Private Practicing Psychologist Salary- Factors to know

Private Practicing Psychologist Salary

Starting your private practice has its pros and cons. In this article, we’ll know about the Private Practicing Psychologist Salary. But first, here are the educational qualifications to become a psychologist in the U.S.

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree preferably with a major in psychology which will be full-time for four years.
  • Masters’ degree in psychology, you choose your specialization such as Clinical, Counselling, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. This is a full-time two years degree.
  • Obtain a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Ph.D. in psychology which should take a minimum of 4 years if you plan on attaining a license later.
  • Lastly, get licensed according to the area you want to practice in. Licensing may require supervisory professionals, experience, and attempting Regional Board Exams. This may take 15,000 to 60,000 hours under a supervisor.

Factors You Should Consider

Opening a private practice can be quite a task as ambitious as it might seem. There are various factors to consider before you take such a step. You are your boss but that comes with a new of responsibilities, you need to learn how to manage your time well and stay motivated throughout.

  1. Experience Level – If you have just graduated with a license, you still need more hands-on experience before jumping in solo. You could join a group practice or work with a hospital, healthcare organization and gain experience so that you can manage through hurdles when you decide to practice privately. This will also give you a good outlook on how you want your practice to run. If you have an adequate level of experience, you can make the jump to private practice with few clients as well. This will help you further and provide security when starting.

  2. Niche – When you gain some experience, you develop an inclination towards what you enjoy best treating and what works in the market that you are practicing in. When opening your practice having a niche can boost income while being efficient. Your niche should be according to what people are searing for in the area you practice and what you are interested in. Finding a niche that you are specialized in makes you unique.

  3. Trends in the Market – Even if you have saved up, starting a practice can be a toll on your finances. This is why watching the market trends is crucial. You need to be aware of social, political, geographic trends and build your practice accordingly. If you specialize in addiction treatments then practicing in the city rather than suburbs would benefit you.

  4. Creating a Blueprint – Create a plan, one that aligns with your purpose of starting a practice. You could choose to partner with someone which would require drawing up partnership contracts. The creation of a solid business plan is essential. There are decisions about office space and logistics that are also bits that you should go over. You need to hire the right people and refer to advisors before making decisions that you need help with. A big part here plays the digital world, it is important to create a website and a good copy that attracts more clients.

  5. New Skillset – To start up your new practice and make it a success you will need to adapt and learn to the new set of skills as well. You need a Unique Selling Point (USP) to be able to sell yourself and make a brand. Whether that is through a website or networking with various professionals and markets that could help boost business. You will need to balance the clinical and business aspects of your practice. Setting clear policies is something that will make your work life easier. Such as charge per session, cancellation policy, ethical code of conduct.

  6. Legal – There are also legal arrangements that you need to decide on based on the state of your practice. Such as Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or a Professional Limited Liability Corporation (PLLC). You also need The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance to start your practice. You need to consider legal protection for professional, business, and personal income protection.

What are the types of psychologists?

  1. Clinical Psychologists – Assess and diagnose emotional disorders that are severe, short-term, or chronic. They use diagnostic tests and interviews to help patients, they also help them implement a plan to develop.

Some clinical psychologists emphasize particular populations such as:

  • Health Psychologists – How psychological factors impact health and illness, they also study development programs that promote better health strategies. They address issues such as smoking, diet, and sedentary behaviors. 
  • Neuropsychologist – They study brain injuries, developmental disorders. The tests patients that have or are suspected to have brain disorders. The top 10% of neuropsychologists earn around $143,476 per year with six and ten years of working experience.

Clinical psychologists often work in collaboration with other health professionals to direct treatment. In some states such as Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico clinical psychologists are also allowed to prescribe medication.

  1. Counseling Psychologists – Help patients detect and understand mental and emotional problems. Through counseling, they help patients work through problems and devise solutions. There are family counselors, marriage counselors, and mental health counselors. You can expect around $56,338 and $67,966 and if you are a licensed counselor, you might even earn an estimate of $100,000.

  2. Developmental Psychologists – Focus on growth and lifespan from children to the elderly. They study how different individuals develop at different rates and disorders about the coordinated mind and body growth. You can earn up to $69,000 to $91,000. But salaries majorly depend on location. 

  3. Forensic Psychologist – Usually work with the law but can also operate for private law firms. They work with legal and criminal justice systems, testify as court experts and understand the psychological aspects of cases. The top percent of earn around $117,470 per year according to the firms.

  4. Industrial – Organizational psychologists- apply psychology to the workplace, you can work privately for corporates and study workplace issues such as productivity, employee morale. The salaries range around $125,980.

  5. School Psychologists – You can work for private and autonomous organizations, as a school psychologist. They apply psychological methods to education disorders such as autism. They also help in making performance and educational plans.

  6. Social Psychologists – Study humans and how we function under social interaction. You can work in private educational bodies as a lecturer. If you work under private researchers with aid, you could earn around $101,000.


The pay varies across what kind of psychologist you are and what area of the country you choose to practice in. Naturally, experience and networking are also major factors that influence your pay. The more experienced and the better your brand, the more clients you attract and therefore more pay. Generally, it would be preferred if you started your private practice with 6-8 years of experience. 

Your salary can also depend on the kind of psychologist you are. For clinical psychologists, the pay varies majorly on experience, such as with minimal experience, you can earn an average of $54,000 while if you have 10 to 14 years of experience you can earn nearly $150,000 a year. While counseling psychologists earn up to $72,540 per year. You can earn significantly more if you are bilingual as you then appeal to a larger set of clients. Several internships and keeping up with the new trends in psychotherapy can also give you an upper hand.

Here is an approximate average of top states that provide the best pay to private practicing psychologists.

  • California average psychologist salary: $108,350
  • Oregon average psychologist salary: $103,870
  • New Jersey average psychologist salary: $98,470
  • Hawaii average psychologist salary: $94,550
  • New York average psychologist salary: $94,140
  • Alaska average psychologist salary: $91,450
  • Connecticut average psychologist salary: $90,870
  • Georgia average psychologist salary: $89,190
  • North Dakota average psychologist salary: $87,090
  • Louisiana average psychologist salary: $86,630

But starting as a clinical psychologist in a private setting, you can expect around $58,523 while working in private labs or private practice. In comparison to which psychiatrists are offered $39,661 while starting. The salaries can also range from $26,048 to $684,567 and a median salary is around $125,368. 57% of Private Psychologists make around $125,370 while the top 86% make $684,567. As per the Bureau of Labour, jobs are projected at, a growth rate of 14% from 2020-26. These salaries are an estimate with experience and planning you, could achieve all the numbers you target.

Starting a private practice can be, exhausting but it gives you a chance to contribute to society on your terms may even fulfill the purpose you decided to pursue in psychology. 


Having your practice means you can retire as you please. But you need to think about when to start to save enough for retirement. Work with an account keeper to create your benefits. If you contract with an insurance company you can charge better rates as well because you can reimburse major expenses. If you pay everything at your own expense there is little you save and therefore making retirement difficult. 

Private Practicing Psychologist Salary- Factors to know

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