PhD/PsyD What type of salary should I expect for my first year after Doctoral Internship? (Open to Various Settings)

Sep 9, 2020
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Hello!

As a soon-to-be Counseling Psychology PsyD graduate, I've been interested in college counseling for the longest time. But, with increasing loan debt and my partner having lost her job due to COVID-19, I'm not so sure it financially makes the most sense to stay in college counseling after internship. Though my internship is in a college counseling center, I'm curious what I might be able to expect as a salary (as an unlicensed, early career professional) from job settings such as:

College counseling
Hospital (outpatient, inpatient, or both)
Partial Hospital
Community
Private Practice/Group Practice (working under supervision from a licensed LP)
Other settings (VA, civilian military psychologist).

Responses to any of these settings would be much appreciated!

Sincerely,
MidwestPsychGuy
 
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WisNeuro

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VERY widely variable. If you'd like to check, the VA GS level salaries are publicly available. You can see exactly what you'd be getting in salary for a specific location.
 
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Sanman

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As others have said, it varies widely and this is especially true in PP given that it really depends on the number of clients coming in the door. I had a colleague that made $30k on post-doc $45k licensed as a 1st year psychologist while I made $50k unlicensed and $85k my first year licensed at another job at the same time. If you look at ballpark numbers for a licensed psychologist, I would say of full-time clinicians that most start at or above $70k and most never make more than $200k. VA will usually pay at the higher end of the W-2 job scale.
 

summerbabe

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For VAs, you would start as a GS11 - Step 1, which has a base pay of $55,204 but most places tack on an extra 15% or more for a locality bump so you're looking at mid 60s to start potentially.

Navigating the VA HR and onboarding process will likely be a major headache especially if you've never dealt with VA/gov bureaucracy (I was getting calls about interviews 6+ months after I initially applied and never heard back from many others). But you'll get supervision hours built into your position and a nice 1st year salary.

Select VAs may offer EDRP which is a loan forgiveness program for hard to fill positions and that will be highlighted in the USAJobs listing. If you're lucky to get an EDRP position, don't blindly bank on having your loans wiped out as it's dependent on what your facility can specifically offer you and whether you can make those upfront payments during your first year of eligibility to then get reimbursed.

Civilian military salaries are likely comparable to or better than VA salaries but I don't know about supervision. Folks I know who went this route were either in formal DoD internship/postdoc programs (which pay the best training salaries) or were already licensed.
 

ClinicalABA

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I made 33k during my postdoc in a private practice assessment setting.
I started at more than that (and finished at almost twice that) in my unofficial post-doc position in private special ed school/adult residential setting. That was almost 20 YEARS AGO!! Adjusted for inflation, I started at around 51k in 2020 dollars. That's about where we are with our postdocs now.

It will vary by area (geographically and clinically), and will be higher if you can do some billable stuff (in our case, bill tech codes for assessment, bill as a BCBA or non- credentialed ABA therapist, or bill as consultant under supervision to one of our affiliated school programs).
 
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Jul 13, 2020
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I started at more than that (and finished at almost twice that) in my unofficial post-doc position in private special ed school/adult residential setting. That was almost 20 YEARS AGO!! Adjusted for inflation, I started at around 51k in 2020 dollars. That's about where we are with our postdocs now.

It will vary by area (geographically and clinically), and will be higher if you can do some billable stuff (in our case, bill tech codes for assessment, bill as a BCBA or non- credentialed ABA therapist, or bill as consultant under supervision to one of our affiliated school programs).
I really wanted to get back to my home state following my internship. My first year licensed I made over 90k.
 

DynamicDidactic

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Research postdocs tends to be whatever NIH pays. I think in the 40s nowadays.
 

mypointlesspov

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I'm a postdoc and I'm making the NIH amount, so like $52,700. When I was applying to postdocs last fall I saw anywhere from $6000 (not a joke - a community center in a very high CoL area) to $85,000 (private practice). Most were in the $30,000-55,000 range. I vaguely recall seeing somewhere list $100,000 but when I read the fine print it basically meant you had to have a huge caseload and show rate.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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It's been a little while since I've looked, but I've seen listings for unpaid fellowships. Some at pretty prestigious AMCs. It's shameful.

To the OP, with you being unlicensed, it'll probably be even more variable than usual. Personally, I'd go into it expecting a relatively "typical" postdoc salary, so maybe around 40k-50k/year. If you head into the VA, you'd likely be a GS 11 step 1, which starts at 64k/year. I would imagine that'd be at the upper-end of the salary range. If you don't want a VA job, you could always still interview, and if you receive an offer, use that as negotiating leverage for another position.
 

Ollie123

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I really hope the majority of these salaries are in LCOL areas?
Not necessarily, but keep in mind these are post-doc/unlicensed salaries.

I know very few licensed people making < 80k and most of those are folks who probably <should> be making little based on my impression of their background and abilities.
 
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The median salary for psychologists in my region is 65k. Meanwhile, if I chose to work in a school, I'd pull 75k with a 180 day contract. That being said, I'd work at a whole food before I work in a school.
 
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foreverbull

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I really hope the majority of these salaries are in LCOL areas?
Nope. Someone in a very competitive UCC postdoc in LA area made $36k. I know someone else in a huge metro area who made $30k on postdoc at a community non-profit. So one could argue that many grads are being exploited because of the extra year of “training.” (I put it in quotes because training is widely variable between postdocs—some actually provide training beyond what you’ve received in internship, and some don’t and just need labor).
 
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