Studying Clinical Psychology

I’m interested in studying clinical psychology. What can you tell me?

Clinical psychology is the science that studies and tries to understand mental illness. Most professionals in clinical psychology diagnose and treat clients by providing psychotherapy and other treatments. Some professionals conduct or assist with research and others teach. Clinical psychology is a rewarding field for those who enjoy helping others. You can look forward to growing job opportunities, good pay and comfortable workplaces. For the 34% of psychologists who are self-employed, setting your own work hours is another benefit. However, there is also stress from working with mentally and emotionally disturbed people. If you are considering studying clinical psychology, you can pursue a masters degree or a doctoral degree. In order to be a licensed psychologist, you will need a doctoral degree. This is a long road, requiring at least 9 years of study after high school, and often involving significant debt. You can also work in the field with only a masters degree, but this route still requires 6 to 7 years of post-secondary education.

Let's hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Nicole Lehman Russell

Nicole Lehman Russell

Student, Master of Science in Clinical Psychology/Child and Adolescent Development,Capella University

“The biggest drawback of pursuing my masters degree in psychology online is the lack of quality feedback from my professors.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Melissa Tarantola

Melissa Tarantola

Student, Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology,University of Missouri

“In order to succeed in a clinical psychology PhD program, students need to be passionate. PhD students not only endure an intense workload but also sacrifice most of their free time, so it is crucial to have a deep interest in the subject matter.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Scott Lilienfeld

Scott Lilienfeld

Professor of Clinical Psychology,Emory University

“Clinical psychology is an unusual hybrid of science and the desire to nurture people, so it is helpful if students are scientifically curious but also interested in alleviating suffering.”Read the Full Interview

Clinical Psychologist Overview

Clinical Psychologist,Keith SannanburgWatch His Story
video

What exactly is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists assess and diagnose patients for mental, emotional and behavioral problems. They offer treatment for conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and phobias. Clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists perform similar work, but clinical psychology traditionally has an orientation toward people with serious or persistent mental illness. Clinical psychologists often specialize in certain types of treatment, such as behavioral therapy or family therapy, or in certain kinds of problems, such as addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder. Another way to specialize is by focusing on a group of the population, such as children or the elderly. Clinical psychologists work in private offices, clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and community health centers. Most clinical psychologists treat patients, but some conduct research and teach psychology students in colleges and universities.

Let's hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Robert Puff

Robert Puff

Clinical Psychologist,Private Practice

“In order to be a successful clinical psychologist, you need to be a good role model. By practicing what you preach and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can inspire your patients to do the same.”Read the Full Interview

An Interview with Burton Danet

Burton Danet

Founder,A Better Community for All

“If one’s interests lead to working in the profession of clinical psychology, students are well advised to seek out and engage in activities that help them balance their life.”Read the Full Interview

Personality Quiz

How do I know if clinical psychology would be a good fit for me?

Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as a clinical psychologist. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.

I am attentive to other people and a good listener.

Clinical psychologists spend a big part of their workday listening to clients. To be a clinical psychologist, you will have to listen attentively, understand what other people are saying and ask appropriate questions.]

[question]I enjoy helping people work out their problems.[/question]

[answer]Clinical psychologists help people find solutions to their problems. If you enjoy counseling people, clinical psychology may be a good choice for you.

I am resilient and handle stress well.

Working with people who have mental illnesses or who are dealing with troubling circumstances can be taxing. In order to help your patients, you will need to be able to make good decisions even under stress.

I am patient and can wait for results.

Psychological treatment can take a long time. You will have to remain motivated even when progress is slow.

I can express my thoughts and feelings in words.

Clinical psychologists write reports and research papers, restate clients’ feelings, and transcribe chart notes. You will need excellent speaking and writing skills as a clinical psychologist.

I am perceptive and pay attention to indirect communication.

People do not always express their feelings directly. You must understand body language and unspoken words to help your clients.

I am a discreet person who can keep a secret.

Discretion is vital when treating clients, who are sharing their innermost thoughts with you. You must not reveal your clients’ confidential information except when mandated by law or professional ethics.

I am open-minded and can see things from many perspectives.

In psychology, many perspectives are valid. Having the ability to see things from many points of view will make you a better clinical psychologist.

I am not judgmental of other people’s ideas and actions.

During psychological treatment, clients make themselves emotionally vulnerable. If you are judgmental, your clients will not open up to you and you will not be effective as a clinical psychologist.

I am creative and can think of many solutions to a problem.

During psychological treatment, 1 approach may not work or a client may not be willing to try it. You will need to think of multiple solutions to address a psychological problem.

Get My Score

*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful clinical psychologist.

By my assessment, a career in clinical psychology is probably not a good fit for your personality. Please go to the Admissions Advisor homepage for a listing of other careers you may want to consider.

By my assessment, although a career in clinical psychology may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.

