Degrees in Clinical Psychology Directly Influence Lives
Clinical psychology schools offer rigorous educational programs that culminate in a doctorate. Degrees in clinical psychology include the research-based Ph.D and the practice-based Psy.D. Weigh your options here before you enroll. Psy.D and Ph.D degrees each have their pro’s and con’s. Our Psy.D. vs Ph.D article will give you more insight into the differences between the two degrees.
Clinical psychologists work with patients to assess and treat emotional, mental and behavioral disorders. These can range from brief and isolated issues, such as adolescent or family conflicts, to more severe issues such as schizophrenia and other chronic conditions. Some clinical psychologists specialize in one area, such as clinical depression, phobias or problems pertaining to a particular age group or specific population.
A Day in the Life of a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists work directly with individuals and groups to explore their situations and determine the best course of action to alleviate, change or manage emotional, mental and behavioral health concerns. This might range from early intervention and prevention, such as speaking to groups of students in schools about certain issues that could affect their lives, to more serious intervention, such as working with social services and law enforcement for the safety of individuals who might need to be closely monitored, medicated or even institutionalized. The importance of the role of mental health professionals in these critical situations has helped propel the clinical spychologist salary to an all-time high in 2016.
Some clinical psychologists work behind the scenes, conducting extensive research, interviews and evaluations that can eventually create a wider circle of change. Though these assessments might help individuals during the course of the work, they also serve the greater good by adding to a wealth of information that can be used to transform health care, public policy and the field of psychology at large.
Typical professions for clinical psychologists
Many clinical psychologists work in private practice, seeing patients in an office setting. Others work in hospitals, schools, industries, legal systems, medical systems, counseling centers, government agencies, prisons and correctional facilities. The specialization of a clinical psychologist often determines where he or she will choose to seek employment. For example, those who specialize in geriatrics might find positions in skilled nursing facilities, while those who concentrate on substance abuse might find a job in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Clinical psychology schools employ experienced psychologists to train students in the field.
Some clinical psychologists specialize in working with children. For students interested in working with adolescents, be sure to read more on how to become a child psychologist.
Education for Clinical Psychologists
Working as a clinical psychologist requires a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, which includes two varieties: either the Ph.D or the Psy.D. Those who earn the Ph.D qualify for a variety of teaching, clinical, research and counseling positions. Those who earn their Psy.D typically work in a clinical or counseling setting. The doctoral degree takes about five years of full-time graduate study and culminates in a dissertation. Some programs also require at least one year of supervised work experience.
Clinical psychology schools offer targeted and substantial course work in the area of personality and psychopathology, an educational requirement for aspiring clinical psychologists. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits graduate schools that meet the rigorous instruction criteria. After graduation, any clinical psychologist who works with patients must be licensed by the state in which they reside.
No matter which educational path you choose, do your due diligence to ensure the program is properly accredited. If you are interested in pursuing an online psychology degree, make sure the APA has properly vetted the program.
Whether you’re considering going into research by pursuing a Psy.D degree, or offering therapy in your own sole practitioner office as a Psy.D, go with the program that will help you reach your goals the most efficient way possible!