How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

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Clinical psychology is a very important practice to effectively help and treat patients who are experiencing problems of all sorts or who are diagnosed with specific mental problems. Clinical psychologists are trained professionals that are vital to promoting the well being and personal function of patients experiencing mental anguish.


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What does a clinical psychologist do?

Clinical psychologists make up the largest specialty of psychologists. They help clients who are mentally and emotionally distressed adapt to everyday life. They also help patients handle a personal crisis such as a death in the family or divorce. Sometimes clinical psychologists help medical and surgical patients who are dealing with injuries or illnesses.

Clinical psychologists commonly interview patients and distribute diagnostic tests. They often create and execute behavior modification programs and may provide psychotherapy to individuals, families, or groups. Many clinical psychologists collaborate with doctors and other specialists to come up with effective treatment and intervention programs that patients can understand and abide by.

What kind of training does a clinical psychologist need?

A doctoral degree in clinical psychology is typically required to independently practice or work in a clinical position as a clinical psychologist. A minimum of a one-year internship is also required for the doctoral degree. The American Psychological Association (APA) currently accredits doctoral education programs in clinical psychology and the institutions that offer the internships for clinical psychology.

Clinical psychologists who practice independently or are involved in direct patient care must be licensed or certified in all states. Different states have different licensing laws, but typically a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, 1 to 2 years professional experience, and an approved internship is required. All applicants are also required to pass a state examination.

What are the prospects for a career in clinical psychology?

Employment of all psychologists is expected to have faster than average growth, increasing 15% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Employment growth is fueled by the increased demand for psychological services in many different settings. Opportunities for clinical psychologists will arise from the increase in the number of employee assistance programs provided by companies to help employees deal with personal issues. Clinical psychologists will also be required to help people deal with mental disorders such as depression.

Job prospects will be excellent for clinical psychologists who have extensive experience and are trained in quantitative research approaches and computer science.

How much do clinical psychologists make?

As of June 2009, clinical psychologists with less than 1 year experience made an average of $51,031 a year. Clinical psychologists with 1 to 4 years experience made an average of $54,658 a year (2).

Aspiring clinical psychologists should have a passion for wanting to help people overcome their problems and research their goals. They should be able to effectively deal with patient problems and be stable emotionally. Great communication, compassion, sensitivity, and leadership skills are also essential in the field of clinical psychology.

Joshua T Osborne

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