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Clinical Psychology: About the Profession and Educational Process

April 20, 2014
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The world is ripe with wonderful and exciting careers. One such career that has garnered a great deal of popularity lately is clinical psychology. According to the Society of Clinical Psychology, clinical psychology “focuses on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of human functioning across the life span, in varying cultures, and at all socioeconomic levels.” Essentially, those that are employed as clinical psychologists have the central role of using both professional and scientific knowledge to enhance human welfare.

Specializations


As clinical psychologists focus on human welfare, their work can lead them into specializing in a number of human centered fields. A few of the main specializations that a clinical psychologist will find themselves in include research, teaching, program development, public policy, and consultation. In addition, clinical psychologists have the option to specialize in the psychological welfare of individuals and families.

Furthermore, as clinical psychologists specialize in a certain field, the psychologist will find him or herself dedicating a portion of their work to assessing and treating mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders. The age groups that are studied and treated vary, and are usually case dependent. However, the clinical psychologist also has the option to choose to focus on a specific age group such as toddlers, teenagers, young adults, and full adults.

Education

The process and requirements that are needed in order to practice as a clinical psychologist vary from country to country. These requirements are geared toward the requirements in the United States.

Bachelor’s Degree: The process beings at the university or community college that is an accredited institution. The most beneficial area of study is psychology, with a minor in another science. To supplement the theory that is learned during college, it is best to find an internship that can enrich your experience and knowledge of the field. Assistant programs are also a great asset.

Graduate School: Attaining a high GPA is key in being accepted to a stellar graduate program in psychology (that, and a high GRE exam score). Therefore, be keen to study well during undergraduate years. There are many graduate psychology programs available, and therefore it is up to the individual to choose what suits them best. However, note that while any graduate program is sufficient, it is recommended to aim for a high ranking in order to increase job prospects and the chances of a better learning experience.

Clinical Training: Post graduate school requires 2 years of clinical training with a licensed psychologist. These two years will mold the skills needed to become a practicing clinical psychologist.

Time Frame: Graduate school at a clinical psychology program should span about 5 years, and coupled with undergrad and clinical training, there is a total of 11 years spend on attaining the credentials to become a clinical psychologist. But these years taken to study and learn are well worth it, as there is a strong career outlook for individuals who decide to venture into this field.

Career Outlook

According to the American Psychological Association, the career outlook for the field of psychology is “partly sunny.” Between now and the year of 2018, there is an expected growth of 11% in the need for clinical psychologists. The salary for those that decide to go into the field is also quite promising. A clinical psychologist can expect to earn anywhere between $40,000 and $110,000. The average clinical psychologist earns around $70,000 per year. These salaries are consistent throughout a number of areas such as federal government, local government, state government, and the private sector.

Resources

For more information about the profession of clinical psychology, you can visit the following website
http://www.apa.org/