Psychologists' pay depends on their specialisation, experience and employer.
Psychologists in district health boards
Interns working for a district health board (DHB) usually earn between $51,000 and $56,000 a year.
Qualified psychologists working for a DHB usually earn between $65,000 and $91,000.
Senior psychologists working for DHBs, who may also supervise staff, can earn $94,000 to $116,000.
Psychologists in private practice
Psychologists working in private practice earn from $60 to $160 an hour.
Source : Apex, 'Psychologists Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) 1 June 2016 - 28 February 2019'; and New Zealand Psychological Society, 2016.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Psychologists who work with individual clients may do some or all of the following :
assess clients' problems and strengths through interviews and observation
run psychometric and neuropsychological tests (which measure people's mental abilities and style, and how their brains function)
develop treatments and interventions (other actions designed to bring about change) with individuals to help them develop themselves
help clients understand themselves, their needs, motivations and resources
evaluate interventions and write reports on clients, including risk, educational and mental health assessments.
Psychologists who work with groups and for organisations may do some or all of the following :
assist with or run group therapy, workshops and courses on social skills, anger management or assertiveness
take part in dispute resolution, and provide counselling and advice to people or organisations
provide expert opinion to courts
undergo their own therapy and supervise colleagues.
Skills and knowledge
Psychologists need to have knowledge of :
human behaviour and thought patterns
psychological assessment and intervention
social and cultural issues affecting their clients, families and communities
research methods and statistics
counselling and dispute resolution
theories and research in their specialised field of psychology
relevant laws, court procedures and professional ethics.
usually work regular business hours, but may have to work evenings and weekends
work in a range of places, including offices, hospitals and health care services, schools and universities, prisons, residential and community organisations, and homes
may work in emotionally draining and stressful circumstances
may travel locally to visit clients, or nationally to attend workshops or conferences.
To become a psychologist you need :
a Masters or higher degree in psychology
1,500 hours of closely supervised practice, approved and evaluated by the New Zealand Psychologists Board
to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, maths and science.
Psychologists need to be :
good at observing and relating to a wide variety of people
respectful of people from different cultures
able to analyse and evaluate human behaviour
concerned for the well-being of others
patient and adaptable
able to keep information private
self-aware and non-judgemental but able to influence others
able to work well under pressure, make decisions and cope with stress
able to balance professional ethics with commercial realities.
Useful experience for psychologists includes work with :
community groups and recovering mental health clients living in the community
support agencies such as Samaritans or Youthline.
Other useful background includes employment in :
social work or probation
teaching or research in related fields
talent management or recruitment companies.
Psychologists need to be registered with New Zealand Psychologists Board.
They also need a current Annual Practising Certificate, unless they are only teaching psychology, or doing research.