Frequently Asked Questions

I. Information about psychology's workforce

  1. What data does CWS collect and report on APA members?
    CWS reports demographic, education, employment, and membership characteristics (APA division affiliation) by APA membership status: Associate, Member, or Fellow. Current major fields are also reported by membership status. Estimates of how many psychologists are APA members are also provided.

  2. How do I find information regarding salaries in psychology?
    CWS surveys randomly selected APA members to gather data on salaries of psychologists across numerous positions and work settings in academic and non-academic careers. Median full-time salaries and starting salaries for doctoral-level psychologists and starting salaries for master’s degree recipients by employment positions are reported biennially. Faculty salaries in graduate departments of psychology are reported annually. Besides actual salary information, you may also want to consider the impact of cost of living.

  3. How do I find employment data for psychologists?
    General employment data are reported by degree level: baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral. These data are gathered from numerous sources so viewers are cautioned to incorporate all caveats and notes from tables and graphs into their analyses. CWS research includes PhD, PsyD, and EdD degree recipients unless noted otherwise. 

    Employment data for psychology degree recipients of all levels are also reported by the National Science Foundation.

  4. Do you have any information on medical school psychologists?
    The 2003 Medical/Academic Medical Center Psychologists Employment Survey was a collaborative effort between The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Research Office and the Association of Medical School Psychologists’ (AMSP) Executive Committee.

  5. How many clinically trained psychologists are there in the United States?
    CWS estimates that there are 93,000 clinically trained psychologists in the United States. Licensed psychologists totaled approximately 85,000 in 2004. Graduations average 4,000-5,000 per year and approximately 2,700 of those are in health service provider fields, resulting in an additional 8,100 clinically trained.

  6. How many psychologists are there worldwide?
    Please contact the APA International Affairs Office.

  7. Will my degrees from outside the United States meet requirements for licensure or work in the US?  
    Please contact the APA International Affairs Office for questions related to the portability of non-US degrees.

  8. How many psychologists are there per country?
    Unfortunately no single source collects data across all nations.  However, estimates are provided by the European Federation of Psychologists' Associations (EFPA)  and from members of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS).

  9. Where can I find salary data for neuropsychologists?
    The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) collects data on the professional practices, beliefs, and incomes of U.S. neuropsychologists.

II. Information about education and the psychology educational pipeline

  1. How long does it take to complete a doctoral degree in psychology?
    CWS collects data pertaining to time to degree through the biennial Doctoral Employment Survey.  Also, the National Science Foundation reports time to degree for PhDs in psychology. Some measurements take into account the time from initial enrollment in graduate study to degree completion; others measure time from receipt of baccalaureate degree to completion of the graduate degree.

  2. How many undergraduates in the United States enroll in a psychology course each year?
    It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million undergraduate students complete an introductory or general psychology course each year. Cush, D. T., & Buskist, W. (1997). Future of introductory psychology textbook: A survey. Teaching of Psychology, 24, 119–122.

  3. What percentage of undergraduate psychology majors continue on to earn graduate degrees in psychology?
    CWS estimates that 20-24% of psychology baccalaureate recipients continue into graduate study in psychology (approximately 8-10% doctoral). This estimate accounts for field switching and is based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
    Source: Snyder, T.D., and Dillow, S.A. (2010). Digest of Education Statistics 2009 (NCES 2010-013). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
    (Revised on 2-2-2011)

  4. What percentage of psychology doctorates has baccalaureate degrees in psychology?
    The most recent statistics, from 1995-1999, indicate that 70% of students who receive doctorates in psychology obtained baccalaureate degrees in the same field. These data come from the National Science Foundation’s U.S. Doctorates in the 20th Century.

  5. What is the typical amount of debt for a doctorate recipient?
    The biennial Doctorate Employment Survey addresses indebtedness for recently graduated doctorate recipients.  In general, 69% of 2005 doctorate recipients reported some debt upon graduation. Levels of debt varied by subfield and type of doctorate degree.

  6. How many ethnic minorities are enrolled in graduate psychology programs?
    Please view data from the Graduate Study in Psychology series.

  7. What information is available on gender and ethnic diversity within graduate psychology programs?
    The National Science Foundation’s Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering series offers detailed statistical tables and reports for download. Tables and figures are updated regularly. A comprehensive report is released every two years.

