How to become a clinical psychologist

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How to become a clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat individuals experiencing mental illness. How much do people working in this profession earn each year? Salaries can vary considerably depending upon a number of different factors, but you can get an idea from salary reports.

Median Earnings

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for clinical psychologists in 2018 was $76,990.  

A PayScale.com salary survey found that the median annual salary for clinical psychologists was $79,117. However, those who are self-employed in private practice reported significantly higher annual earnings of around $110,000.  

What They Do

Clinical psychologists make up one of the largest specialty areas within psychology. Licensed clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, mental health clinics, and academic settings. These professionals are concerned with the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses.

A Closer Look at Salaries

In a 2015 survey by the American Psychological Association, the average salary for a licensed clinical psychologist was $80,000.   According to Payscale.com, typical salaries for clinical psychologists range between $50,000 and $112,000.   However, it’s important to note that several different factors can impact the salary you might expect, including your level of education, years of experience, work setting, and geographic location.

For a clinical psychologist with one to four years of experience, the average salary is $72,874. For those with 10 to 19 years of experience, the average wage is $90,337.  

Clinical psychologists can be very well paid for what they do depending on where they work and how much experience they have. Here’s how their salaries compare to those of other psychology professions according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook:

CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a clinical psychologist.

In this article:

  1. Step 1: Is being a clinical psychologist for me?
  2. Step 2: Bachelor’s Degree
  3. Step 3: Research Experience
  4. Step 4: Master’s Degree / Doctoral Degree
  5. Step 5: Field Experience / Fellowship
  6. Step 6: Licensure
  7. Step 7: Continuing Education
  8. Step 8: Certification

See more

Is becoming a clinical psychologist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

Still unsure if becoming a clinical psychologist is the right career path? Take the free CareerExplorer career test to find out if this career is in your top matches. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a clinical psychologist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology typically fulfills the admission requirements for graduate programs in clinical psychology.

However, many graduate programs also admit students with a bachelor’s in a related field, provided they have completed prerequisite coursework in research methods, abnormal psychology, and behavioral statistics. Because clinical psychology graduate programs are intensely competitive, students need to be vigilant about their GPA.

Research Experience

Undergraduates who find work as research assistants will gain firsthand exposure to scientific methods, have opportunities to explore their research interests, and develop relationships with professors who can write letters of recommendation to accompany their graduate school applications.

Some schools may offer independent study options and honors programs for students seeking supplementary research experience.

Master’s Degree / Doctoral Degree

Master’s degree programs in clinical psychology exist; however, completing a master’s does not qualify students for licensure.

Individuals who know that they want to work as a licensed clinical psychologist can find combined programs resulting in a doctoral degree. This educational path is quite common in the field and requires less time than completing distinct master’s and doctoral degrees.

The joint degree option may not be available to students who earned an undergraduate degree outside of psychology. To be accepted into graduate school, a high GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) score, letters of recommendation, and research experience are required.

Aspiring clinical psychologists whose objective it is to work in a clinical setting pursue a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Those who intend to focus on research and work in academia generally earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Field Experience / Fellowship

Many schools offer post-doctoral fellowship programs that allow students to provide clinical services to both individuals and groups under the supervision of faculty. The seminars and clinical rotations of these programs usually take a year to complete and are designed to expose students to real-world situations and prepare them for licensure.

During this period, students should gather information about their state’s licensing process. Some states have specific prerequisites concerning the number of hours of patient contact and work experience necessary for licensure.

Licensure

To practise in the field, clinical psychologists must be licensed. Most states licensing requirements include graduation from an accredited doctoral program, completion of a set number of hours of supervised experience, and passing of the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

Continuing Education

Many states mandate continuing education requirements that allow clinical psychologists to retain their license. The American Psychological Association (APA) maintains a list of approved courses.

Certification

Certification increases job marketability and assures patients that their psychologist possesses the specialized skills needed in a particular area of practice. While certification is optional, some employers may require it.

The leading provider of certifications is the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). To qualify for ABPP certifications, applicants must have a doctoral degree from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association, a license to practise, and the required number of years of experience that qualify them in a particular specialty.

Candidates must also pass applicable exams to be granted board certifications.

