How much can you earn as a Clinical Psychologist in Malaysia?

Category

Date

Author

Date

Summary

  • People who are thinking of a career in clinical psychology often ask us ‘how much can I earn?’.
  • To help answer that question we conducted a survey using LinkedIn to contact 194 clinical psychologists who are based in Malaysia. 75 (39%) clinical psychologists responded to our survey and 71 (37%) gave details of their pay.
  • We found that most clinical psychologists who responded to our survey work in private practice and earn between RM2,000 and RM6,000.
  • The best paid clinical psychologists (who responded to our survey) earned between RM8,000 and 16,000. They either worked full-time in private practice, or they worked full-time at a university and supplemented their pay by working part-time in private practice.
  • These findings, and the more detailed results given below, show what our respondents typically earn. They are not the maximum that a clinical psychologists can earn. It’s possible that the best paid psychologists did not respond to our survey. It’s also possible that you could earn much more if you were particulary entrepreneurial as a clinical psychologist in private practice.

Who did we ask & how many people responded?

  • Directly asking people about how much they earn is a sensitive subject, so we are very grateful to the 75 clinical psychologists who completed our online survey after we contacted them.   
  • 3 respondents selected ‘I would prefer not to say’ in response to our pay question and 1 had qualified as a clinical psychologist but was yet to start working. We have excluded them from the results on pay which means we have data on pay from 71 Clinical Psychologists.
  • Our survey was also completed by 23 trainee clinical psychologists who responded to questions about their universities. We excluded their responses for the analysis of pay because trainee clinical psychologists are not usually paid for their work. Their answers were helpful for our ‘Advice for aspiring clinical psychologists’ page. We will also be using their answers to inform future pages on our website about university courses.

Who were our respondents?

How many years experience did our respondents have?

  • The majority of our respondents (41 ,55%) have worked as a clinical psychologist for one or two years.
  • 14 (19%) had worked for 3 or 4 years.  
  • 7 (9%) had worked for 5 or 6 years.
  • 3 (4%) had worked for 7 or 8 years.
  • 5 (7%) had worked for 9 or 10 years.
  • 5 (7%) had worked for 11 years or more.

This data is based on the 75 Clinical Psychologists who responded.

Click on the chart to enlarge it.

Where do Clinical Psychologists work?

  • The majority of the Clinical Psychologists who replied to our survey work in multiple roles across different organisations. They could be working full-time at a university or NGO whilst also doing part-time work in private practice. It was also common for clinical psychologists to work in more than one private practice.
  • Only 12 (16%) of our respondents do no work in private practice.
  • Clinical Psychologists stated that they worked full time in:
    • Private Practice: 34 (45%)
    • Government medical facility: 7 (9%)
    • University (public or private): 8 (11%)
    • NGO or Charity: 3 (4%)
    • Other e.g corporate: 4 (5%)

How much do the Clinical Psychologists in our survey get paid?

Most clinical psychologists (69%) earned between RM2,000 and RM6,000.

  • 2 (3%) psychologists earned between 1 and RM1,999.
  • 24 (34%) earned between RM2,000 and RM3,999
  • 25 (35%) earned between RM4,000 and RM5,999
  • 9 (13%) earned between RM6,000 and RM7,999
  • 5 (7%) earned between RM8,000 and RM9,999
  • 1 (1%) earned between RM10,000 and RM11,999
  • 3 (4%) earned between RM12,000 and RM13,999
  • 2 (3%) earned between RM14,000 and RM15,999

This data is based on the 71 clinical psychologists who responded to our question on pay.

Pie chart showing the income of clinical psychologists who responded to our survey.
Click on the chart to enlarge it.

How does clinical psychologist pay change as they gain experience?

Earnings with 1 – 2 years experience

The majority of newly qualified clinical psychologists are paid less than RM4,000 per month.

There were a few more highly paid outliers, although this was partly accounted for by clinical psychologists who had moved to work overseas.

Income with 1 or 2 years experience
Click on the chart to enlarge it.

Earnings with 3 – 4 years experience?

Pay does appear to increase as clinical psychologists gain experience. However, a large minority continue to be paid under RM4,000 per month.

The majority of clincal psychogists with 3 or 4 years experience are paid between RM4,000 and RM8,000.

Click on the chart to enlarge it.

Earnings with more than 5yrs Experience?

Clinical Psychologists pay does appear to increase over time.

More than a third of clinical psychologists with more than 5 years experience earn between RM8,000 and RM16,000.

However, the majority of clinical psychologists with more than 5 years experience earn less than the RM8,000.

We had 20 respondents within this experience range so it is not possible to know whether these earnings are representitive of the pay of experienced clinical psychologists in Malaysia.

Income of clinical psychologists with more than 5 years of experience
Click on the chart to enlarge it.

Where do the highest paid Clinical Psychologists work?

The fact that most clinical psychologists work in multiple roles makes it difficult to determine which sector pays the most.

The best paid clinical psychologists earned between RM8,000 and 16,000. They either worked full-time in private practice, or they worked full-time at a university and supplemented their pay by working part-time in private practice.

Suggestions from Clinical Psychologists

Our survey included a section where we asked ‘Is there any other advice you would like to give aspiring clinical psychologists?’. You can view these suggestions on our website here.

Survey Limitations

All surveys have flaws and limitations here are a few of these:

  • We asked Clinical Psychologists to forward the survey on to their friends and contacts but by using LinkedIn we will have missed those Clinical Psychologists who are not on LinkedIn or rarely use the platform.
  • The Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychologists lists 342 clinical psychologists. We suspect that more experienced and more highly paid psychologists were less likely to respond to our survey. The lack of responses from those clinical psychologists could mean that the survey underestimates pay levels and in reality many psychologists get paid more.
  • We deliberately asked only a few questions to shorten the survey and increase the likelihood that clinical psychologists would complete it. However, this meant we couldn’t ask detailed questions of the clinical psychologists.

What do you think?

Do you have any thoughts or opinions about our findings? Do you think we could improve our methodology or interpretation? Please let us know in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Dan. Thank you for the report. Really appreciated the datae you showed, but I believe that the survey neglects a crucial part of the experience-to-pay ratio for most clinical psychologists in Malaysia, especially with regards to those who work in universities to supplement their income. Something that all clinical psychologists should also strongly consider in terms of improving their pay over time is not just how many years they have as a practitioner, but also whether or not they devote some time to gaining experience in academia as well. For a clinical psychologist who has more than 5 years of experience purely as a practitioner, they might see their income go up with the amount of clients that they see/the increase in their charge rates, but if the same individual also spent the 5 years building up experience in academia, they are then also eligible to teach in a university setting while still holding down their professional practice, which drastically increases their overall pay (at least it does in the University where I’m serving in).

    • Hi Victor, thanks for your feedback on how clinical psychologists can further increase their pay by working in a university setting. We did find that the highest paid clinical psychologists often worked in university settings and supplemented their income with private work. So your explanation certainly fits the pattern of our data. Although we didn’t receive as many responses from experienced clinical psychologist as we would have liked so the survey results may underestimate the pay that is possible. It’s great that you took the time to explain that connection because I think your explanation will be really helpful to aspiring clinical psychologists.

Any questions or comments? Please write them here ...