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.

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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. 

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. They, therefore, 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, industrial psychology jobs are in high demand due to the constant flow of economic and trade activities. The annual average salary for a psychologist in NYC is at $96,589, well above the national average.

5.5. California

Last but not least, as one of the most multicultural states in the United States, California lends itself very well to psychologists who understand the cultural differences and the influence these disparities have on the behavior, emotions, and thoughts of the individual. 

As the population of the state continues to grow, there is a huge need for treatment for patients with mental and behavioral abnormalities. Moreover, due to the continual influx of immigrants moving to the area, there is a steady pool of patients who often need psychological support and help while they adjust to the vast social and cultural pressures of residing in a community that is very interracial. 

Psychologists can help make the transition easy through various types of counseling, psychiatry, and psychological therapies. California provides the highest salary rates in the country, with licensed and professional psychologists earning anything from $52,000 to $116,000 per year.

Career Tips

Let’s take a look now at tips that could help you on your career journey. 

Look into placement-year degrees

Many universities provide applicants with the opportunity to take a placement year in the industry between the second and third study year. This gives students the ability to gain the relevant clinical experience they need when applying for graduate jobs, which are naturally competitive. The universities will oversee these placements, helping to make certain that they provide students with more useful experiences than they would benefit from if they went down the path of volunteering.

Focus on developing effective study habits

When you are on your psychology course and learning the core material, it is advisable to spend some time developing your test-taking strategies and study habits. This may involve establishing a study schedule, learning about new homework approaches, and evaluating your current study techniques. 

Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or related subjects

Since being a psychologist demands a graduate-level degree, you are going to need to earn a bachelor’s degree before you can focus on more advanced training. Despite the fact that a psychology degree is advised since it is going to give you great insight into the subject and prepare you for advanced study in the field, you are not required to have this degree. You can have a degree in anything that you think is going to give you the tools you require to succeed in grad school. 

Choose a specialty and finish a doctoral program

Once you earn a bachelor’s degree, it is time for you to determine a specialty to focus on. You should select a graduate program that matches your interests. This can be anything from developmental psychology to clinical psychology, which tends to include a clinical and research component. Despite the fact that some universities will combine a doctoral program and a master’s into a single degree program, you will probably find that the vast majority of schools are going to provide individual Psy.D/PhD and individual master’s programs. 

Get licensed to practice

Aside from the tips that have already been given when looking for psychology jobs near me, it is also advisable to get licensed to practice. Once you complete a doctorate and post-doctoral internship, you’ll be eligible to become licensed as a psychologist. To do this, you are going to need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), which is a national licensure exam. You will also need to meet any additional requirements that are related to your state. 

Join a recruitment agency

There are specialized psychology recruitment agencies. From travel psychology jobs to forensic psychology jobs, they will inform you about the best jobs available at the moment. They will give you all of the advice and assistance you need to apply for online psychology jobs. They may even have specialist boards, such as a therapist job board. 

Certifications and Courses to consider

The following certifications could help with your psychology job search:

  • Certificate in Psycho-Social Developmental Studies 
  • Certificate in School Psychology
  • Certificate in Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Certificate in Psychoanalysis in Psychology
  • Certificate in Police & Public Safety Psychology
  • Certificate in Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology
  • Certificate in Group Psychology
  • Certificate in Geropsychology
  • Certificate in Forensic Psychology
  • Certificate in Couple and Family Psychology
  • Certificate in Counseling Psychology
  • Certificate in Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology
  • Certificate in Clinical Psychology
  • Certificate in Clinical Neuropsychology Pediatric Subspecialty
  • Certificate in Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Certificate in Clinical Health Psychology
  • Certificate in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
FAQ

What is the role of a psychologist?

Overall, a psychologist examines, diagnoses, and treats behavioral dysfunctions and psychological issues that result from or are related to mental and physical health. In addition to this, they play a big role in terms of promoting healthy behavior, improving the quality of life of their patients, and preventing diseases. 

Masters in psychology jobs are distinguished based on their specialty. For instance, there are counseling, sport psychology jobs, research, clinical psychology jobs, neuropsychological, developmental, social, and health psychologists, and many more. Some work with patients directly, and some do not.

How much do psychologists make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for psychology bachelor’s jobs is around $79,000. However, the average salary ranges up to $100,000 per annum. Statistics also reveal that the top 10% of psychologists have a salary of around $129,00 per annum. 

Of course, there are a number of different factors that are going to impact how much you make. These include the area of psychology you choose to specialize in, your level of experience, and, of course, the area you reside in.

Can I be a psychologist without a license?

You will need a license for most psychologist jobs and psychologist job openings. However, there are a number of different psychology degree jobs out there that do not require a license. 

For example, if you want to work at a college or university, chances are you are not going to need a license. Some of the university jobs that do not typically require a license include psychology teaching jobs and tutoring assistant positions, mentoring, academic assessment, and teaching. 

There are also positions in different counties, states, and federal institutions that do not require a license. For example, youthful offenders facilities and services, victim’s rights agencies, drug and alcohol programs, mental health programs, psychiatric wards, and crisis intervention units. 

Aside from this, there are psychology research jobs in laboratories that will not necessarily require a license. This includes positions involving projecting future behavior based on previous studies, reporting statistical findings, conducting ongoing studies of behavior, and compiling data. 

You may also not need to have a license if you work for a not-for-profit organization such as different alcohol and drug-related programs, afterschool assistance for the working poor, cancer support services, food for the destitute programs, battered wife services, shelters for the abused and homeless, and suicide hotlines.

Good Luck Landing a Psychology Job

There you have it – everything you need to know about psychology jobs in the United States. We hope that you can use this information to help you secure a job in the market and find the best possibilities for you.

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