Psychology Jobs in the USA

The psychology job market is thriving at the moment. It is predicted that it will grow by 14% by 2028. This is much faster than the average growth rate across all occupations.

Furthermore, the most recent statistics for 2018 show that there are 181,700 jobs in psychology. Therefore, by 2028, there should be an increase of 26,100 psychology jobs in this sector. Below, we are going to reveal everything you need to know about psychology jobs in the United States.


What Does a Psychologist Do?

A psychologist is someone who studies the social, emotional, and cognitive processes and behavior of a person. This is carried out by observing, recording, and interpreting how an individual relates to another person and the environment they are in. Psychologists then use this information to help the person improve her behavior and various processes.

Psychologists have a plethora of duties, including the following:

  • Supervising clinicians, interns, and counseling professionals
  • Writing reports, research papers, and articles to educate others and share their findings
  • Discussing the treatment of different problems with their patients
  • Testing for patterns that will enable them to predict better and understand the behavior
  • Researching and identifying emotional or behavioral patterns
  • Identifying organizational, behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems and diagnosing disorders
  • Observing, interviewing, and surveying individuals
  • Conducting scientific studies of brain function and behavior

Psychologists aim to understand and explain thoughts, behavior, feelings, and emotions. They will utilize different techniques, including experimentation, assessment, and observation to develop theories regarding feelings and beliefs that influence people. 

Psychologists will often evaluate behavior and gather information through psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, or controlled laboratory experiments. A psychology job posting will also require someone who can administer intelligence, aptitude, performance, or personality tests. They will look for relationships or patterns of behaviour between events. They then use this data and information when they treat patients or test theories during research. 

Types of Psychology Jobs

2.1. Clinical Psychologist

2.1.1 Duties

A clinical psychologist is someone who will meet with patients to determine behavioral, mental, and emotional problems in their lives. The psychologist will diagnose any potential or existing disorders through tests, interviews, and observation. Afterward, she will put together a treatment program according to the needs of the patient. 

The duties of a clinical psychologist include publishing research findings in industry journals, conducting research, teaching classes, monitoring patient progress through regular sessions or meetings, helping patients define a plan and goals to achieve vocational, educational, social, and personal development and adjustment, developing and implementing treatment plans and therapeutic processes, diagnosing psychological, behavioral, or emotional disorders, as well as identifying psychological, behavioral, or emotional problems.

2.1.2 Previous experience required (how many years and in what role, field)

You will need to earn a four-year undergraduate degree to become a clinical psychologist and be accepted for one of these jobs for psychology majors. A bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, or education will best prepare you for graduate work in this field. 

To enter the field of clinical psychology, you are also going to need a psychology master’s degree. A lot of research, counseling, and clinical psychologists earn a doctoral degree as well, although this is not a necessity. 

2.1.3 Average salary ranges

The median national yearly salary of a clinical psychologist in the US is $70,580. 

2.2. Child Psychologist 

2.2.1 Duties

A child psychologist is someone who will help children to find balance and become well-adjusted individuals. They can assist them with different behavioral problems while also ensuring they behave properly in school, with family, and with their peers. 

There are a number of different duties a child psychologist will have. These include carrying out tasks that relate to running an independent practice – for example, managing insurance problems, billing, and bookkeeping. This also includes researching disorders that are common amongst adolescents and children, as well as devising new treatment strategies. It’s also helpful to maintain a journal to stay up-to-date and keep track of the latest child mental health stats and facts.

You may also teach students at university or college level. Other tasks include working with school administrators and elementary educators to assess and revise learning environments to suit all children with special needs. 

You may also find yourself collaborating with pediatricians, teachers, parents, and any other clinicians involved in the case to implement child psychology treatment plans. Finally, you will, of course, meet with children and their family members to observe any potential issues and diagnose concerns about a child’s emotional or mental state. 

2.2.2 Previous experience required (how many years and in what role, field)

To work in one of the available children psychology jobs, whether in a research facility or independent practice, you will need a doctoral degree, which will either be a PsyD or a PhD. You will then have access to a huge range of jobs that require a PhD in psychology. 

Aside from achieving the doctorate, you are also going to need to pass a licensing exam to be able to treat children. Child psychology professionals who wish to work at schools, whether secondary or elementary, may be subject to additional requirements. This depends on the state they wish to teach in. 

