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How to Choose an Online Clinical Psychopharmacology Degree

This article will describe what an online clinical psychopharmacology degree is, how to choose this type of degree program, and the advantages of earning this degree. Also included is a description of a good online clinical psychopharmacology degree program.

What Is an Online Clinical Psychopharmacology Degree?

A degree in clinical psychopharmacology focuses on the branch of neuroscience that studies how medications are used to treat mental disorders. A degree in clinical psychopharmacology involves applying pharmacological principles, scientific data and clinical practice to  psychopathology and mental health problems across many populations.

This online degree blends the scientific study of behavior, the biological basis of it and the interaction of medication with physiology to produce long and short term therapeutic changes to treat mental disorders.

With a degree in clinical psychopharmacology, you will gain a better understanding of how long a drug stays in the body, how drugs bind to proteins in the body, how each person responds differently to a drug, and when using several drugs at once can lead to unwanted side effects. A psychopharmacologist also needs to understand dosages and how to get the best outcome across patients with different genders, weights and ages.

Why Earn a Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology?

A degree in clinical pharmacology allows the psychologist to give patients a better and broader continuum of care. There is a great need for training psychologists who can prescribe drugs to help deal with the health care disparities in the country, especially in inner-city and rural areas. In some cases, patients have poor access to mental health care, and may need to wait many weeks to see a psychologist.

For instance, in Illinois, there are more than 50 counties that lack inpatient psychiatric facilities. Also, clinical psychopharmacology allows psychologists to reduce patients over-medicating themselves.

BLS Shows Strong Growth in Psychologist Employment

Also, earning your online clinical psychopharmacology degree is a good move from an employment standpoint. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of all psychologists will grow by 14% through 2026, which is faster than average for all occupations.

Employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists is expected to rise 14% as well in the same time frame. There will be higher demand for psychological services in hospitals, schools, mental health centers, and social service agencies that should increase employment growth.

SEE ALSO: How to Become a School Psychologist

Demand for more clinical and counseling services is increasing as people more often turn to psychologists to help with their mental health problems. Psychologists also will be in greater need to offer mental health services to people who are getting older. Psychological services also will be needed for veterans who are suffering from war-related trauma.

Employment of school psychologists with skills in clinical psychopharmacology will also grow because of the higher awareness of the link between learning and mental health, and because of the higher need for mental health services in all types of schools. School psychologists are needed to work with special needs students and those with learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Strong Salary Potential With Master’s in Psychology

Another reason to earn your master’s degree in this field is the high salary potential. BLS states as of May 2018 the median salary for psychologists was $79,000. The top 10% earned more than $129,000 per year. Professionals with master’s or doctoral degrees will tend to earn at the higher end of the salary scale: (BLS.gov)

  • Psychologists, all other: $100,700
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists: $97,260
  • Clinical, counseling and school psychologists: $76,990

Also, the median annual wages for psychologists in top industries were:

  • Government: $96,400
  • Hospitals: $86,500
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $79,180
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800

According to Payscale.com, the average clinical pharmacologist’s salary is $103,200, with a range between $98,000 and $128,000. Payscale.com also states the average salary for clinical psychologists is $77,300, with a range between $49,000 and $111,000. (payscale.com)

Payscale.com reports the best salaries in the psychology field can be found in Washington DC and New York City, with lower salaries in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Online Clinical Psychopharmacology Degree Options

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

A good choice to earn your degree in this field is the online Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The degree takes two years to complete, and allows each student to be a part of The Chicago School’s excellent network of psychology training sites in Illinois and New Mexico.

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The two year, online master’s degree is intended to educate students who want to expand their base of knowledge in psychopharmacology and medical conditions that are most important to mental health care. Students learn how to boost their competency in assessment, diagnosis and intervention. They also learn how to engage in case-based learning that will boost their collaborative practice skills.

The online degree program uses advanced online teaching methods and applies case based learning to train aspiring practitioners to integrate new medical approaches into the care of their clients. Each student is required to complete 31 credit hours, and also a research project.

Sample courses include:

  • Clinical Anatomy and Integrated Science
  • Advanced Pathophysiology

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology program, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. You also must meet the following requirements:

  • Completed application
  • $50 application fee
  • Undergraduate degree GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from all schools where you earned a degree

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Summary

Obtaining your online degree in clinical psychopharmacology is a strong choice for students who want to be able to understand how to treat their patients with the latest in psychological therapies combined with appropriate and cutting edge drug therapies to alleviate their mental health problems. The demand for professionals in this field will be strong for years, and you should be able to have a high degree of respect, enjoyment in your career and a solid salary.

References

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Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Ann Steele, Ph.D.

Editor-In-Chief

Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.