Last Updated: May 6, 2021 References Approved

This article was co-authored by George Sachs, PsyD. George Sachs is a Licensed Psychologist and the Owner of Sachs Center based in New York, New York. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Sachs specializes in treating ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teens, and adults. He holds a BS in Psychology from Emory University. Dr. Sachs earned his Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. He completed his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the Child Study Center. Dr. Sachs completed his internship and postdoctoral work at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he supervised and trained therapists in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). He has been trained as a Gestalt Therapist and certified by the Gestalt Associates Training Program of Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs is the author of The Adult ADD Solution, Helping the Traumatized Child, and Helping Your Husband with Adult ADD. He has appeared on the Huffington Post, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and WPIX discussing his holistic approach to ADD/ADHD treatment.

There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Individual clinical psychologists can approach this either by researching methods and their efficacy or putting methods into clinical practice by treating and counseling patients. In either case, the road to becoming a clinical psychologist is a long and hard one, and only the most dedicated students succeed. Graduate programs in clinical psychology are competitive and accept only the best of the best. You must make it through one of these programs and get through another two years of training before you can become a licensed clinical psychologist.

Are you interested in the rewarding career of a clinical psychologist? Before you dive in to any career, you shouldn’t make a decision until you learn what it’s all about and what it takes to achieve the goal. In clinical psychology, several major career paths exist including treating patients, conducting research and teaching psychology. Clinical psychology involves the observation, analysis and treatment of patients with various mental disorders, either in practice or research. Regardless of a psychologist’s specific path, the proper education and licensing is required. Let’s explore the field so you can determine if clinical psychology could be the occupation for you.

Clinical Psychology Careers and Salary

Clinical psychologists are in demand in private practice, hospitals, schools, universities, ambulatory healthcare, businesses and government agencies. With the call for better mental health treatment in the U.S., clinical psychologists will figure prominently, and projections for job growth were set at a 14% increase from 2004 to 2014. Special populations such as the growing elderly segment, veterans, and, more recently, people who are suffering depression and anxiety over changes during the pandemic need therapists to help them achieve a better state of mind through involving and counseling but do not prescribe medication.

The potential income for a position is an important factor in choosing a career. In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual salary of $78,200 for clinical psychologists, counselors, and school psychologists, lower than both the annual wage of $88,480 for hospital psychologists and $96,870 for the government employed. While demand may drive median salaries up in some scenarios, consider the large investment in time and money to earn the required degrees and licenses along with the income potential prior to making a decision.

Clinical psychologist education requirements

The education requirements to become a clinical psychologist are great and extend beyond the university. As stated by The American Psychological Association, a clinical psychologist is required to complete:

  • An undergraduate degree
  • A Master’s degree
  • A Doctoral degree
  • Required training, internship and licensing by the state

This can differ in certain cases, such as a student going straight from the undergraduate program to the Doctoral level. The undergraduate and/or Master’s degree major field of study should relate to clinical psychology, and all programs must be properly accredited.

Following graduation with a Doctoral degree, clinical psychologists must complete their state’s licensing requirements. This may involve an internship, supervised experience for up to two years, and passing the licensing examination. Note that licensing, once obtained, has requirements for regular renewal, including continuing education hours. After all licensing is obtained, full-time clinical psychology employment or private practice awaits.

How Do I Know If Clinical Psychology is for Me?

Now that you know about the education and licensing requirements, you can see that becoming a clinical psychologist involves many years of determination, dedication, and hard mental work. You must be able to handle that mental stress and strain and live with the anticipation of a fully realized career in psychology for around a decade. If you thrive on learning and studying your craft and aren’t put off by the long process, clinical psychology could be for you.

Financially, so many years of funding education and living expenses while in school can be daunting. Look for programs that offer funding for students in the field, possibly involving working with a professor, doing research or student teaching. Some students stay in school full-time and work part-time, while others work full-time and attend school part-time. Accredited online programs have made earning degrees more accessible, opening possibilities for people who wouldn’t be able to live away to attend school. You must decide if you want to study in a field that will affect your finances for many years.

Another determiner of a career match for you can be whether you would enjoy the work involved. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have excellent interpersonal and communications skills?
  • Am I sensitive to the needs of others and their differences?
  • Am I perceived as a trustworthy person?
  • Do I show empathy toward others with difficult issues?
  • Do I know myself well-enough to not let my emotions get in the way of treating patients?

