Master's Degrees in Psychopharmacology

Master's-level programs in psychopharmacology are typically designed for licensed practicing psychologists. This program prepares you to take the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists so you can be licensed to prescribe drugs in states where this is permitted. Explore the prerequisites, coursework for these programs, and get more info on the licensure process. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are There Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Psychopharmacology?

Most postdoctoral master's degree programs in clinical psychopharmacology were developed for licensed, practicing psychologists. However, some schools have two tracks in the program; one for psychologists and another for healthcare professionals, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. In either case, you'll need to be a licensed healthcare provider in order to pursue this degree. If you want to learn more about psychopharmacology and better understand how pharmaceuticals may help manage symptoms of mental disorders, this is the degree program for you.

PrerequisitesPrograms are developed for licensed, practicing psychologists or healthcare providers
Common CoursesNeurochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropathology, psychopharmacology
Licensure ExaminationPsychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP Exam)
Career EnhancementBetter understanding of how prescribed psychiatric medicines work, improved treatement for patients, possession of requisite educational background to obtain state licensure
Median Salary (2018)*$76,990 (for clinical, counseling and school psychologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*14% growth (for clinical, counseling and school psychologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Courses Will I Take?

If you pursue a master's degree in this field, you'll take classes in the science and applications of psychopharmacology. Science coursework includes classes in biochemistry and neurosciences, such as neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropathology. You'll take pharmacology classes in psychopharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics and clinical pharmacology. You'll learn to conduct physical examinations to uncover how pharmaceuticals may affect physical symptoms. You'll also take courses in ethics and the legal issues involved in prescribing pharmaceuticals.

Most master's degree programs in psychopharmacology require a period of clinical fieldwork, during which you'll spend time practicing under the supervision of a physician or psychologist with prescribing credentials. Many programs also require a case discussion seminar, in which you'll share your practical experiences with classmates.

Will These Programs Prepare Me for Licensure Examinations?

Some master's degree programs will prepare you to take the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP Exam). This standardized test, administered by the American Psychological Association (APA), may help you become a licensed prescribing psychologist. According to the APA, when state legislatures amend current laws to permit psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications, a passing score on the PEP Exam may help a practitioner obtain these prescribing privileges.

How Will These Programs Enhance my Current Profession?

Even if your state doesn't currently license psychologists to prescribe medications, this program will still enhance your current credentials. You'll better understand how prescribed psychiatric medications work, resulting in improved treatment for your patients as you work collaboratively with physicians and other healthcare providers to coordinate all aspects of psychological care. In addition, when state legislatures license psychologists for prescribing credentials, you will have the requisite educational background to obtain licensure.

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