Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat short-term and chronic mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They work with individual clients as well as families and groups, and may specialize in providing care for certain populations, such as adolescents or senior citizens. Throughout the course of treatment of a patient, clinical psychologists will consult with other health professionals including medical doctors who may prescribe medication. Some of the general job responsibilities of clinical psychologists include:
- Assessing a patient's condition through interviews, observations, and tests
- Diagnosing mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders and recommending a course of treatment
- Helping patients manage short-term and chronic mental and emotional disorders
- Developing programs for schools and the workplace that address psychological issues
The BLS reports that employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is expected to grow 22% from 2010 to 2020. An increasing demand for psychological services in public and private facilities, including schools, hospitals, and social services agencies, is stimulating this faster than average job growth. More clinical psychologists are needed to provide services to special groups including veterans suffering from post traumatic stress, individuals with autism, and senior citizens.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists typically hold either a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Doctoral programs in psychology are very competitive. Some require applicants hold a master's in psychology while others will accept those with a bachelor's and a major in psychology.
A Ph.D. in psychology requires candidates complete a dissertation based on their own research. Successful completion of a Psy.D. is based more on practical work and examinations as opposed to a dissertation. Doctoral candidates are usually required to complete and internship in a clinical, counseling, or other health service setting. A sampling of courses you may take in a doctoral clinical psychology program, drawn from course listings for the University of Massachusetts at Boston's Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, include the following:
- Culture and Mental Health
- Trauma: Psychological Response and Recovery
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Qualitative Methods in Psychological Research
Psychologists must be state-licensed in order to practice. State licensing laws will vary by state, but clinical psychologists typically need to complete a doctorate in psychology, an internship, one to two years of professional experience, and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to become licensed. The Association of State and Provincial Licensing Boards provides information about licensing requirements for all states including the District of Columbia.