  8. What do I need to know about debt, salary, and career trends in psychology?
    CWS presents information relevant to psychology’s workforce and educational pipeline at annual conferences of regional psychological associations as well as the APA Annual Convention. Participants at these sessions are provided a detailed overview of how debt and salary impact career opportunities.

  9. Where can I find information about psychology internships?
    Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers

III. Other FAQ

  1. What are the policies for obtaining mailing labels and how do I order labels?
    The American Psychological Association accepts orders for mailing lists under certain conditions. Requests involving use of mailing lists for research purposes will not be considered. See Ordering Mailing Labels section for further information.
  2. I have a legal question.
    CWS staff is not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal advice. Those seeking legal advice are advised to consult with a private attorney in your state.
  3. How widespread are newer technologies (i.e. email, text messaging, and videoconferencing) in the provision of psychological services?
    CWS estimates that email communication about actual therapeutic issues is limited to approximately 10% of psychological health service providers in the United States.  Other technologies are utilized by less than 1% of health service providers, but approximately 30% do report using the telephone to conduct therapy. Please visit the CWS website for further information.

IV. Commonly requested APA resources

CWS collects, analyzes, and disseminates information relevant to psychology's workforce and education pipeline. For your convenience, links to other commonly requested APA resources are provided below:

  1. What are APA’s positions on particular issues?
    See our Press Room.

  2. Where can I find information on becoming a psychologist?
    See our Careers in Psychology page.

  3. How do I find a psychologist in my area?
    Use the Psychologist Locator or call 1-800-964-2000.

  4. Where can I find information on a particular mental health issue?
    See our Psychology Topics page.

  5. How do I find a journal, book, or publication?
    Please see our Publications page.

  6. What is APA style and how do I obtain guidance on its use?
    Please see our Publications page.

  7. Does APA have a position on the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during interrogations?
    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding APA’s Policies and Positions on the Use of Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment during Interrogations

  8. How do I access APA archival materials?
    APA History and Archives

  9. I need resources and information on building my professional practice.
    See our Practitioner Resources page.

  10. I have a question about becoming licensed. 
    Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards or contact the state psychology licensing board(s) directly.

  11. I need help with doing library research.
    Library Research in Psychology

  12. How do I contact my state/provincial psychological association?
    State and Provincial Psychological Associations or Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

  13. Where do I find information about APA Divisions?
    APA Divisions

  14. I have questions regarding continuing education in psychology.
    See our Continuing Education landing page.

  15. What is APA accreditation?
    Accreditation in Psychology FAQ.

V. For Further Information

The resources listed below provide additional information pertaining to psychology’s workforce and educational pipeline. CWS relies on these sources to complement and enhance workforce analyses and survey research.

  1. National Science Foundation (NSF): 
    Data gathered from individuals and institutions and high response rates ensure high quality of data for baccalaureate, masters, and PhD recipients. Generally, NSF is not a good source of data for PsyDs but research EdD recipients are included in some analyses.

  2. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): 
    NCES data are gathered from institutions and are useful for understanding general degree fields in psychology.

  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): 
    BLS data are self-reported by employers and useful for understanding overall employment/labor force trends. However, data do not accurately reflect the complexities of Psychology as a field and do no classify respondents by degree level. (APA considers the doctoral degree the minimum requirement necessary for professional practice).

  4. Council of Graduate Schools:
    Data are gathered from institutions and four regional graduate school associations and are useful for understanding trends in graduate education. However, information is not broken down specifically for psychology.

  5. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 
    SAMHSA counts psychologists working in organized health care settings.

  6. National Institutes of Health (NIH): 
    NIH tracks psychologists involved in research including types of federal grants received by scientists.

  7. State Governments
    Most state governments count psychologists and psychological technicians or assistants working in state/county/municipal/public school facilities. For a complete understanding of the qualifications needed to practice in a particular state as a psychologist or as a psychological technician or assistant in public facilities, please visit the state psychology board websites directly.

  8. Institute of International Education (IIE)
    The IIE has conducted an annual census of international students in the United States since 1919. With support from Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, Open Doors Report 2007 contains detailed statistical tables and analyses of international students in the United States.