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Career Profile: Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 118,800 people employed as clinical and counseling psychologists in the United States. The median annual salary is $79,800. Entry level employees earn approximately $46,410 per year and senior employees earn approximately $138,550 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Consult with other professionals, agencies, or universities to discuss therapies, treatments, counseling resources or techniques, and to share occupational information.
  • Refer clients to other specialists, institutions, or support services as necessary.
  • Maintain current knowledge of relevant research.
  • Consult reference material, such as textbooks, manuals, or journals, to identify symptoms, make diagnoses, or develop approaches to treatment.
  • Observe individuals at play, in group interactions, or in other contexts to detect indications of mental deficiency, abnormal behavior, or maladjustment.
  • Provide consulting services, including educational programs, outreach programs, or prevention talks to schools, social service agencies, businesses, or the general public.
  • Provide occupational, educational, or other information to individuals so that they can make educational or vocational plans.
  • Plan and develop accredited psychological service programs in psychiatric centers or hospitals, in collaboration with psychiatrists and other professional staff.
  • Direct, coordinate, and evaluate activities of staff and interns engaged in patient assessment and treatment.
  • Develop, direct, and participate in training programs for staff and students.
  • Provide psychological or administrative services and advice to private firms or community agencies regarding mental health programs or individual cases.
  • Conduct research to develop or improve diagnostic or therapeutic counseling techniques.
  • Plan, supervise, and conduct psychological research and write papers describing research results.
  • Develop and implement individual treatment plans, specifying type, frequency, intensity, and duration of therapy.
  • Collect information about individuals or clients, using interviews, case histories, observational techniques, and other assessment methods.
  • Counsel individuals, groups, or families to help them understand problems, deal with crisis situations, define goals, and develop realistic action plans.
  • Document patient information including session notes, progress notes, recommendations, and treatment plans.
  • Interact with clients to assist them in gaining insight, defining goals, and planning action to achieve effective personal, social, educational, or vocational development and adjustment.
  • Develop therapeutic and treatment plans based on clients' interests, abilities, or needs.
  • Identify psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues and diagnose disorders, using information obtained from interviews, tests, records, or reference materials.
  • Use a variety of treatment methods, such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, behavior modification, stress reduction therapy, psychodrama, or play therapy.
  • Write reports on clients and maintain required paperwork.
  • Consult with or provide consultation to other doctors, therapists, or clinicians regarding patient care.
  • Obtain and study medical, psychological, social, and family histories by interviewing individuals, couples, or families and by reviewing records.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or treatments and the accuracy and completeness of diagnoses, modifying plans or diagnoses as necessary.
  • Select, administer, score, and interpret psychological tests to obtain information on individuals' intelligence, achievements, interests, or personalities.
  • Advise clients on how they could be helped by counseling.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
118,800
Annual Openings:
9,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
10%
Annual Salary Range:
$46,410 - $138,550
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher