confidential. Clients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive issues.

Interpersonal skills. Psychologists must be able to build a rapport with clients and work well with a variety of specialists.

Observational skills. Psychologists study individuals and groups to understand their interactions. For example, they may observe facial expressions and other body language for clues about their clients’ attitudes and behaviors.

Patience. Psychologists must be able to remain calm when working with all types of clients, including those who may be distressed.

Problem-solving skills. Psychologists collect information, design research, evaluate programs, and find treatments or solutions to mental and behavioral problems.

Pay About this section

Psychologists

Median annual wages, May 2023

Psychologists

$92,740

Social scientists and related workers

$89,440

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for psychologists was $92,740 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $151,880.

Median annual wages for psychologists in May 2023 were as follows:

Industrial-organizational psychologists $147,420
Psychologists, all other 117,750
Clinical and counseling psychologists 96,100
School psychologists 84,940

In May 2023, the median annual wages for psychologists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $115,400
Hospitals; state, local, and private 102,660
Ambulatory healthcare services 98,380
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 84,440

Psychologists work in variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and private practice. Most are full time, but part-time work is common. Some work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules.

Job Outlook About this section

Psychologists

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Psychologists

6%

Social scientists and related workers

5%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 12,800 openings for psychologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to grow due to demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies.

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as more people turn to psychologists for help with their problems.

Employment of school psychologists will continue to grow because of an increased awareness of the connection between mental health and learning. These workers also will be needed to help students whose educational, behavioral, or developmental issues impact their ability to learn. 

Organizations will continue to employ industrial–organizational psychologists to help with tasks such as selecting and retaining employees, implementing trainings, and improving office morale.

Employment projections data for psychologists, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Psychologists

19-3030 196,000 208,000 6 12,000 Get data

Industrial-organizational psychologists

19-3032 10,100 10,600 6 600 Get data

Clinical and counseling psychologists

19-3033 67,500 75,200 11 7,700 Get data

School psychologists

19-3034 62,200 63,000 1 800 Get data

Psychologists, all other

19-3039 56,300 59,100 5 2,900 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of psychologists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Market research analysts Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts study consumer preferences, business conditions, and other factors to assess potential sales of a product or service.

Bachelor's degree $74,680
Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat cognitive, behavioral, or similar disorders in the context of couples and other relationships.

Master's degree $58,510
Physicians and surgeons Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree This wage is equal to or greater than $239,200 per year.
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $84,380
School and Career Counselors School and Career Counselors and Advisors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills. Career counselors and advisors help people choose a path to employment.

Master's degree $61,710
Social workers Social Workers

Social workers help people prevent and cope with problems in their everyday lives.

See How to Become One $58,380
Sociologists Sociologists

Sociologists study society and social behavior.

Master's degree $101,770
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions, or depression.

Bachelor's degree $53,710
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $60,960
training and development specialists image Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists plan and administer programs that improve the skills and knowledge of their employees.

Bachelor's degree $64,340

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about careers in all fields of psychology, visit

American Psychological Association

For more information about industrial–organizational psychologists, visit

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

For more information about careers and certification in neuropsychology, visit

American Board of Professional Neuropsychology

For more information about careers for school psychologists, visit

National Association of School Psychologists

For more information about state licensing requirements, visit

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards

For more information about psychology specialty certifications, visit

American Board of Professional Psychology

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

School psychologists (PDF)

CareerOneStop

For career videos on psychologists, visit

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

O*NET

Clinical Neuropsychologists

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Neuropsychologists

Psychologists, All Other

School Psychologists

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm (visited July 15, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What They Do

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Work Environment

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How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.