Snapshot of Practicing Clinical Psychologists: Extract from the 2007 Salaries in Psychology Survey
Jessica Kohout, Christine Li and Marlene Wicherski
APA Center for Workforce Studies
The APA Center for Workforce Studies (CWS) conducted the 2007 Salary Survey using a sample of APA members with email addresses. Over 12,500 responses total were received and of these almost 3,000 were identified as doctoral-level clinical, child clinical or clinical neuropsychologists who were delivering health services.
Usually the employment data gathered as part of the biennial salary survey are used in the report solely to provide context for the salaries. Data also are reported by region, state and by some cities. (See Preliminary tables)
This survey extract presents data on the employment status, setting, demographics and salaries of those respondents who identified themselves as practicing clinical psychologists (See Table 5). The data in the summary are compared to the profile of practitioners created from the larger member directory as a check for validity.
The gender and race/ethnicity distributions among survey respondents were similar to those found in the profile of practitioners created from the larger member directory. Patterns in employment settings were also very similar between the two populations. Respondents were slightly younger and had somewhat fewer years of experience (more recent doctorates) than did the members. The representation of PsyDs was only a little higher among respondents than in the member profile (24% vs. 18%). Respondents were slightly less likely to be licensed than were those included in the overall directory profile (86% vs. 90%).
Employment Status and Licensure
Almost two thirds of respondents were working full time, while just over a third worked part time.
Approximately three fourths of those working full time were working in one position compared to 61% of those working part time. Twenty four percent of those working full time were employed in more than one position compared to 37% of those working part time.
Eighty-six percent of respondents were licensed for the independent practice of psychology.
Sixty percent of the respondents in this extract were working in independent practice settings. Seventy two percent of part timers were in this setting compared to 53% of full timers. The largest single proportions of both full and part timers in independent practice were located in individual practice settings. Interestingly, 4% of respondents chose a primary care group practice.
Overall, a little over one fourth of respondents stated that they worked in organized health care settings (30% of full timers vs. 18% of part timers). General hospitals, VA medical centers, and community mental health centers/clinics claimed just over half of the full-time employed practitioners in organized health care settings. Private general hospitals and community mental health centers/clinics were listed by almost a third of the part-time psychologists in organized settings.
Relatively few practitioners were working in "other" settings - primarily business, government and military (5%). Of those that were in these settings, almost 44% of full-time employed practitioners were in the criminal justice system while another third was located in government positions. Part timers were most likely to be found in nonprofit settings.
With respect to academe, overall, almost 4% of respondents worked in university settings (most often in student counseling centers) with just under 5% in other educational institutions and school settings. Full-time employed psychologists in other educational settings were most apt to be in a medical school (52%) or in an elementary or secondary school (32%). Part timers were clustered in elementary or secondary schools (40%).
Almost 58% of the responding practitioners were women. The mean age was 50.4 and the median was 51. Fewer than 1 in 5 was under 40 years of age. Ninety three percent of respondents were white. Asians and Blacks represented less than two percent of respondents, each. Just under three percent of respondents were Hispanic, followed by multi-ethnic at 0.6% and American Indian at 0.3%. The geographic distribution of respondents puts the largest proportion in the Pacific region, followed by Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic and East North Central regions with percentages all above 10%. The remaining regions had fewer respondents, less than 10% each.
Employment and Demographics
Although the majority of men and women reported working full time, women were substantially more likely to report working part time than were men (44% vs. 23%).
Women were more apt to be working in a single employment position than were men (72% vs. 67%).
The top 5 employment settings for women, in descending order, were individual private practices, group psychological practices, private general hospitals, student counseling centers, and public general hospitals, accounting for 67% of women practitioners. At 69%, the top five settings for men were individual private practices, group psychological practices, primary care group practices, VA medical centers and CMHCs.
There were no substantive differences by race/ethnicity in proportions working full time, although minorities were slightly more apt to be employed full time (69% vs. 65%).
Respondents who were members of a minority group were slightly less apt to be working in a single position than were whites, and were more apt to be working two or more positions.
The top 5 employment settings for minority respondents were individual and group psychological practices, student counseling centers, VA medical centers and primary care group practices (51%). For whites, the top employment settings were individual and group practices, primary care group practices, private general hospitals, and VA medical centers (69%).
Although most respondents worked full time in one position, a sizeable proportion worked part time or held more than one position. The majority of respondents worked in independent practice settings, specifically in individual practices. Smaller proportions of respondents were found among the other settings.
Independent practice settings were more common among those working part time and women were more apt to work part time and in one position. Women represented over half of respondents while minorities were only 7%.
Continued attention is warranted to the enduring presence of independent practice as a work setting among clinicians, as well as to variations in numbers of positions and employment status, and the implications of these patterns for the wellbeing of the clinical workforce. It will also continue to be important to be able to consider variations in employment for different sets of practitioners, (e.g., women, minorities, older) and whether these variations result in differential opportunities and outcomes.