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Clinical psychologist: Salary and conditions

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  • Trainee clinical psychologists start at Band 6 (£25,783) of the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) Pay Rates . After qualification, salaries within the National Health Service (NHS) start at Band 7. A typical starting salary would be in the region of £30,764.
  • More experienced psychologists (Band 8a) can earn up to £47,088. Band 8b-d roles apply to senior experienced psychologists, possibly managing departments or large specialist sections with responsibility for the psychology service and its staff. Salaries in these posts range from £45,707 to more than £81,000 for top-level posts.
  • The NHS pays a London high cost area supplement at 20% of basic salary for inner London, 15% for outer London and 5% for fringe areas.
  • Salaries in private hospitals and private practice vary.
  • Working hours are generally 9am to 5pm, with the possibility of extra hours in the evening or at weekends. Occasionally, an on-call system covering emergency situations may be in operation.
  • Self-employment or freelance work is sometimes possible. Opportunities for private or clinical practice, and for industrial or commercial consultancy, are growing.
  • Around 85% of new entrants to the profession are female, with a slightly smaller  proportion within the profession as a whole (British Psychological Society (BPS), 2011). This reflects the gender ratio of students taking first degrees in psychology.
  • Jobs are available in most large towns and cities, with fewer opportunities in rural areas.
  • The work can be stressful as it involves contact with many different types of people who are often distressed in some way. Supervision by colleagues is important. Occasionally, situations of potential personal risk may be encountered.
  • Local travel within a working day is common. Absence from home overnight may occasionally be required. Overseas work or travel is uncommon.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by David Bond, Birmingham City University
October 2013

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