Mental Health Psychology Salary Outlook for Master's & PhD Graduates

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Masters In Mental Health Psychology Salary

As someone with a masters degree in mental health psychology, you will work closely together with families, individuals and entire groups. Your role will be to assess mental and emotional disorders if any and come up with treatment plans to give them better overall well-being. Furthermore, you will be closely involved in promoting preventative care in terms of mental health. Your training will focus strongly on certain common disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, addiction, suicidal tendencies, trauma, stress, grief and low self-esteem. Furthermore, you can work with people in the workplace or in school environments and address any mental health issues that affect performance there. Usually, you will work as part of a mental health team, with other counselors, assistants and more. You will be able to work in a variety of settings, including healthcare facilities, private practices, businesses, community centers, schools, homes and more.

Salary Feature

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can expect an average annual wage of $40,080. Many people with a masters in mental health psychology choose to work as marriage and family therapists, where the median salary is slightly higher at $46,670. It is important to make the distinction between a mental health psychologist and a mental health counselor, particularly since the latter earns significantly less, while still having earned their master’s degree.

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About Mental Health Psychology

In order to become a mental health psychologist, you will have to meet a number of requirements. However, exact requirements differ from state to state, and these differences can be quite significant. A few common steps include:

  •         Earning a bachelor’s degree in fields such as psychology, education or human services. An undergraduate degree would always be the first step towards becoming a mental health psychologist, even if you were to take part in an accelerated program.
  •         Earning a graduate degree at an accredited institution, where you will obtain a master’s in mental health psychology. Generally, this is a master of science degree in psychology, with a mental health specialization. However, this varies from one state to the next.
  •         Becoming licensed in your state. Licensure requirements are different for each state, but are also determined by your work setting and occupational specialty.
  •         Looking into further certification. You could, for instance, become certified as a counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors. If you do this, you can work across the country as a nationally certified counselor. This is often a voluntary certification, but some states will exempt you from having to pass their state certification exam if you have already passed the national one. Furthermore, you could choose certifications specific to the field of work you are interested in, such as clinical mental health, schools or addiction counseling.

What Jobs Does This Lead To?

Once you hold a masters in mental health psychology, you will have the opportunity to study different types of mental illnesses and do experiments to review what factors are of influence on it. Based on that, you will be able to promote different counseling options to people who suffer from those illnesses and you will be able to give them a new perspective on their disorder. You can work in a variety of different settings in order to do this, but you will generally have reasonably similar duties:

  •         Evaluating what the limitations of your patients are, but also what their strengths are.
  •         Providing counseling in a professional yet personal matter.
  •         Offering advice, support and guidance on case management by working together with various other professionals such as doctors, counselors, teachers and social workers.
  •         Making arrangements for medical care where needed, guiding towards vocational training, helping with job placement and various other services that may seem to be outside the realms of psychology.

Salary Prospects

A mental health psychologist earns a median annual wage of $40,080 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that half of all these professionals earn more, and the other half earn less. The bottom 10% of mental health psychologists earn $25,430. These are often entry positions and they are often mental health counselors rather than psychologists. The top 10% earn $66,630 or above. Some of these will have a doctorate degree.

The industry in which you work is also of great influence on your median salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the following industries are the five best to work in as a mental health psychologist:

  •         Government, where the median salary is $48,060.
  •         Hospitals, at either state or local level and private hospitals, where the median salary is $43,190.
  •         Outpatient care centers, where the median salary is $40,250.
  •         Individual and family services, where the median salary is $40,200.
  •         Residential care and nursing facilities, where the median salary is $32,530.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in demand for mental health psychologists by 2022 is 29%. This is a much faster growth rate than the national average for other occupations. One of the reasons for this is that mental health counseling is covered under medical insurance policies, which means there will be a greater demand for these these types of professionals. It is also because the stigma on mental health is lifting.

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About the Author: Ann Steele

This website is co-authored by Ann Steele, a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with extensive experience with children and adolescents. Ann Steele attended American School Of Psychology & Argosy University Online. She especially enjoys using music therapy for mental and emotional well-being.

About This Site

We are an open forum for articles, manuscripts, unpublished thesis, and letters as well as a guide for job, career and program advice from like-minded Graduates. We are seeking submissions that will be of interest to the community.