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Clinical psychologists help people suffering from stress, relationship and family problems and mental health disorders. They also provide psychological testing, perform research, engage in teaching and supervision, develop and evaluate programs, provide consultation and work in a variety of additional ways to promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups and organizations, according to the Society of Clinical Psychologists. Knowing the requirements and qualifications to become a clinical psychologist can help you decide if this is the right career choice for you.
The first step toward becoming a clinical psychologist is to obtain a bachelor's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's not always necessary to have a bachelor's degree in psychology for entry into graduate programs. However, because doctoral psychology programs in psychology are often extremely competitive, you should, at the very least, ensure your undergraduate coursework includes introductory psychology, experimental psychology and statistics. Some doctoral programs may require that you have a master's degree in psychology, while others may accept a bachelor's degree with a major in psychology.
To practice as a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctorate in psychology - either a Doctor of Philosophy, or Ph.D, or a Doctor of Psychology, or Psy.D. The difference between the two degrees can be confusing, but it essentially comes down to your career goals. Generally speaking, Ph.D programs prepare students to enter academia and conduct research and require a dissertation, while Psy.D programs prepare students for direct practice and focus more on the development of clinical skills, according to Psych Central. You can, however, practice clinical psychology with either degree. The most important thing is to choose a program that offers the courses and focus that appeals to you and is accredited by the American Psychological Association.See also:
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