Find The Best Psychologist Jobs For You

Where do you want to work?

0 selections

Psychologist Careers

Psychologists may work in various settings, from clinics to schools, workplaces, organizations, or private practices. Their job, essentially, is to assess and diagnose mental or emotional disorders in their patients.

They do not stop after arriving at a diagnosis, though. Treating patients with therapy or choosing from a wide variety of alternative options and methods is also their job. If they do not seem to have access to the appropriate tools, they will refer their patients to specialized therapists or other treatment facilities.

You will need an extended period of education and experience to qualify as a practicing psychologist. The road to get there is not easy, and the position is demanding on many levels, but the ability to help people is always extremely powerful and fulfilling.

What Does a Psychologist Do

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

Duties

Psychologists typically do the following:

  • Conduct scientific studies of behavior and brain function
  • Collect information through observations, interviews, surveys, and other methods
  • Identify psychological, emotional, behavioral, or organizational issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from their research
  • Research and identify behavioral or emotional patterns
  • Test for patterns that will help them better understand and predict behavior
  • Discuss the treatment of problems with their clients
  • Write articles, research papers, and reports to share findings and educate others

Psychologists seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior. Psychologists use techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation to develop theories about the beliefs and feelings that influence a person.

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

The following are examples of types of psychologists:

Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Clinical psychologists help people deal with problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions.

Clinical psychologists are trained to use a variety of approaches to help individuals. Although strategies generally differ by specialty, clinical psychologists often interview patients, give diagnostic tests, and provide individual, family, or group psychotherapy. They also design behavior modification programs and help patients implement their particular program.

Some clinical psychologists focus on certain populations, such as children or the elderly, or certain specialties, such as the following:

  • Health psychologists study how psychological and behavioral factors interact with health and illness. They educate both patients and medical staff on psychological issues and promote healthy-living strategies. They also investigate and develop programs to address common health-related behaviors, such as smoking, poor diet, and sedentary behavior.
  • Neuropsychologists study the effects of brain injuries, brain disease, developmental disorders, or mental health conditions on behavior and thinking. They test patients affected by known or suspected brain conditions to determine impacts on thinking and to direct patients’ treatment.

Clinical psychologists often consult with other health professionals regarding the best treatment for patients, especially treatment that includes medication. Currently, Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico allow clinical psychologists to prescribe medication to patients. Most states, however, do not allow psychologists to prescribe medication for treatment.

Counseling psychologists help patients deal with and understand problems, including issues at home, at the workplace, or in their community. Through counseling, they work with patients to identify their strengths or resources they can use to manage problems. For information on other counseling occupations, see the profiles on mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, and social workers.

Developmental psychologists study the psychological progress and development that take place throughout life. Many developmental psychologists focus on children and adolescents, but they also may study aging and problems facing older adults.

Forensic psychologists use psychological principles in the legal and criminal justice system to help judges, attorneys, and other legal specialists understand the psychological aspects of a particular case. They often testify in court as expert witnesses. They typically specialize in family, civil, or criminal case work.

Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. They study issues such as workplace productivity, management or employee working styles, and employee morale. They also work with management on matters such as policy planning, employee screening or training, and organizational development.

School psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to education and developmental disorders. They may address student learning and behavioral problems; design and implement performance plans, and evaluate performances; and counsel students and families. They also may consult with other school-based professionals to suggest improvements to teaching, learning, and administrative strategies.

Social psychologists study how people’s mindsets and behavior are shaped by social interactions. They examine both individual and group interactions and may investigate ways to improve interactions.

Some psychologists become postsecondary teachers or high school teachers.

How To Become a Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Psychologists in independent practice also need a license.

Education

Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Students can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that is obtained after taking a comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation based on original research. Ph.D programs typically include courses on statistics and experimental procedures. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program.

School psychologists need an advanced degree and certification or licensure to work. The advanced degree is most commonly the education specialist degree (Ed.S.), which typically requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester credit hours and a 1,200-hour supervised internship. Some school psychologists may have a doctoral degree in school psychology or a master’s degree. School psychologists’ programs include coursework in both education and psychology because their work addresses education and mental health components of students’ development.

Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists. When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, master’s graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Master’s degree programs typically include courses in industrial-organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate major in psychology, but do require coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Some doctoral degree programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology; others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a major in psychology. 

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure. In all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work.

Licensing laws vary by state and type of position. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Information on specific state requirements can be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 15 areas of psychology, such as clinical health, couple and family, or rehabilitation. The American Board of Professional Neuropsychology offers certification in neuropsychology. Board certification can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area. Certification is not required for most psychologists, but some hospitals and clinics do require certification. In those cases, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology, state license or certification, and any additional criteria of the specialty field.

