What is a Psychologist, Private Practice

What Does a Psychologist, Private Practice Do

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

How To Become a Psychologist, Private Practice

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.

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Average Salary
$97,132
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
14%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
36,231
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Psychologist, Private Practice

Psychologists, Private Practice in America make an average salary of $97,132 per year or $47 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $132,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $70,000 per year.
Average Salary
$97,132
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Psychologist, Private Practice Demographics

Psychologist, Private Practice Gender Statistics

female

59.3 %

male

40.7 %

Psychologist, Private Practice Ethnicity Statistics

White

83.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.1 %

Black or African American

3.3 %

Psychologist, Private Practice Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

54.2 %

French

9.7 %

German

8.3 %
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Psychologist, Private Practice Education

Psychologist, Private Practice Majors

Psychologist, Private Practice Degrees

Bachelors

37.8 %

Masters

30.6 %

Doctorate

22.9 %

Top Colleges for Psychologist, Private Practices

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

3. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

4. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

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

7. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

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

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

9. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
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Top Skills For a Psychologist, Private Practice

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, 17.9% of Psychologists, Private Practice listed Group Therapy on their resume, but soft skills such as Analytical skills and Communication skills are important as well.

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Top Psychologist, Private Practice Employers

Most Common Employers For Psychologist, Private Practice

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Psychologist, Private Practice SalaryAverage Salary
1$107,280
2$104,150
3$100,835
4$100,605
5$99,809
6$99,657