Today’s hectic lifestyle causes many people to experience psychological problems. This prompts them to seek help from professionals, such as clinical psychologists. Due to demand for their help, many students want to learn more about this profession. Some of them may ask, “How do I become a clinical psychologist?”
Clinical psychologists use clinical judgment from the scientific discipline of clinical psychology in their practice. Clinical practice involves assessment, treatment and prevention of psychological problems of their clients or patients. For instance, a clinical psychologist helps a depressed woman to self-regulate her mood more effectively.
In order to become a clinical psychologist, a candidate must understand the roles of the profession. This includes working directly and indirectly with clients and patients, performing clinical supervision, providing training and consulting with colleagues and teaching. Additionally, they perform administrative work, write reports of clinical sessions and set their appointment schedule.
Candidates who want to become a clinical psychologist must acquire a Ph.D in psychology or Psy.D. In order to attain a Ph.D degree, students must conduct original research, complete a dissertation, perform a one year long internship and pass a comprehensive examination. On the other hand, a candidate who does not want to perform research and write a dissertation can obtain a Psy.D degree. This degree can be obtained through an evaluation of practical work and an examination.
After graduation, one who seeks to become a clinical psychologist must acquire a license or certificate from the state where they seek to practice. For most states, the prospective licensee must complete one to two years of internship in a professional setting. They can perform their internship by working under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. Additionally, they must pass the Professional Practice in Psychology examination. Many states also require continuing education to keep the license.
Other than having a degree and license, a person who wants to become a clinical psychologist must have strong people skills. This profession also requires them to have good listening and communication skills, patience and be trustworthy. Additionally, they need to have analytical and problem solving skills to develop solutions.
In 2010, the median annual wage for clinical psychologists was $66,810. Employment as a clinical psychologist is expected to grow by 22 percent in the decade from 2010 to 2020, making this profession one of fastest growing occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of professionals in the field of psychology, including clinical psychology, is expected to increase from 154,300 in 2010 to 188,000 in 2020. Many clinical psychologists work in universities conducting research, and teach and supervise graduate students. They also work in hospitals, clinics, schools, government agencies, mental health and community health centers and rehabilitation facilities. In these settings, they work full time or in shifts. However, many clinical psychologists decide to open a private practice. By doing this, they can set their own hours and schedule, and meet clients outside of regular business hours. With the expected increasing number of jobs, the prospect to become a clinical psychologist is bright.