How to Become a Licensed Clinical Psychologist: Career Roadmap

November 22, 2021 – 09:01 am
Related to Early Childhood

Clinical psychologists can work in out-patient and in-patient mental healthcare facilities, private practices and academic settings. Common job duties for these professionals include diagnosing patients' mental or behavioral health disorders and developing treatment plans. Clinical psychologists who work for a college or university often take on additional teaching and research responsibilities.

As of 2012, about one-third of all psychologists were self-employed. Those individuals often see clients during evening or weekend hours to meet their scheduling needs. Those who work in medical facilities may often be scheduled during those same types of hours. Some individuals may find working with clients who exhibit mental and behavioral disorders to be stressful.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. is required
Degree Field Clinical or counseling psychology
Licensure State licensure is required to practice independently as a clinical psychologist
Experience Varies by employer, can range from 1-2 years
Key Skills Communication, observation, and analytical skills; work well with others; maintain patient confidentiality; knowledge of statistical, testing, and medical software
Salary $68, 900 per year (Median salary as of May 2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings by employers (July 2012), Occupational Information Network.

Step One: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

An undergraduate degree in psychology typically fulfills most of the admission requirements for a doctoral program in clinical psychology. However, many graduate programs also admit students with a bachelor's degree in a related field, provided they've completed prerequisite coursework. To meet these requirements, consider taking classes in research methods, abnormal psychology and behavioral statistics while enrolled in a bachelor's degree program.

Success Tip

  • Look for opportunities to gain research experience. Undergraduates who work as research assistants have the opportunity to learn about scientific methods, explore their research interests and develop relationships with professors who can write letters of recommendation for their graduate school applications. Some schools also offer independent study options and honors programs to students who would like additional research experience.
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