To renew or maintain your license, you will typically need to complete a certain number of hours in terms of education over a set period of time. 

2.2.3 Average salary ranges

The median national yearly salary of a child psychologist in the US is $69,116. Of course, pay does differ based on location. Child psychologists in Chicago, Illinois, and Denver, Colorado, earn an average of 27% more when compared with the national average. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, child psychologists earn 9% less when compared with the national average.

2.3 Substance Abuse Psychologist

2.3.1 Duties

As a substance abuse psychologist, you may find yourself working with a number of different people. Alternatively, you could decide to work with a specific segment of the population, for example, veterans or teenagers. 

In any case, you are going to have a number of different duties. You will need to be a support system for individuals experiencing alcohol and drug problems, as well as eating disorders and any other behavioral problems. You will teach people how to make changes to their behavior with the aim of making a full recovery. 

A lot of substance abuse psychologists will work with patients on a continual basis because they are susceptible to relapses. You will need to meet with your patients to assess their substance and health problem. You also need to identify any issues, creating treatment plans and objectives. 

You will also lead group therapy sessions, help patients reestablish their career, or teach them coping mechanisms. Aside from this, you’ll be meeting with family members, providing support and guidance for them, as well as setting up aftercare plans, referring patients to support groups, and providing progress reports and updates to courts too. 

2.3.2 Previous experience required (how many years and in what role, field)

It is quite common for a substance abuse psychologist to have a master’s degree in social work or counseling. However, this level of education for these social psychology jobs is not required in every state. Nevertheless, if you have a high-level degree like this, you will be able to offer more services and assistance to your patients. 

You will need to complete up to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and have a master’s degree if you wish to run a private practice. You will be licensed to work as a substance abuse psychologist in your state if you pass an exam. You should check and see if there are any other requirements in your state that you are going to need to fulfill.

2.3.3 Average salary ranges

The median national yearly salary for a substance abuse psychologist in the US is $41,070. This is lower than the counseling psychology jobs that we have discussed so far.

2.4 Forensic Psychologist 

2.4.1 Duties

As a forensic psychologist, there are a number of key skills that you are going to need to have. This job belongs to the criminal psychology jobs group. You will need to be a critical thinker who is deductive and logical. You are also going to need to be self-controlled and intuitive. You should have a strong stomach, exceptional writing skills, a desire to collaborate, high ethical standards, and strong communication skills. 

A forensic psychologist is going to assess criminals to learn their motives and mindset that led to the crime they committed. They also work with probation and parole boards because they have the job of determining what threat the offender in question may be to the public. 

A forensic psychologist will present in courtrooms across the country to assist lawyers in terms of determining the competency of a defendant to stand trial, as well as assisting with jury selection. In some cases, forensic psychology jobs may involve working with kids who are in the middle of custody battles between their parents with the aim of ensuring the children are kept as safe as possible. 

2.4.2 Previous experience required (how many years and in what role, field)

You will need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Of course, it is advisable to major in psychology. You should also get an advanced degree. This will typically be required in most states. The vast majority of graduate programs in forensic psychology will look for a GPE of 3.5 or higher, as well as paid or voluntary experience in the field. 

2.4.3 Average salary ranges

The median national yearly salary of a clinical psychologist in the US is $77,030. This is one of the highest paying jobs with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. As with most careers in psychology, your chosen field of expertise and your experience are going to play a key role in the amount of money you earn. The BLS reports that the top 10% of forensic psychologists earn over $124,520.

Entry-Level Psychology Career Path

3.1. Types of jobs to consider

Beginner’s entry-level psychology jobs list:

  • Assistant psychologist 
  • Social services specialist 
  • Psychology research assistant jobs
  • Laboratory assistant 
  • Child care worker
  • Market researcher
  • Writer
  • Parole and probation officer
  • Career counselor 
  • Social work assistant
  • Sports psychology jobs
  • Rehabilitation specialist 
  • Case manager 
  • Mental health technician
  • Psychiatric technician

3.2. Educational background required/desired

To get started in the field of psychology, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Prerequisite courses for bachelor’s in psychology jobs include statistics, experimental and developmental psychology, and general psychology. This degree type falls under Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. The course will typically last four years. 

