Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Requirements + Salary

The article below discusses the importance that clinical psychologists play in our communities. You will learn about what they do, the tasks they handle, where they work, how to become one, specialization areas, job outlook, salary, and educational options. If you are interested in this field, we think that when you weigh all of these factors, you will find that this is a career worth pursuing.

What We Do

Whatever speciality you eventually choose in clinical psychology, you will be a major part of helping people to deal with the major problems of life. Most often, you will deal with people who have anxiety, depression, compulsive disorders and other serious psychological issues that interfere with living. You will provide counseling and therapy to individual adults, families and also adolescents and children.

Some licensed clinical psychologists also teach in a university or college, conduct research, or work for government institutions. Wherever you end up working, as a clinical psychologist, you will help people to manage their psychological issues and help them to return to a normal life.

Clinical psychologists will usually interview patients, give them diagnostic tests, and provide psychotherapy services. They also may design effective behavior modification programs for their patients.

Why It’s Hot

Clinical psychology overall is experiencing solid growth in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the profession of psychology will realize a 12% growth in jobs by 2022. This is faster than average when compared to other jobs.

Growth for clinical psychologists specifically should increase by 11% by 2022. There should be growing demand for clinical psychologists in schools, hospitals, social service organizations and mental health centers.

Work Environment

Psychologists held approximately 160,000 jobs as of 2012, and 30% of them worked in educational-related services, and 30% also worked in health care and in social services. About ⅓ of all psychologists as of 2012 were self employed.

Many clinical psychologists work by themselves either in patient counseling or in research. Others often work in a health care office with doctors, social workers and other related professionals.

Others work in health clinics, hospitals and mental health organizations. Note that people who work in a hospital or many types of health care organizations may need to work at night or on weekends. Most clinical psychologist who work in government or schools will work during regular business hours.

How to Become One

To practice as a clinical psychologist, you will normally need to have a doctoral degree, which is either a PsyD or a PhD in clinical psychology. One of the major decisions you need to make as an aspiring clinical psychologist is which doctoral degree to earn. This depends largely on personal choice and your career goals in psychology.

Are you interested mainly in research and possibly being a college professor? You may want to opt for a PhD in clinical psychology, which is more of a research and academic-focused degree, with a dissertation usually in year four or five.

On the other hand, those who want to practice as clinical psychologists and interact with patients often choose to earn their PsyD degree. As you earn your PsyD, there will be more of a focus on your clinical practicum work, and less on a dissertation, although you may still be required to do one in your PsyD program.

After you complete the academic requirements for your doctoral degree, you will need to complete a clinical internship for approximately one year. After you have completed this successfully, you then can take the examination in your state to become a licensed clinical psychologist. Once you have passed your examination, then you can submit your license application for your state.

Remember that different states have different requirements to become a clinical psychologist, so be sure to check with the government agency that handles professional licenses in that state.

Training & Certification Requirements

To become a clinical psychologist, you must have a PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology, an internship, one or two years of professional experience, and then pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology for your state. You can learn more about state requirements at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Education Requirements

PsyD or PhD.

Top 10 Clinical Psychology Programs

According to US News and World Report, the following are the best graduate schools for clinical psychology.

  1. University of California – Los Angeles: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  2. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  3. University of Washington: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  4. University of Wisconsin: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  5. Yale University: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  6. Duke University: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  7. University of Illinois PhD in Clinical Psychology

  8. University of Kansas: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  9. University of Minnesota: PhD in Clinical Psychology

  10. University of Pennsylvania: PhD in Clinical Psychology