The field of psychology is an expansive academic discipline that studies the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in varying contexts. Some psychologists study the dynamic interaction between brain chemistry and human behavior, while others focus on the individual in social contexts. Many scientists trained in psychology help people in a counseling setting. They work to build a therapeutic relationship with clients as a means to provide support and insight for those who need and want to change behavior and patterns in their lives. Psychologists may also work in private practices, hospitals or clinics.
Importantly, a student at the undergraduate level earns their bachelor’s in general, not clinical psychology. Notwithstanding, bachelor’s students in psychology may be able to concentrate in clinical psychology, depending on their departments resources. The interest area is suited for students who wish to develop cognitive and behavioral competencies at this academic level. Some undergraduates are already compiling the credits they need to focus on clinical psychology in future graduate studies.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology?
Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, or any other major, may make you a better candidate for a majority of occupations. Moreover, most bachelor’s degree holders earn higher salaries than their counterparts with less education. Individuals with knowledge of the human mind and behavior will have greater capabilities to affect change in human-created global issues such as war, prejudice and overpopulation. A bachelor’s degree can also benefit students who continue on to study business or law.
Furthermore, students who major in psychology will have an advantage over other students who want to enter a master’s program in psychology or other social services graduate degrees.
Getting Into a Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Program
In most cases, students who earn an undergraduate degree in clinical psychology need to complete a minimum number of course credits divided between general subjects and classes focused on aspects of psychology. Because of this requirement, it is most common for students to declare their major after their freshman year. Some psychology departmental standards include an accumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and a GPA of 3.0 in all prerequisite psychology classes.
Earning admission into a degree-granting institution is the first step. This is a manageable task; but the more competitive the school is to get into, the more time and energy you will need to invest in your application. Generally, requirements for four-year undergraduate programs include:
- ACT or SAT scores
- Official high school transcripts
- Statement of interest
- Letters of recommendation
- Non-refundable application fee
Inside a Bachelor’s in Clinical Psychology Degree Program
Bachelor’s degree programs typically take at least four years to complete. In addition, some institutions offer accelerated online bachelor’s degree clinical psychology programs that require as little as three years to complete. By and large, the time it takes to finish the bachelor’s degree depends on the student and their circumstances.
Once a student has declared their psychology major, they may find themselves in courses such as ‘Cognitive Processes’, ‘Psychological Testing’, ‘Psychology of Criminal Behavior’ and ‘Quantitative Methods, Drugs and Behavior’.
What’s Next for Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Graduates with a major in psychology have the training and knowledge for a number of occupations, such as mental health coordinator, employment agency counselor or human resources professional, health educator and probation officer. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for Health Educators in 2010 was $45,830. Similarly, Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists earned a median salary of $47,200.
Students who have focused their psychology major studies in clinical psychology will generally continue their education by enrolling in a master’s clinical psychology program. Such programs are often one-track programs to earning the doctorate degree. In any event, if a student wants to attain a position in which they treat clients in clinical settings, a higher level degree is necessary.