The Salary of a Private Practice Psychologist

The Salary of a Private Practice Psychologist

Solving people’s problems can pay you. Yes, that’s true. Psychologists get paid for listening and solving your problems. They have been doing this for ages from Sigmund Freud to Erik Erikson. Today’s topic- The Salary of a Private Practice Psychologist.

Of course, we are here for the numbers so let’s talk about them. On average a private practice psychologist makes $150,000 per year. This is the starting salary for private practice. A psychologist earns much higher in private practice. The salaries can vary according to the type of psychologist you choose to become.

Let’s explore the various types of psychologists and their average pay scale. 

1)Industrial and Organisational Psychologist

An Industrial and Organizational psychologist is paid the highest which is $102,530 per year. Even a master’s degree holder gets a starting salary of $40,000. This job requires you to understand the work environment at a company and know how to manage a workplace. This work deals with understanding the employees in the office. You need to keenly observe the behavior of the employees and take actions that will bring out their fullest potentials. 

You would need to apply various psychological principles and research extensively to increase employee performance, facilitate communication and create a safe work environment. You may also need to take up actions that will improve their performance like awarding the best employee of the year, trips and vacations for performing a task, etc. This job demands managerial and coaching skills and thus you require a master’s or doctoral degree in this field.

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2) Neuropsychologists

Neuropsychologists also come in the higher pay bracket with an average salary of $ 90,460 per year. They know the ins and outs of our brain and specialize in understanding human behavior about the brain. They often give biological evidence to human behavior and deal with cognitive disorders caused due to malfunctions of the brain, rather than everyday problems. You don’t need a medical degree to become a neuropsychologist but you do need a doctorate, either a Ph.D. or PsyD in Clinical Psychology.

3) Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists get an average salary of $81,330 per year. They are the most in-demand psychologists today. They are mental health professionals and deal with psychological disorders such as eating disorders, emotional disorders, conduct disorders, and mood disorders like depression. They do not use any medications to treat their clients, instead employ psychological techniques out of which the most commonly used is cognitive-behavioral Therapy-CBT. Talking about qualifications you will need a doctorate, either a Ph.D. or PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Some states do accept a master’s degree for the same as Louisiana.

Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

4) Counselling psychologists

Counseling psychologists get paid  $72,540 per year. This particular field can be the most lucrative for an individual in private practice. These psychologists deal with individual’s everyday problems that they can face while interacting with family, friends, or in a social sphere. They work towards reducing their client’s psychological distress which in simple words is also called stress. They employ psychoanalytic theory developed by Sigmund Freud to solve everyday problems. These problems can range from Antisocial Disorder to solving relational problems like emotional deprivation, sexual problems, etc.

 They aspire to promote better decision-making, building healthy relationships, reaching the fullest potential according to Maslow, and taking care of one’s mental health by changing self-harming behavior. The basic qualification to become a  private practice counseling psychologist is a master’s degree in counseling psychology. A doctorate is only required if your master’s degree doesn’t provide you with a license after the completion of the course. You may opt for the same privately or enroll for a doctorate as well. In total, you will need to study psychology for 5 to 6 years to become a psychologist in general.

5) Cognitive Psychologist

A Cognitive Psychologist on average makes $51,728 per year out of which the top earners in this field make up to $99,500 per year. If you are just starting you can expect your salary to be $ 31,000 per year. These types of psychologists do not deal with clients’ problems or their mental disorders. Their work starts in a research center and ends there. They usually conduct research on various topics, debunk earlier stated theories by giving a strong hypothesis and evidence for the same and form new theories. They conduct experiments and conclude their observations. They deal with understanding how an individual thinks, perceives, understands, and comprehends the world. 

Their main job is to understand how and on what basis people make decisions. The term cognitive psychology was first popularized by Jean Piaget who explained to us the 5 developmental stages a person goes through, and thus the term is as old as time. For becoming a private practice cognitive psychologist you would require a doctorate or master’s degree in applied psychology.

The perks of private practice

  • The very first advantage of private practice is you’re self-employed and don’t need to work under someone. This releases a lot of stress for some people.
  • You get a sense of freedom which is one of your basic needs according to Maslow. You are in control of your work and who doesn’t love to control one’s own life.
  • Your schedule is quite flexible. You need not work 8 hours every day. You can adjust the time to reclaim your mental peace and go back to it again when you feel like it.
  • You get the opportunity to choose your clients. You can choose clients according to your interest or according to the pay. This advantage drives out all other disadvantages.
  • You make your own decisions. Marketing, financing, promoting, and fixing a work schedule are all done by you without consulting any higher authority or a team.
  • You make more money in private practice. Yes, it is true. Private practice in the US makes more than a public psychologist. A survey conducted by the National Survey of College Graduates report in the American Psychology Association stated how an employed clinical psychologist on average made $ 74,000 in the year 2015, while a private practice made $ 139, 500 the same year.
  • You also get the benefit of paying fewer taxes because you have your own business. You can make various deductions from your overall tax receipt by transferring them from your account to your business account. 

The tax exemptions you receive are as follows

  1. Self-employment tax deduction- which can deduct half of your self-employment tax and you will have to pay tax on only  92.35% of your business income.
  1. Home office tax deduction- on your clinic, workspace.
  1. Health insurance premiums – for you and your family can save you a lot of taxes.
  1. Claim interest on business loans- A loan taken for a business will also exempt your taxes according to the IRS publications 535.
  1. Retirement plans- If you invest in any retirement plans specially designed for self-employed individuals like a 401k ROl it can exempt you from taxes.

Who can practice as a psychologist?

There are some rules and regulations you need to follow to become a psychologist. In this work, you are dealing with a human being who is an emotional being. They too possess feelings so it is a prerequisite to know what you are doing before you practice on an individual. For these purposes, the APA- American Psychological Association strictly prohibits individuals without a registered license from practicing this field. 

License is a prerequisite to practice.

This license is provided by the American Psychological Association after you complete your doctoral degree in psychology. Some colleges provide you with a license after you complete your doctorate. Sometimes you need to externally apply for a license where you need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Some master’s colleges also provide you with a license after completion of the course.

Today in total there are 106,000 licensed psychologists in the US alone.

How to obtain a license

  • First, you need to complete your doctoral degree or doctorate+masters combined degree in psychology.
  • Second, you need to accrue supervised hours. According to APA, you will approximately need 1,500 to 6000 supervised hours. This number can vary according to the state you live in. 
  • Third, you need to apply for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and get a good score which is above 500. Over 90% of people pass in their first attempt.
  • Fourth is to pass a jurisprudence exam which is a test of your state’s laws and rules. This can vary across states as some states require you to give the exam while some don’t. States like Alabama, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio require the exam. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can everyone become a psychologist?

A psychologist required skills such as critical thinking, patience, good composure, listening and comprehending skills, Qualitative and Quantitative skills, and an open-minded thinking approach. Only people with these skills can become successful psychologists.

  1. Can a psychologist practice without a license?

A psychologist needs to have a license and a doctorate to practice both at the private and public levels.

  1. How many clients should a psychologist see in one day?

8 to 10 clients a day. But seeing more than 6 clients a day is often considered an easy pathway to physical and mental burnout. So it depends on the psychologist’s capacity.

  1. How much does a psychologist cost per client?

On average in the US a psychologist charges $70 to $150 while a Psychotherapist charges $100 to $200. It depends on the psychologist’s experience and the subject’s diagnosis.

The Salary of a Private Practice Psychologist

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