While this list of questions is incomplete, it will give you an idea of the types of characteristics you’ll need to succeed in clinical psychology. As for task clinical psychologists perform, they may vary based on the specialty and the work environment but have some commonality. Can you see yourself:

  • Counseling patients
  • Discussing sensitive issues
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Coordinating with doctors, educators, social workers, and other professionals
  • Conducting interviews and tests
  • Observing, analyzing, and diagnosing patients
  • Taking notes during sessions
  • Conducting research
  • Creating reports

Again, use this list as a general guideline and conduct additional research to learn more. If you aren’t sure if this profession is for you, you may not want to commit yourself to the challenging and lengthy education process.

The True Reward of Becoming a Clinical Psychologist

The biggest payback on becoming a clinical psychologist isn’t the money. It’s knowing that you are helping people, either individually in treatment or for society as a researcher. You’re answering the cries for help of those with mental disorders.

As a school psychologist, you may help children who are depressed and can’t talk to people at home. In a hospital setting, you may the one person that gets through to a patient that’s been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, or, in private practice, aid a patient with addictive behavior. As a researcher, you may discover a breakthrough in treatment for people with eating disorders. Now that you know the rewards and you’re armed with information on becoming a clinical psychologist, the decision is in your hands.

How to become a clinical psychologist

All About Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is one of the largest specialty areas within psychology. Having a passion for discovery, learning and listening are part of what it takes to be successful as a psychologist who delivers clinical or counseling services.

Psychologists trained to provide clinical services work in research, education, training and health sectors. Others specialize in areas such as counseling and school psychology. Working with numerous populations, they focus on individual differences, normal and abnormal behavior, mental and emotional health, healthy behaviors and mental disorders and their prevention.

Health service psychologists are an example of psychologists working in clinical practice. They apply psychological science in their work in ways that range from helping patients overcome depression or anxiety to better understanding how to manage stress. Others specialize in physical health concerns and help patients manage diabetes or other chronic illnesses. Still others specialize in working with the elderly and the challenges of aging, or working with children or college students. The possibilities for a career as a health service psychologist are vast and varied.

If you are interested in understanding human behavior and enjoy working with people, a career as a clinical or counseling psychologist may be for you.

What You Can Do

Psychologists who provide clinical or counseling services are trained in a range of techniques and theoretical approaches, making hospitals, schools, counseling centers, group or private health care practices and hospital systems all good places to launch a career. Some psychologists working in clinical practice choose to specialize in treating those with chronic illnesses such as obesity or diabetes; others specialize in treating people with specific psychological disorders, such as anxiety, schizophrenia or depression. Others work with school children who have learning disabilities or in college counseling centers to promote wellness and academic success.

If you are passionate about working with special populations like children, the economically disadvantaged or seniors, you might consider looking at community-based organizations that work with these groups.

Making It Happen

The path to becoming a psychologist usually begins with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, where students learn the fundamentals. You must then obtain a graduate degree. While some graduate programs accept applicants with an undergraduate degree in other disciplines, most encourage students to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Each graduate program determines its own entrance requirements. Some doctoral programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology. Some students enroll in programs that culminate in a master’s degree, planning then to enroll in a doctoral program either immediately upon completion or after a few years of work. Others enter doctoral programs with only a bachelor’s degree and work directly on a doctorate. Anyone working in psychology with a master’s degree is usually supervised by someone with a doctoral degree. In most states, the independent practice of psychology requires a doctoral degree and a state license.

Most doctoral degrees take five to seven years to complete. Some institutions require their students to complete their doctoral studies within 10 years of admission to the institution. In addition, you must pass a comprehensive exam and write and defend a dissertation.

If you want to practice as a psychologist in clinical, counseling or school psychology, you will also have to complete a one-year internship as part of your doctoral study in your area of practice. Some universities and professional schools offer a PsyD degree in lieu of the traditional research PhD or EdD degree. PsyD degrees, with their emphasis on clinical psychology, are designed for students who want to do clinical work.

What You Can Earn

In May 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary of clinical psychologists was $67,800. The salaries of clinical psychologists vary depending on work setting, experience and work location.

Helpful Resources

APA Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology
Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology includes APA members who are active in practice, research, teaching, administration and/or study in the field of clinical psychology.

Finding the Right Job
Searching for a new job — or your first job —can be challenging. APA has resources to help you navigate your search for the clinical psychology job that’s right for you.

