Clinical psychology is a subfield focused on the study and treatment of mental illness and related behavioral health issues. While many clinical psychologists assess and treat individuals with mental illness, others perform research, teach, or develop programs.
Step 1: Bachelor's Degree
To become a licensed clinical psychologist, you will first need a bachelor's degree, which teaches the fundamentals of psychology. A bachelor's of science degree in psychology will give you an understanding of human learning, emotions, and behaviors with a specialization designed around American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines. Whether you're pursuing a new career or continuing your studies at the graduate level, this is the place to start.
Step 2: Master's Degree
The next step toward becoming a clinical psychologist is to earn your master's of science degree in clinical psychology. A master's in clinical psychology will build your proficiency in assessing and treating dysfunctional behavior. It will help you understand and apply the scientific foundations of psychology, cultural competence, and ethical and best practice principles to services and programs according to national standards. You'll also learn how to effectively communicate about psychological treatment, and conduct clinical interviews and interventions.
Step 3: Doctoral Degree
While some states allow you to practice as a clinical psychologist with a master's degree, a doctorate is typically required to be a licensed clinical psychologist. All states accept the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) as the minimal academic degree required for entry into this profession.
The PsyD is a professional degree and focuses more on practice and clinical work. The PhD places more emphasis on experimental methods and research. A PsyD is intended to prepare you for a career as a practicing psychologist. A PhD is designed to produce psychologists who can understand and apply research as well as conduct it.
Capella University offers both a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and Master of Science in Psychology degree program with a clinical psychology specialization.
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