What Do Child and Adolescent Psychologists Make on Average?

by Dana Severson

In 2010, the American Psychological Association released a report explaining how psychology salaries were on the decline. Everyone from researchers and professors in the field to psychologists and direct service providers experienced a fairly rapid decline in earnings from 2001 to 2009. When looking at more recent numbers, it appears the trend continues.

Salary Ranges

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists averaged $72,220 a year, as of 2012. This was a decrease of about 1 percent from the previous year, when salaries were $73,090. A 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association found slightly higher figures, setting salaries for child psychologists at $85,000 annually. Respondents identifying themselves as school psychologists reported median earnings of $90,000 a year. A more recent survey by the National Association of School Psychologists follows the trend of declining salaries. As of 2010, school psychologists earned a per diem rate of $356.60, on average. In the U.S., the average school year is 180 days, so earnings come in at $64,188 a year. The job site Indeed offers a similar figure, showing the average child clinical psychologist earning $64,000 in 2013.

Contract Variables

The NASP survey breaks down earnings even further by showing exactly how much a school psychologist can expect to earn based on the length of their contract. For example, school psychologists with 180-day contracts earned an average of $64,188 a year. Those with 190-day contracts averaged $67,754, while school psychologists with 200-day contracts brought home $71,320 annually. Those with 210-day contracts earned 5 percent more a year, at an average of $74,886. Those with 220-day contracts saw a bump of three-quarters of 1 percent, averaging $75,452.

Local Variances

As with almost any occupation, earnings can vary by location. According to the NASP survey, salaries were the highest in the mid-Atlantic, at an average of $77,178 for a 190-day contract. Those working in the Pacific states were a close second, averaging $74,818, while those in Northeast states ranked third, at an average of $70,154 a year. Some of the lowest reported salaries were in the South Atlantic, where the average was $60,236.

Career Outlook

Though salaries were on the decline, the BLS expects employment opportunities to be favorable, with an average job growth rate of 22 percent between 2010 and 2020. By comparison, this was faster than the national average of 14 percent for all U.S. occupations through 2020.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.

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