How to become a clinical psychologist

I wrote this guide because people often ask me how to become a Clinical Psychologist. Much of it is my opinion – other psychologists may have different suggestions so I’ve included links to other sources at the bottom of this page.

What qualifications do you need to become a Clinical Psychologist?

To become a Clinical Psychologist you need to complete a Masters or Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. You may also need ‘Professional Accreditation’.

The rules and qualifications vary depending on which your country you plan to work in. Here are the steps you’ll need to take if you are planning to work in Malaysia.

Studying Clinical Psychology in your Home Country

These are the steps if you plan to study Clinical Psychology in Malaysia:

  1. Obtain a good grade in a Psychology undergraduate degree.
  2. Gain some relevant work experience. Some courses in Malaysia are now accepting students without work experience.
  3. Complete a Masters in Clinical Psychology.
  4. Become a full member of the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology.This is not yet a legal requirement but it’s one way of showing potential clients and employers that you are properly qualified.

Studying Clinical Psychology Overseas

If you plan to study Clinical Psychology at a University outside of Malaysia:

  1. Obtain a good grade in a Psychology undergraduate degree recognised by the country that you wish to train in.
  2. Gain some relevant work experience (see below for more information) .
  3. Secure funding to study overseas.
  4. Complete the post-graduate Clinical Psychology course required by the country that you are studying in.
  5. Obtain ‘Professional Accreditation’ from the country that you are studying in (or at least prove that you are eligible for that accreditation).
  6. If you have accreditation from overseas it may not be necessary but it would be helpful to become a full member of the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology.

An example: a Malaysian studying Clinical Psychology in the UK

This might be easier to understand with an example. A Malaysian wishing to study Clinical Psychology in the UK before returning to work in Malaysia should follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a good grade (an Upper Second Class Honours, 2:1 or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree in Psychology that is recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
  2. Gain some relevant work experience (see below for more information).
  3. Secure funding to study in the UK (a three-year course is likely to cost more than 75,000 GBP plus living costs).
  4. Complete a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (a British Masters in Clinical Psychology will not allow you to work as a Clinical Psychologist in the UK and it will not allow you to work in Malaysia as a Clinical Psychologist).
  5. Apply and obtain Chartered Member status from the British Psychological Society (the legal body in the UK is the HCPC but BPS Member status is sufficient for people returning to their home country).
  6. Become a full member of the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology

The legal situation

In common with many countries the current legal situation in Malaysia means that anyone can call themselves a Clinical Psychologist. Technically, that means you don’t have to follow any of the steps above. However, I would strongly advise that you do. Firstly, because clients need to know that you are properly qualified, competent professional. It will be difficult to get a job or attract paying clients if you do not have the correct qualifications. Secondly, a law has just been enacted in Malaysia and it is likely to be legally enforced in the near future. This will make the steps above a legal requirement (although you may need to apply to a government body rather than the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology).

If you are not a Malaysian, I’d advise using the steps above as a starting point. Do check the requirements for your particular country. Please share what you find out in the comments section below.

Work experience

Many clinical psychology courses want you to have work experience before you start studying. They want you to know what you are getting yourself into. It’s good to find out whether you like talking to people in psychological distress because that’s what Clinical Psychologists spend most of their time doing.

It would be helpful to gain work experience working with a Clinical Psychologist but it isn’t necessary. It is more important to spend time with people in psychological distress and learn from your experiences.

Most courses are happy to have older applicants who have some work experience outside of psychology. Many Clinical Psychologists started their careers in other fields. So there’s no need to rush into training if you’d like to try out other options first.

Due to the increase in the number of Clinical Psychology courses in Malaysia an increasing number of students have been accepted onto Clinical Psychology courses without any relevant work experience. Clinical Psychology training courses based overseas, in countries such as the UK, USA, Australia and Canada, are more likely to require relevant work experience.

An understanding of research methods

Clinical psychologists are trained to be Scientist-Practitioners. Our practice is based on research evidence but we also approach each problem like scientists. For example:

  • We look at the existing evidence (old records, observations, information gathered in interviews),
  • hypothesise why the problem might be occurring and
  • then test our hypothesis by running an intervention.
  • We then evaluate our intervention and determine if we need to alter our hypothesis.

This scientific approach means that many courses will test your understanding of research methods.