It is also advisable to gain helpful work experience while you are in school. This may even be part of your course. A lot of courses will require work experience to complete your degree. Whether or not this is the case, gaining hands-on experience during your psychology degree is going to make it a lot easier for you to find a job when you graduate. 

A lot of people will then decide to complete a doctorate or choose a specialty and further education degree. However, with a bachelor’s degree, you will now have everything you need to get started in the industry with a basic entry-level job. You may decide to leverage your degree while working. This is something a lot of people do.

You may also need to do an internship if you wish to have a job in psychology, though, and so this is something else that you should look into. Most of the states in the United States will require you to fulfill a two-year supervised internship. This is beneficial for a number of different reasons. You will get the satisfaction of helping other people, you will learn whether or not a specific specialty is right for you, and you will receive the job training as well. 

The American Psychological Association (APA) may need to approve internships in counseling psychology and clinical psychology. This is because psychology jobs in 2019 in mental health sometimes demand an internship that has been APA-approved.

3.3. Salary Expectations

There are a number of factors that influence the salary you will receive. These include the area of study. For example, an entry-level health psychologist receives around $40,000, with the average salary for this job being $85,000 at the advanced level. For clinical psychologists, entry-level professionals reported salaries ranging from $56,762 to $84,000.

Freelance/Virtual Psychology Jobs

The digital age has brought about freelancing opportunities for people across all industries. If you are looking for jobs that you can carry out from home, you will find a number of different opportunities within the freelancing realm. 

One of the most accessible jobs is a psychology writer. This is ideal for psychology graduates at all levels. You will be able to write on topics like behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, mental health, psychotherapy, clinical psychology, forensic psychology, theoretical and applied psychology, and other academic studies in the psychology field. 

For this role, you will need to have a degree, and you will need to have exceptional writing skills. You will typically be paid on the word-count basis. However, there are some roles whereby you would be paid by the hour. 

Aside from this, you may also find that there are freelance opportunities available across many psychology job boards. This may include researching for one-off projects, or it could be continual research work. You may help someone with putting together a report or completing her university study. 

You may also find that there are some cases whereby you can help patients via the internet. For example, if parents are looking for help because they are experiencing behavioral problems with their child, you could hold an online chat with them to provide some advice. 

Of course, this would not be sufficient for certain cases, for instance, cases of severe psychological problems. However, you could provide this sort of service if people are simply looking for advice and they need someone to speak to.

Psychology Jobs by State

As discussed, one of the factors that influence how much money you are going to earn as a psychologist is where you are based. There are a number of states that present great opportunities for psychologists and the best psychology jobs. So, let’s take a look:

5.1. Texas

There are increasing job opportunities in Texas, especially for psychologists. It has a vibrant multicultural flair and mixed ethnic community. The big population brings about numerous cultural and social issues, and sometimes people require psychological help in addressing them. 

To support the population’s growth, the social services collectively form a vital and large infrastructure in the state. Supported by social anxiety stats, they play a critical role in making positive changes to the growth and health of the state.

5.2. Pennsylvania

Next, we have Pennsylvania. However, some parts of Pennsylvania do not pay well, so your salary would depend on where you are based. Nevertheless, there are some great places for psychologists to find employment in research and development, applied industrial psychology, and government services. 

This is because the area is home to a lot of major cities. Most psychologists here work in education, social services, and public health. 

5.3. Illinois

Another great place for employment as a psychologist is Illinois. This is one of the best places in terms of average wages. In fact, Chicago has been ranked as the best place for psychologists to work. Because of the urban centers, manufacturing industry, location of the state, and the rich agriculture production, psychologists are employed in virtually every economic sector, whether it is schools, clinics, or industry. 

The 4,460 registered psychologists in the state primarily work in schools. For a trained psychologist, the average yearly psychology jobs salary in the state is $82,877. However, this can increase depending on education level and experience.

5.4. New York

New York City is another great choice. It enjoys a reputation as a global and national economic powerhouse. The state is also multicultural and highly industrialized, which often leads to difficulties among new residents and lifelong residents alike. 

To address behavioral and cognitive changes that are required for life in an environment that is very much quick-paced,

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