Registered psychologists

In 2015, an estimated 24,522 psychologists with full registration were working in Australia. The NHWDS workforce survey response rate for provisionally registered psychologists was too low to be included in workforce analysis breakdowns and are excluded from the analysis presented below. From an alternate data source, there were an additional 4,192 provisionally registered psychologists in Australia in 2015 (Psychology Board of Australia 2015).

State and territory

At a national level, there were 88.0 FTE registered psychologists per 100,000 population working in Australia in 2015. Rates ranged from 64.3 FTE psychologists per 100,000 population in South Australia to 150.2 in the Australian Capital Territory (Figure WK.10). In terms of time spent as a clinician, this corresponds to 63.9 clinical FTE psychologists per 100,000 population employed in Australia, ranging from 47.7 in South Australia to 101.2 in the Australian Capital Territory.

Figure WK.10: Psychologists, FTE and clinical FTE per 100,000 population, states and territories, 2015

Clustered bar chart showing the number of FTE and clinical FTE psychologists per 100,000 population by state or territory in 2015. ACT had the greatest number of FTE and clinical FTE psychologists with 150.2 FTE and 101.2 clinical FTE per 100,000, followed by Vic (94.2 and 67.5), NSW (91.8 and 67.1), WA (86.1 and 65.1), Qld (80.7 and 57.6), NT (74.7 and 51.2), Tas (75.0 and 56.8) and SA (64.3 and 47.7). Refer to table WK.19.

Source: NHWDS: psychologists 2015

Source data: Mental health workforce Table WK.19 (1.54MB XLS)

Remoteness area

Over 8 in 10 FTE registered psychologists (82.6%) were employed in Major cities in 2015. There were 102.6 FTE psychologists per 100,000 population working in Major cities, 60.0 in Inner regional, 43.1 in Outer regional, 34.7 in Remote and 23.2 in Very remote areas (Figure WK.11).

Figure WK.11: Psychologists, FTE and clinical FTE per 100,000 population by remoteness area, 2015

Clustered bar chart showing the number of FTE and clinical FTE psychologists per 100,000 population by remoteness area in 2015. Major cities had the highest number of FTE and clinical FTE psychologists at 102.6 FTE and 73.5 clinical FTE per 100,000 population, followed by Inner regional areas (60.0 and 46.5), Outer regional (43.1 and 32.9), Remote (34.7 and 25.3) and Very remote areas (23.2 and 17.8). Refer to Table WK.20

Source: NHWDS: psychologists 2015

Source data: Mental health workforce Table WK.20 (1.54MB XLS)

Hours worked per week

Registered psychologists reported working an average of 32.4 total hours per week in 2015, and an average of 23.5 clinical hours. Average total hours ranged from 31.6 hours per week for psychologists working in Victoria to 37.1 in the Northern Territory (Figure WK.12). The average clinical hours ranged from 22.6 hours for Victorian psychologists, to 25.4 hours for Northern Territory psychologists. Male psychologists worked on average more total and clinical hours than female psychologists (males 36.2 total and 25.2 clinical hours; females 31.4 total and 23.1 clinical hours).

Figure WK.12: Employed psychologists, average total and clinical hours worked per week, states and territories, 2015

Clustered bar chart showing the average total and clinical hours worked by psychologists by state or territory in 2015. NT psychologists reported working on average the highest number of total and clinical hours at 37.1 total and 25.4 clinical hours, followed by Qld (34.0 and 24.2), ACT (33.8 and 22.8), SA (32.8 and 24.3), WA (32.5 and 24.6), Tas (32.1 and 24.3), NSW (32.1 and 23.5) and Vic (31.6 and 22.6). Refer to table WK.19.)

Source: NHWDS: psychologists 2015

Source data: Mental health workforce Table WK.19 (1.54MB XLS)

Overtime

Nationally, there has been an increase in the supply of registered psychologists from 2011 to 2015, increasing from 84.2 to 88.0 FTE per 100,000 population. The proportion of female registered psychologists has also increased incrementally over this time period; from 76.0% in 2011 to 78.2% in 2015.

The average total hours worked per week by registered psychologists has remained comparatively stable at around 32 hours per week from 2011 to 2015. Since 2011, the average total hours worked per week by males has remained fairly stable and higher than that of females (around 36 hours compared to around 32 hours per week).

Characteristics

Half of all registered psychologists were aged 45 and over (50.1%) in 2015, with more than one-quarter (27.9%) aged 55 and over (Figure WK.13). Almost 4 out of 5 of employed psychologists (78.2%) were female.

Figure WK.13: Employed psychologists, by sex and age group, 2015

Stacked vertical bar chart showing the proportion of employed psychologists by sex and age group in 2015. The majority of employed psychologists were aged between 35–44 (28.3%25), followed by 45–54 years (22.1%25), less than 35 years (21.7%25), 55–64 years(19.2%25) and 65 and older (8.8%25). The proportion of female psychologists by age group was highest for those aged between 35–44 followed by those aged less than 35 years. Refer to Table WK.17.

Source: NHWDS: psychologists 2015

Source data: Mental health workforce Table WK.17 (1.54MB XLS)

Work characteristics

The majority (87.2%) of FTE registered psychologists reported their principal area of work to be a clinician, followed by administrator (4.4%) and researcher (3.2%). The main area of practice (principal area of main job) nominated by about 2 in 5 (40.7%) FTE psychologists was counselling, followed by mental health intervention (25.8%) and neuropsychological/cognitive assessment (4.5%). The most common work setting was private practice (38.0%), followed by an educational facility (18.3%) and community mental health service (8.9%).

The principal area nominated by a psychologist does not imply that they hold specialist endorsement in that area. To be eligible to apply for an area of practice endorsement and use the associated title, a psychologist must have advanced training (an accredited qualification in the area of practice followed by a period of supervised practice) over the requirements for general registration (Psychology Board of Australia 2017). In 2015, over one-third (36.3%) of registered psychologists held an area of practice endorsement (AHPRA, 2015). The most commonly held specialist endorsement was as a Clinical Psychologist, held by about 1 in 4 (26.7%) of all registered psychologists (endorsed and non-endorsed), followed by Counselling Psychologist (3.5%) (AHPRA, 2015).

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