Funding

It is usually easiest to study in your own country because overseas clinical psychology programmes are expensive. You can find a list of overseas clinical psychology courses that are open to international applicants here. Some countries sponsor their citizens to go overseas to train as a Clinical Psychologist. Malaysia has done this in the past but not recently. We don’t know of any international funding sources so please share any you find via the comments section below.

If you don’t have funds you could apply for PhD courses in the USA because they sometimes come with funding. You can also send a research proposal to professor. If they are interested in your project they may apply for a grant which would also pay for your PhD. This is most likely to work if you have know how to conduct research and have unique language skills or cultural knowledge that matches their interests.

Variation between courses & countries

The advice above varies depending on the course and country you are in. I have written more information for each of the countries below:

Information on Clinical Psychology Training Programmes

For a list of Clinical Psychology Training Programmes open to foreign students please see this page. You can also view the pages for each of the countries below:

Clinical psychology is a vital field for assessing and diagnosing mental health problems. Learn what it takes to become a clinical psychologist with this guide.

Psychology involves the study of the human experience, specifically with respect to the human brain, memory, consciousness, language, personality, mental health, and more.

As a result, psychology is often segmented to focus on different areas—such as developmental psychology, educational psychology, cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and others.

What is clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology in particular deals with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that are concerned with the brain, emotional instability, and behavioral problems.

Clinical psychologists use various approaches in their treatment, such as the psychodynamic approach, humanistic perspective, cognitive-behavioral perspective, and more.

Learn more about what clinical psychology entails here.

How long does it take to become a clinical psychologist?

To become a clinical psychologist, it’ll take eight to thirteen years of schooling before you are certified and practicing—four to six years in college for undergraduate programs, and four to seven years of graduate school for a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

How to become a clinical psychologist

To be a professional in the field of clinical psychology, there are some clear steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology

The first step in becoming a clinical psychologist is to complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. This level of education—either Ph.D. or Psy.D.—is often a necessary requirement to becoming certified.

It is vital to research which schools are offering this course of study as well as other necessary program and application information. Then you can apply for the program that is best suited to your needs and interests. This could mean choosing a program based on location, length of the program, or offered specialties.

It’s important to note that you must have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree prior to pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. While these precursor degree programs do not necessarily need to be in psychology-specific fields, there should be demonstrated interest in the field before applying for a doctorate.

Some doctorate programs in clinical psychology will accept students with a bachelor’s degree; others may require a master’s degree in psychology or a related field.

Some schools offer master’s in clinical psychology programs; however, these may not necessarily qualify you to become a practicing clinical psychologist upon graduation. For licensure, a doctorate is required.

Step 2: Complete clinical fieldwork and training

Practicums, internships, and other field training is an integral part of becoming a certified clinical psychologist. State licensures are usually dependent on the number of hours of field experience you have as a clinical psychologist.

To achieve this, you’ll work closely with a clinical psychology professional, learn how they work directly with counseling patients, and create appropriate treatment plans. You’ll also collaborate with physicians and other health care professionals.

Before you graduate from your master’s program, you may have already been required to complete some hours of clinical fieldwork. But depending on your area, these hours may or may not be counted toward a person’s requirement for practicum hours in your state.

Step 3: Apply for clinical psychology licensure in your practicing state

A degree does not qualify you as an official clinical psychologist. In order to practice, you must first achieve licensure and certifications depending on the requirements of the state in which you wish to practice.

Research the requirements to become certified in the state you live in and get the necessary documents in order. The requirements for most states include:

  • Completion of a doctoral program (Ph.D. or Psy.D.)
  • Complete a state-approved field internship and given number of fieldwork experience hours
  • Pass a licensure exam

A state certification acts as proof that you have gone through the training and fieldwork required to practice counseling in your state. Be sure to check any local requirements, as they may vary.

Step 4: Pursue continuing education and maintain licensure

After obtaining licensure, it is a necessary requirement for psychologists in most states to complete Continuing Education (CE) courses to maintain their license.

Apart from maintaining certification, continuing education courses also expand clinical psychologists’ knowledge base and offers increased awareness of current trends in the field.

Continuing education can also help advance a clinical psychologist’s career or lead them to pursue a different concentration.

If you are interested in becoming a certified and licensed clinical psychologist, graduate-level education is required. Explore The Chicago School’s Clinical Psychology programs with our program finder.