Training

Prospective practicing psychologists must have pre- or post-doctoral supervised experience, including an internship. Internships allow students to gain experience in an applied setting. Candidates must complete an internship before they can qualify for state licensure. The required number of hours of the internship varies by state.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Psychologists must be able to examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions from them.

Communication skills. Psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with patients. 

Observational skills. Psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must be able to watch people and understand the possible meanings of facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.

Patience. Psychologists must be able to demonstrate patience, because conducting research or treating patients may take a long time.

People skills. Psychologists study and help people. They must be able to work well with clients, patients, and other professionals.

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

Trustworthiness. Psychologists must keep patients’ problems in confidence, and patients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive problems.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary
$72,956
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
14%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
4,248
Job Openings

Psychologist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Psychologist

Top Careers After Psychologist

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Psychologist

Psychologists in America make an average salary of $72,956 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $99,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $53,000 per year.
Average Salary
$72,956

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Atascadero, CA
Salary Range79k - 121k$98k$98,198
Edison, NJ
Salary Range72k - 112k$90k$90,452
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range67k - 103k$84k$84,015
Vancouver, WA
Salary Range67k - 99k$82k$81,888
New York, NY
Salary Range61k - 96k$77k$76,942
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range58k - 90k$72k$72,485
$49k
$121k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Counterintelligence Psychologist-Experienced Level
Counterintelligence Psychologist-Experienced Level
National Security Agency/Central Security Service
National Security Agency/Central Security Service
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$144,12803/30/2021
$144,128
Psychologist
Psychologist
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
03/27/2021
03/27/2021
$72,72503/27/2021
$72,725
Psychologist
Psychologist
Geo Group Inc.
Geo Group Inc.
03/24/2021
03/24/2021
$116,87203/24/2021
$116,872
Psychologist 2
Psychologist 2
New York State Civil Service
New York State Civil Service
03/23/2021
03/23/2021
$73,28403/23/2021
$73,284
Psychologist
Psychologist
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
03/22/2021
03/22/2021
$93,91503/22/2021
$93,915
See More Recent Salaries

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Psychologist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Psychologist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Psychologist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Psychologist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Psychologist Demographics

Gender

female

57.9 %

male

32.5 %

unknown

9.6 %

Ethnicity

White

82.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.8 %

Black or African American

3.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.3 %

French

7.8 %

Portuguese

5.4 %
See More Demographics

Psychologist Education

Degrees

Bachelors

43.5 %

Masters

24.2 %

Doctorate

22.2 %

Top Colleges for Psychologists

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

3. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

6. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

7. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

8. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

9. University of California - San Diego

La Jolla, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,167
Enrollment
30,279

10. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Psychologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.7% of psychologists listed mental health on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

  • Mental Health, 11.7%
  • Psychological Services, 10.4%
  • Crisis Intervention, 9.2%
  • Treatment Plans, 8.4%
  • Group Therapy, 7.7%
  • Other Skills, 52.6%
  • See All Psychologist Skills

Best States For a Psychologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a psychologist. The best states for people in this position are California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Psychologists make the most in California with an average salary of $96,501. Whereas in New Jersey and Connecticut, they would average $90,389 and $89,791, respectively. While psychologists would only make an average of $88,769 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Psychologist Jobs:
660
Highest 10% Earn:
$144,000
Location Quotient:
1.52
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Psychologist Jobs:
120
Highest 10% Earn:
$136,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maryland

Total Psychologist Jobs:
144
Highest 10% Earn:
$124,000
Location Quotient:
1.53
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

How Do Psychologist Rate Their Jobs?

Working as a Psychologist? Share your experience anonymously.
Rate
Do you work as a Psychologist?
Rate how you like work as Psychologist. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.
Rate

Top Psychologist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ psychologists and discovered their number of psychologist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Indian Health Service was the best, especially with an average salary of $54,681. Michigan State University follows up with an average salary of $68,990, and then comes State of Minnesota with an average of $62,559. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a psychologist. The employers include Doctor on Demand, Veterans Affairs Dept, and Fraser School

1. Indian Health Service
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$54,681
Psychologists Hired: 
18+
2. Michigan State University
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$68,990
Psychologists Hired: 
14+
3. State of Minnesota
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$62,559
Psychologists Hired: 
12+
4. State of North Carolina
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$53,336
Psychologists Hired: 
12+
5. Kaiser Permanente
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$75,679
Psychologists Hired: 
11+
6. Washington State Employees Credit Union
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$79,751
Psychologists Hired: 
11+

Psychologist Videos