Competitiveness of Nevada Mental Health Salaries

Are Nevada’s mental health professional salaries competitive with other states in the region? 

Salaries are least competitive for psychiatrists and psychologists and most competitive for nurses and social workers.

    The competitiveness of salaries for Nevada’s psychiatrists has varied over the years. In 2008, Nevada had the highest average pay in the nation at $215,000 (in constant 2013 dollars). Salaries eroded over the next few years. By 2013, Nevada ranked fifth in the region and below the national average with an average salary of $178,000. To be competitive with Arizona, which had the highest average salary in 2013, annual wages would need to rise to $230,000, which is an increase of $52,000 over current levels.

    Pay for psychologists is also low in Nevada compared to other states in the region. Nevada wages consistently ranked fourth in the region from 2007 to 2013 and real wages have declined since the economic downturn began in 2008. In 2013, the average salary for psychologists in Nevada was $66,000, which falls just slightly below the national average. To be competitive with California, which had the highest wage for psychologists in 2013 at $80,000, the average salary in Nevada would need to increase by $14,000 over current levels.

    The average annual salary for Nevada’s nurses has consistently ranked second behind California from 2007 to 2013. The average salary for nurses was not as negatively affected by the economic downturn as other fields. Real wages increased annually from 2007 to 2011 and then declined slightly in 2012 and 2013. In 2013, the average salary for nurses in Nevada was $79,000, which is above the national average.

    In the field of social work, average salaries in Nevada have been very competitive in the region. While there has been a striking decline in real wages for Nevada’s social workers following the economic downturn, salaries have consistently ranked first or second from 2007 to 2013. In 2013, the average salary for social workers was $50,000 in both California and Nevada.

    The average annual salary for mental health counselors has also declined following the economic downturn throughout the region. From 2007 to 2012, Nevada had the highest average annual salary for counselors in the region. In 2013, as salaries began to increase in some states, Nevada’s average salary slipped to third at $46,000.