Stay up to date on education and career development trends with our online digital magazine, INSIGHT.

How to become a clinical psychologist

In the present times where the urge to earn more and more money and soar higher in the competition, it becomes easy to fall prey to mental illnesses and disorders. Each one of us has some off days wherein we do not feel like ourselves and start feeling weird, owing to endless problems, stress and tension hovering around our mind. These feelings generally do not endure within us for a long time and after a while, we come back to being normal. However, there are times when these thoughts and feelings refuse to bequeath us, and what we are left with is negativity and mental disorders. This is why the demand for clinical psychology is rising exponentially. Owing to enormous career prospects and opportunities in this branch of psychology, more and more people are flocking towards pursuing various clinical psychology courses. If you are intrigued by how clinical psychology works and want to work towards the well-being of others, this blog is just for you. Wondering about how to become a clinical psychologist? Read on to know more about it.

This Blog Includes:
  1. What does Clinical Psychologist do?
  2. How to Become a Clinical Psychologist?
    1. Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s degree
    2. Step 2: Gain Work Experience
    3. Step 3: Get a Postgraduate Degree

What does Clinical Psychologist do?

Prominent since the 19th century, clinical psychology is one such specialisation which was widely recognized and respected among the public. Clinical psychologists are the ones who are responsible for examining, diagnosing and providing psychological treatment to the people or a specific group facing some kind of mental abnormalities and disorders. Through their extensive knowledge and skills acquired during their clinical training, these professionals help their clients or patients improve their mental well being which further leads to a better quality of life and confidence to deal with future problems. A licensed clinical psychologist administers and evaluates various personality and cognitive mental tests and accordingly prepares the treatment plan along with psychotherapy if needed.

How to Become a Clinical Psychologist?

Becoming a clinical psychologist is not a piece of cake as it seems to be. It takes a lot of patience, dedication, hard work and consistency to become one. Given below is the chronological step-wise procedure on how to fulfil your dream into becoming a successful psychologist.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s degree

Starting off from the scratch level, the first step towards becoming a clinical psychologist is to pursue a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology. Through pursuing a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree, you will be introduced to all the basic fundamental concepts of psychology and that’s when you will be able to decide whether clinical psychology is the ideal field for you or not. The undergraduate degrees will be able to provide the students with the required coursework that will build a strong foundation and work as a prerequisite for further studies in your field of interest.

Having a duration of about 3 to 4 years, the following are some of the most popular and sought-after undergraduate courses in clinical psychology:

  • Premedical course (foundational) for Clinical Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

After you complete your undergraduate degree, certain higher-level programs require a considerable amount of work experience in the same field you are pursuing. Upon successful graduation, you can take part in various research projects or internship programs where you can not only get just theoretical knowledge but also hands-on practical knowledge. Through these activities, you can determine what being a clinical psychologist is like and you get to know their daily activities and how do they administer their psychological treatments to the patients. Apart from internships and projects, you can also look for some clubs and active groups on psychological health and like wherein you get to network yourself and get additional knowledge, outside your books and classrooms.

Step 3: Get a Postgraduate Degree

The next and most important step towards becoming a clinical psychologist is to pursue a master’s degree wherein you will actually start your focus on this specialization. After completing your 2-3 year master’s degree, if you want to be a licensed professional, then it is a must to complete your doctorate degree. A PhD program within your domain of interest would generally take 4 to 5 years to complete.

Given below are some popular masters degree programs which you might want to consider.

  • MSc Clinical Psychology
  • Master of Science Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
  • Master in Clinical Mental Health Counselling
  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy)
  • Master of Science in Abnormal and Clinical Psychology
  • Master of Science Clinical Psychology and Psychological Empowerment
  • Master of Science in Clinical Health Psychology
  • Master in Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Master in Clinical Psychology

Opting for a postgraduate program is a useful step whether you want to either practice as a clinical psychologist or want to pursue a career as an academician. Upon receiving your license for practising as a clinical psychologist, you can complete further clinical training in order to get a hand of practical knowledge in various areas of employment.

We hope that we have provided you with all the information related to becoming a Clinical Psychology with this blog. If you are looking for a career in psychology and want to study abroad, then get in touch with mentors at Leverage Edu and we will help you gain insight into everything you need to know about the specialization and help you get admission into your dream university.