Education and Careers
Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat people with intellectual disabilities to help improve clients’ mental health and sense of well-being. It’s a highly practical and solution-oriented specialty for people who want to help others help themselves.
What They Do
Psychologists help people from all backgrounds and treat human problems common to many of us. They help people overcome depression, anger and anxiety. They also treat chronic conditions that interfere with their clients’ lives or physical health.
Clinical psychologists teach people to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, improve their relationships with their husband, wife or parents, and break through barriers that keep people from reaching their potential. They also give psychological tests to evaluate cognitive strengths and weaknesses, personality characteristics, and more.
Skills You Need
If helping people improve their mental health, well-being and quality of life is important to you, clinical psychology may be the right career choice. Learn which personal and professional traits you’ll need to succeed in this career.
You should have…
- Strong verbal and communication skills
- Good writing skills
- Goal-setting skills
- High ethical standards
- Clear boundaries
- Ability to focus
How to Become a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists must be licensed to practice in their state. Generally, you’ll need to have a doctorate in psychology and one to two years of experience under the guidance of a mentor to qualify for licensure.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
To specialize in clinical psychology, you’ll need the knowledge and skills of other psychologists. You’ll first need an undergraduate degree with a psychology major.
Get an Advanced Degree in Psychology
To get into a graduate program in clinical psychology, most schools look for a good score on the GRE (above 1200), a GPA of 3.5 or higher, and experience in the field.
Complete an Internship
All clinical psychology programs require you to do an internship. Internships in clinical and counseling psychology must generally be approved by the American Psychological Association.
Pass the Psychology Exam
You will need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. If you have questions, contact the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
Apply for Licensure in Your State
In order to practice psychology you must be licensed by your state. Most states require approximately two years of supervised clinical hours after you earn your PhD, PsyD, or EdD.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for clinical psychologists is $68,900. Actual salaries vary greatly based on location, specialization, years of experience and other factors.
Compare psychology salaries below:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Employment of psychologists is expected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for psychologists in schools, hospitals, mental health centers and social services agencies should drive this job growth.
Here are some other fields you might like if clinical psychology isn’t exactly what you’re looking for:
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