|Recommended Degree Level||Doctoral or Professional|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||103,590|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.8%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||8,230|
- In order to practice as an independent clinical psychologist, you must have completed a PhD in clinical psychology, and you must hold a license for the state or states in which you would like to work.
- Those who hold a master's degree in clinical psychology may be able to complete basic counseling and diagnostic duties but cannot work for themselves and must work under a licensed clinical psychologist.
- All students complete clinical externships and internships in order to hone their skills with clients.
What you study:
As a student of clinical psychology, you will most likely study all of the following topics:p
- Psychological Testing and Measurement
- Physiology for Psychologists
- Diagnostic Methods and Practices
- Abnormal Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Research Design
- The History of Psychology
A short review of the clinical psychologist career. Produced for the US Department of Labor.
A Day in the Life
As a clinical psychologist, you will diagnose and treat patients on a daily basis. You'll begin every morning reviewing the files of your day's patients in your office at a hospital, mental health facility, public health clinic or school. On some mornings, you may attend staff meetings to learn about particular concerns at your facility. It's likely that you'll see between eight and 10 different patients every day. You may also have brief appointments with patients that you treat on a continual basis.
In your appointments with patients, you will conduct analysis and testing in order to diagnose mental illnesses. A diagnostic manual and the training you received in school will help you make accurate diagnoses. After you have reached a diagnosis, you will explain the illness to your patient. You may also explain mental illnesses to the families and caretakers of your patients. With your diagnosis in hand, you will formulate a treatment plan for your patient. It will be your responsibility to oversee your patient's treatment. Completing assessments to determine if your patients have made progress will also keep you busy on a daily basis.
If you choose to become a school psychologist, you'll spend every day working with students, teachers and parents in order to diagnose and treat mental illnesses that affect kids and teens. You will develop treatment plans for individual students and oversee these treatments. A few days a week, you will visit classrooms for special needs children in order to conduct group therapy sessions. At the end of each day, you'll update student records and network with community mental health providers to ensure that the children under your care are receiving adequate support while away from school.
Certifications and Licensing
Clinical psychologists are generally licensed at the state level. They are required to undergo exams that assess their knowledge of clinical psychology methods and practices. They are also required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the ethical principles that guide professionals in this field. In many states, the licensing process includes a thorough background check. The number of externship and internship hours required for licensing in this field varies from state to state.
Full-time versus part-time:
Due to the demands of caring for patients, the majority of clinical psychologists work full time. Some clinical psychologists working for social services and mental health departments may work part time depending on state and federal funding for their programs.
Most clinical psychologists work on-site at hospitals, clinics and mental health facilities. However, those individuals who specialize in school psychology generally maintain a central office and travel off-site to provide mental health services. Professionals who work in rural areas may also work off-site to provide traveling mental health clinics.
These websites are among those we consider best for researching a potential career in clinical, school or counseling psychology:
- U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Handbook: This site provides a wide range of information about employment in this sector, including data about typical workplaces, salary ranges and employment outlook. This handbook is designed to provide hard statistical data, so it's important to look at sites that offer a more personalized view of the day-to-day life of a clinical psychologist.
- The Society of Clinical Psychology: A branch of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Society of Clinical Psychology publishes a wide range of information about innovations in the field of clinical psychology. The Society also provides comprehensive information about what clinical psychology is, who can practice it and how to get the training to become a clinical psychologist. This site is a great resource for those individuals who are just beginning to explore a career in clinical psychology as well as professionals who want up-to-date information about the field.
- Social Psychology Network: This site provides a wealth of information for prospective graduate students in various branches of psychology. The Network provides a ranking of clinical psychology programs with links to more than 100 different schools. The site also provides links about conferences that might be of interest to clinical psychology students and practicing professionals in this area.