How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

The oldest and most recognized of all psychology jobs, and the one that everyone thinks of when they think “psychology”, is clinical psychology.

People in this field of psychology are responsible for:

  • diagnosing psychological problems
  • prescribing treatments or designing courses of therapy
  • counseling
  • medication that will cure the patient or at least allow them to maintain a functional state

People in these roles deal with all sorts of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems, from temporary conditions such as stress or grief, to lifelong ailments such as depression or anxiety.

Clinical Psychologists generally work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other medical care facilities.  People in clinical psychology positions frequently work closely with doctors when medication needs to be prescribed or when the patient is experiencing physical as well as mental or emotional problems.

Clinical psychologists may be found in other settings as well. Some clinical psychologists accept positions at universities and medical schools, training students for future psychology roles.

Clinical psychologists may also work at:

  • addiction recovery clinics
  • rehabilitation centers
  • correctional facilities
  • other institutions where psychological training can be used to help people cope with stressful or traumatic temporary and long-term conditions

Q: What level of education does it take to become a clinical psychologist?

A: A master’s degree or doctorate in psychology.

To get a license to practice clinical psychology, you must have a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology and you must pass a state certification test.  In addition, many states require a year or more of field work in order to achieve certification.

Different states have different licensing requirements, so it is good to read up on what these requirements are for your state on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board website.

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