Psychologists are scientists that study human behavior. They're involved in various areas including social service in clinics, schools, government agencies and private industry. Some psychologists are involved in teaching or research. Psychology is a large field and includes numerous specializations. Approximately 40 percent of psychologists work in private practice.

They utilize their knowledge to help emotionally or mentally disturbed patients make adjustments to life. Those involved in research develop theories to provide an explanation for the various types of reactions people have to their environment. Some psychologists help surgical and medical patients cope with injury or illness.

Some of the areas of specialization are clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, school psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology and experimental or research psychology.

The largest area of specialization is clinical psychology. Clinical psychologists help families and individuals and provide group psychotherapy for people dealing with emotional problems. Some of the specializations in clinical psychology are neuropsychology, health psychology and geropsychology. Neuropsychologists examine the relationship between the brain and behavior. Health psychologists examine how psychological, biological and social factors affect health and illness. Geropsychologists deal with the problems of the elderly.

School psychologists work to resolve students' behavior or learning problems in schools or district offices.

Counseling psychologists offer advice to patients regarding how to deal with problems of everyday living.

Developmental psychologists analyze cognitive, physiological and social development that occurs throughout life.

Industrial organizational psychologists improve productivity and the quality of work life by using psychological principles and research methods.

Experimental or research psychologists analyze behavior processes by using human beings and animals.

Social psychologists study peoples' interactions with others and also with their social environment.


  • Help people that have emotional or mental problems
  • Interview patients
  • Provide individual group or family therapy
  • Give diagnostic tests
  • Help people deal with a personal crisis
  • Create and implement behavior modification programs
  • Work with physicians and other specialists in order to develop and implement intervention and treatment programs for patients

Job Characteristics

The work setting of psychologists vary by the place of employment and the subfield. Those in private practice set their own hours. They typically provide evening and weekend sessions in order to accommodate the schedules of their patients. Most psychologists that are employed by the government or in industry have structured work schedules.

Psychologists should be mature, sensitive and compassionate. They also need good communication skills. Being able to inspire and lead others are important assets for the occupation.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 15 percent employment growth from 2006 to 2016 for psychologists which is faster than average for all occupations. Job growth varies by specialty.

Salaries vary depending on the specialty and the type of employer. In 2006 the median annual earnings of psychologists working in mental health practitioners offices was $69,510. The salary for those working for local governments was $58,770. The salary for psychologists working at elementary and secondary schools was $61,290. Those working in individual and family services earned $50,780. Industrial and organizational psychologists earned $86,420.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most psychologists are required to have a master's or doctoral degree and a license. Psychologists that want to have an independent practice are typically required to have a doctoral degree. Those with a doctoral degree also work in clinical positions, perform research, teach or are involved with administrative duties. In addition, the American Board of Professional Psychology provides specialty certifications in numerous areas.

It usually takes five to seven years of graduate study to earn a doctoral degree. The doctoral program includes a dissertation based on original research. A Psy.D degree can be based on practical work and examinations instead of a dissertation. The doctoral degree requirements for clinical, school psychology and counseling include at least a one year internship.

Psychologists that hold a master's degree have opportunities for employment as an industrial organizational psychologist. They also have opportunities for positions as a psychological assistant and work under the supervision of a psychologist that holds a doctoral degree. They may perform psychological evaluations or conduct research.

It typically takes at least two years of full time graduate study to earn a master's degree in psychology. A master's degree typically requires a master's thesis which needs to be based on an original research project and practical experience in an applied environment.

All states require psychologists that are working in independent practice, or providing any type of patient care to meet certification or licensing requirements. Licensing laws vary by the type of position and by state. Certified or licensed psychologists are required to limit their practice to fields they have developed professional competence in via training and experience.


Major Employers

Many psychologists are self-employed. The top job providers are educational institutions, healthcare facilities and the government.

Schools for Psychologists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Psychologists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage N/A $91,720
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 70 $93,900
Mesa 70 $93,900
Phoenix 70 $93,900
Tucson 30 $94,590
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 60 $89,030
North Little Rock 60 $89,030
Little Rock 60 $89,030
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 350 $113,450
Los Angeles 350 $113,450
Anaheim 350 $113,450
Arcade 290 $95,290
Arden 290 $95,290
Sacramento 290 $95,290
Roseville 290 $95,290
San Diego 270 $105,480
Carlsbad 270 $105,480
Hayward 260 $111,990
Oakland 260 $111,990
San Francisco 260 $111,990
Sunnyvale 100 $102,120
Santa Clara 100 $102,120
San Jose 100 $102,120
Ontario 70 $101,640
Riverside 70 $101,640
San Bernardino 70 $101,640
Fresno 50 N/A
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 80 $101,510
Aurora 80 $101,510
Denver 80 $101,510
Colorado Springs 70 $97,380
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 50 $95,660
West Hartford 50 $95,660
Hartford 50 $95,660
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Clearwater 430 $89,030
St. Petersburg 430 $89,030
Tampa 430 $89,030
West Palm Beach 420 $77,000
Miami 420 $77,000
Fort Lauderdale 420 $77,000
Sanford 140 $91,820
Orlando 140 $91,820
Kissimmee 140 $91,820
Bradenton 70 $99,220
Sarasota 70 $99,220
North Port 70 $99,220
Ferry Pass 60 $79,560
Brent 60 $79,560
Pensacola 60 $79,560
Jacksonville 60 $83,530
Gainesville 40 $94,580
Palm Bay 30 N/A
Titusville 30 N/A
Melbourne 30 N/A
Lakeland 30 $45,580
Winter Haven 30 $45,580
Tallahassee N/A $58,950
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 130 $95,930
Sandy Springs 130 $95,930
Atlanta 130 $95,930
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 50 $97,800
Carmel 50 $97,800
Indianapolis 50 $97,800
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 90 $92,760
New Orleans 90 $92,760
Alexandria 40 $97,440
Baton Rouge 30 $91,830
Bossier City 30 $94,590
Shreveport 30 $94,590
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 210 $99,910
Columbia 210 $99,910
Baltimore 210 $99,910
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 90 $93,750
Warren 90 $93,750
Detroit 90 $93,750
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pascagoula 30 $86,240
Biloxi 30 $86,240
Gulfport 30 $86,240
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 30 $91,830
Henderson 30 $91,830
Las Vegas 30 $91,830
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 70 $93,010
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dayton 110 $101,370
Elyria 80 $95,440
Cleveland 80 $95,440
Columbus 30 $97,080
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 50 $73,780
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 120 $87,920
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 130 $51,910
Carolina 130 $51,910
San Juan 130 $51,910
Arecibo N/A $82,630
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
San Antonio 150 $94,590
New Braunfels 150 $94,590
The Woodlands 90 $103,510
Sugar Land 90 $103,510
Houston 90 $103,510
Austin 30 $97,370
Round Rock 30 $97,370
Fort Worth N/A $97,050
Dallas N/A $97,050
Arlington N/A $97,050
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 310 $95,980
Tacoma 310 $95,980
Seattle 310 $95,980
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 70 $94,980
Waukesha 70 $94,980
Milwaukee 70 $94,980

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Psychologists

To find out more about building a career as Psychologists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries for :

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 5,050 51% $88,480
Medical Office 1,700 17% $84,210
Education 1,400 14% $77,110
Hospital 1,070 10% $80,900
Professional And Technical Services 330 3% $76,930
Social Service 200 2% $99,340
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Psychologists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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