What Degree Programs Are Available in Clinical Psychology?

Individuals interested in the clinical psychology field typically attain a doctoral degree, though they may earn a master's degree before enrolling in the terminal degree program. Extensive classroom and practical training are included in clinical psychology degree programs; continue reading for details about graduate-level programs in this field. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology degree programs teach you how to assess individuals' mental states, make diagnoses, design treatment plans and administer therapy. It's a broad field, and you may be able to specialize in an area like child psychology, adult psychology, health psychology or neuropsychology.

Clinical psychology master's degree programs normally are completed with the intention of pursuing a doctoral degree. However, the completion of a masters level program in clinical psychology may also lead to enrolling in a doctoral degree program and/or finding work in other career fields, such as counselling, health care, social services, business or education. Also, most states require a doctoral degree in clinical psychology before becoming a licensed psychologist; it's rare that states grant licensure to those with a master's degree.

The American Psychological Association (APA) establishes the standards for clinical psychology graduate programs nationwide and accredits programs that meet those guidelines. The APA website lists accredited clinical psychology programs and their associated institutions. If you're interested in pursuing a clinical psychology education, you should ensure that your program is accredited by the APA.

Important Facts About the Clinical Psychology Field

Prerequisites Bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or a related area or undergraduate courses in psychology
Continuing Education Required to maintain licensure in many states
Online Availability Online programs are available but an in-person residency or internship may be required
Possible Careers Teachers, counsellors, clinical psychologists, researchers, psychotherapists
Median Salary (2018) $76,990 (for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% (for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master's Degree

Most clinical psychology master's degree programs require two years of full-time study. Some programs may require an internship and thesis completion in addition to graduate studies. Program requirements can include a demanding group of coursework, field training and practical experiences. You can learn how to conduct various types of assessments, including personality and mental health diagnostic assessments, and decide which treatment plans are best for particular patients. Classes you may take include behaviour psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, abnormal psychology, child psychology and experimental design.

Students who choose to pursue a master's degree in clinical psychology often go on to complete a doctoral degree program in this field or a related field. However, some programs offer specialization or dual degree options, like in marriage and family therapy or licensed professional clinical counselling, and they may prepare you to seek licensure and a career in these fields.

Doctoral Degree

Clinical psychology doctoral programs result in a Psy.D. or a Ph.D. credential. Psy.D. degree programs focus on the clinical aspects of the psychology field, while Ph.D. degree programs centre on both academic research and clinical patient treatment. Clinical psychology doctoral programs typically require the completion of an internship, and Ph.D. students need to complete a dissertation.

Through a doctoral degree program in clinical psychology, you may be able to specialize in diverse areas, including child and adolescent psychology, forensic psychology, international psychology, psychology of sexuality and gender, creative psychotherapy, neuropsychology or health psychology. Your coursework depends on your focus area, but here is a list of example graduate courses:

  • Psychology statistics
  • Clinical assessments
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Child and family psychology
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Case management

Career Information

In nearly all states, you'll need to obtain a license in order to practice. Qualifying for licensure typically requires completing a doctoral degree program that includes a one-year internship. Additionally, accumulating one or two years of professional clinical psychology experience is often required before being eligible to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Your state may have other qualification requirements and additional examinations.

You may also seek board certification in your speciality to demonstrate your professional expertise. The American Board of Professional Psychology offers board certification in general clinical psychology, clinical child and adolescent psychology, clinical health psychology and clinical neuropsychology, along with eleven other certification areas. Requirements for all board certifications include a doctoral degree from an accredited program and a valid state license or certification, and each board certification area has a set of speciality requirements.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Walden University

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