The psychologist salary is on the rise. Indeed, the average salary of a psychologist is set to increase because of rise in demand for psychologists; employment is set to rocket by 20% from 2010 to 2020.
However, many do not understand the job scope of psychologists – as one of the broadest and most abstract scientific fields, many different types of professionals in different psychological specializations fall under the all-encompassing umbrella of Psychology.
Here, we’ll give an overview of what a psychologist is.
What is a Psychologist?
A psychologist is essentially a scientist, specializing in observing human behavior, mental states and the correlation between these 2 elements. There are 7 main schools of thought to approach this young scientific field, listed below:
- Neurobiological Approach
- Behavioral Approach
- Cognitive Approach
- Evolutionary Approach
- Humanistic Approach
- Socio-economical Approach
- Psychodynamic Approach
A psychologist’s aim is to discover underlying causes of human behavior through either one or more approaches.
All psychologists are either practitioners, researchers, or both. As practitioners, psychologists usually work in mental health fields, private industries, schools and even volunteer organizations.
As researchers, psychologists usually work in universities or clinical settings, collecting field data and conducting controlled experiments for research.
Types of Psychologists
There are many, many different types of psychologists – the APA lists over 80 different types of psychologists! Below are the 3 most common psychologyspecializations:
Clinical Psychologists – Clinical psychologists focus on abnormal psychology, and are usually involved in the mental health field. They work in clinical settings; they are either self-employed as owners of private clinics, or under employment of health institutions such as mental health facilities and hospitals.
Most psychologists are also researchers. In the process of treating clients, they also collect field research data to further their own research project.
Counseling Psychologists – Counseling psychologists’ job scope is similar to a clinical psychologist. However, they focus on less adverse mental abnormalities; a counseling psychologist may be more involved in treating a person’s gambling addiction rather than schizophrenia, for example.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists (I-O Psychologists) – I-O psychologists are hired by private companies, and their main role is to apply their psychological knowledge in ensuring the best possible productivity from the employees in that company. They are usually employed in the HR department, or are employed as stand-alone consultants.
I-O psychologists have one of the best psychologist salaries, because they are employed by private industries.
Psychologist vs Psychiatrist
Many often confuse psychologists with psychiatrists. Although their job scopes are highly similar, and they often work hand-in-hand with each other on a single client, they differ on these major grounds:
Psychologists differ in treatment methods – A psychologist is a scientist that usually focuses on non-medication therapies to treat their patients, such as emotive-rational therapy and psychotherapy. A psychiatrist, however, advocates the use of medications.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors first – Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in psychiatrist. As such, they are allowed to prescribe medication. A psychologist is severely restricted in medication prescription.
Psychologists call patients “clients” – A psychologist calls their subjects “clients”, while psychiatrists refer to them as “patients”. This is because of the differing approach they take in treating their clients or patients – psychologists promotes “guiding” the client back to “normal” mental states and behavior, while a psychiatrist thinks that a patient can only be treated with medication because there is something causing imbalances and abnormalities in their body.
Average salary of a psychologist
Psychologists are well paid. Data collected in 2010 indicates that the average salary of psychologists is at $68,460. Top earners earn well over $110,000.
Psychologists are usually hired in mental health facilities and hospitals. Here, psychologists usually work on shifts – meaning that they will be working beyond normal office hours, and on weekends.
There are also psychologists that set up private practices. These psychologists are usually well-established, and make more than their employed counterparts. They also work normal office hours, and generally have more flexibility with regards to time.
What are the highest paying psychologist jobs?
Naturally, self-employed psychologists (i.e. psychologists that have set up private practices) usually make the most, because their income is dependent on the demand for their services, not on their employers. These psychologists make up a large proportion of the top earners amongst psychologists.
Industrial-organizational psychologists make up the second highest earning psychologists. The average psychologist salary of I-O psychologists are at $87,330, well above the average salary of psychologists.
Clinical and counseling psychologists, interestingly, have an average psychologist salary of $66,810, slightly below the average salary of psychologists in general.
The psychologist salary is set to rise in the coming months. However, most psychologists enter the field knowing that they are making much less than other similarly-qualified professionals (i.e. ph.D holders). As such, most psychologists enter the field fuelled by interest.