What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?

Explore the career requirements for clinical psychologists. Get the facts about salary, degree requirements, licensure and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Clinical psychologists diagnose and counsel mentally distressed individuals. Work settings could include hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, schools, crisis counseling services or your own private practice. To learn more career details, review the table below.

Degree Required Doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Psychology
Key Skills Patience, analytical, problem-solving, listening
Licensure/Certification The District of Columbia and all states require licensure if practicing independently; certification is optional
Job Growth (2012-2022) 11% (for all clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*
Median Salary (2013) $67,760 (for all clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are the largest specialty group in the field of psychology. Working as a clinical psychologist, you promote mental health and offer patients the opportunity to voice their feelings and express any concerns they may be having. You may counsel and assist individuals who have mental disorders such as depression or schizophrenia, or you may help those who are dealing with emotional issues such as grief or divorce.

Individuals who have behavioral disorders and substance abuse problems may also benefit from your services. When a patient requires medication, you can't prescribe it, so you will need to confer with other medical professionals as to the best options for the patient.

What Areas Could I Specialize In?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of specialty areas that you, as a clinical psychologist, could choose from (www.bls.gov). These specialties include neuropsychology, child psychology, health psychology and geropsychology.

Neuropsychologists work with patients who have suffered brain injuries or strokes. Child psychologists work with emotionally disturbed children. A health psychologist offers counseling on healthy lifestyle practices and disease prevention. Geropsychologists counsel elderly persons who are concerned with issues such as health conditions and the need for around-the-clock assistance due to limited mobility.

What Duties and Responsibilities Might I Have?

Your duties and responsibilities as a clinical psychologist might vary depending on your specialty. Generally, you will aid patients in personal development. You may help them in developing awareness of their problems and in achieving goals. Before treating a patient you meet with them and their spouses or families to discuss their problems. You'll also gather background information on the patient through personal interviews and health records.

Based on your findings, you will develop a course of treatment. Throughout treatments, you will maintain patient progress reports, evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment plan and make modifications, if necessary. Some of your other tasks might include interviewing patients, performing diagnostic testing and conducting hypnosis and psychotherapy sessions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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