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.
What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do?
Clinical psychologists work with patients to diagnose problems of a mental or emotional nature. They usually work in a hospital or education setting to help students with emotional issues or patients who have psychological or behavioral problems. These professionals keep excellent records; they understand and work with other clinical professionals and family members to help patients. Clinical psychologists may also work in rehabilitation clinics, crisis counseling services or their 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 (2018-2028)||15% (for all clinical, counseling and school psychologists)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$76,990 (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.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
There are several careers related to clinical psychology. With a doctorate in psychology, one may consider teaching at the postsecondary level. Careers that require a master's degree include mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and school and career counselors. Depending on the focus, these individuals may help clients manage emotional disorders, work through marital challenges, or develop social skills. At the bachelor's level, opportunities exist in social work, special education, and substance abuse counseling.