By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in clinical psychology. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.

Making the Right Choice

Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if clinical psychology is the right choice for me?

In deciding whether clinical psychology is the right choice for you, consider your ability to complete a doctoral degree. This will take many years of education beyond high school and require many hours of schoolwork, including conducting research and working in a therapeutic setting, in addition to high tuition rates and potentially accruing student debt.

Internships

During a PhD or PsyD program, students must complete an internship in order to fulfill their degree requirements. But it is becoming harder to find internships for psychology graduate students. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that there is an internship crisis among psychology graduate students. As of 2012, 23% of students who requested an internship were not placed at an internship site. Completing an internship is required for most doctoral students in order to graduate, and it is also required by most states in order to be licensed as a practicing psychologist.

Cost and Student Debt

The cost for a doctoral degree can be high. In the American Psychological Association 2009 Doctorate Employment Survey, 78.8% of doctoral recipients in clinical psychology reported having debt related to their graduate education. In that group, the average amount of debt was $120,000 for PsyD graduates and $68,000 for PhD graduates.

Clinical Psychology Professions

What clinical psychology professions can I choose from?

Some of the most common professions for those with a clinical psychology degree include:

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) plus professional experience (1 –2 years)

Average Salary:

$87,015

Work Environment:

Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, community health centers

Job Description:

Clinical psychologists help clients with addictions, mental disorders and emotional disturbances. They perform assessments to determine the nature of the client’s distress by conducting interviews and administering psychological tests. Clinical psychologists perform treatment such as psychotherapy, family therapy and cognitive retraining. Clinical psychologists also provide consultations to other healthcare professionals. Some clinical psychologists develop and administer prevention and treatment programs for communities and residents of treatment facilities.

Education Required:

Masters (2 – 3 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$52,001

Work Environment:

Mental health clinics, treatment centers, rehabilitation facilities, private practice

Job Description:

Clinical therapists provide therapy to individuals and groups to treat mental health problems such as eating disorders and substance abuse. Clinical therapists are often licensed as therapists, counselors or social workers. In a large facility, they work under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. They provide counseling and education to clients and their families.

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) plus professional experience (1 –2 years)

Average Salary:

$85,000

Work Environment:

Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities

Job Description:

Health psychologists help patients deal with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer and chronic pain and with short-term health problems such as major surgery. They assess the patient’s psychological condition, educate patients and fellow healthcare professionals and provide therapy to the patient. Some health psychologists develop programs to address health issues such as substance abuse or teen pregnancy.

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) plus post-doctoral training (2 years)

Average Salary:

$85,000

Work Environment:

Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities

Job Description:

Clinical neuropsychologists examine the relationship between the function of the brain and a person’s behavior. They work with clients who have suffered brain injuries and who have conditions that affect the nervous system such as vascular disorders and Parkinson’s disease. Clinical neuropsychologists perform assessments of patients, diagnose brain disorders, provide treatment and help rehabilitate patients.

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) plus professional experience (1 –2 years)

Average Salary:

$92,000

Work Environment:

Private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities

Job Description:

Geropsychologists help elderly clients and their families to maintain mental and emotional health. Common psychological issues among the elderly are depression, anxiety, insomnia and dementia. Geropsychologists also help with issues that affect both the elderly and their family members, such as strains on the family from caregiving, adjusting to changing roles and abilities, end-of-life care and grief.

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school) plus professional experience (1 –2 years)

Average Salary:

$85,000

Work Environment:

Private practice, mental health clinics, schools, pediatric hospitals, public health agencies

Job Description:

Clinical child psychologists provide psychological assessment and treatment for children and adolescents. They deal with children who have conditions such as schizophrenia, autism and developmental disorders. Clinical child psychologists treat children who have acquired substance abuse problems and those who were born as drug-addicted newborns. They also work with children and their families coping with trauma as a result of disasters such as hurricanes or bombings.

Education Required:

Doctorate (4 – 7 years of graduate school)

Average Salary:

$109,437

Work Environment:

Colleges and universities

Job Description:

Professors of clinical psychology teach courses to college and university students. They prepare the course syllabus and teach courses in traditional classrooms and online. They may also provide clinical supervision to graduate students and conduct their own research.

Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for clinical psychologists?

The job outlook for clinical psychologists is good. In 2010 there were 154,300 clinical, school and counseling psychologists employed in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections for this group of psychologists, by 2020 there will be an additional 33,700 jobs, which is an increase of 22%. More clinical psychologists will be needed for the aging population and other special groups such as trauma survivors and people with autism. There will also be demand for psychologists who work in teams with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Psychologists who have doctoral degrees will have the best job prospects.
Profession Employment Projected Average Growth

Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011

Profession 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Salary By Percentile

Profession 10th 25th 50th 75th 90th

Education Requirements

How long would it take me to become a clinical psychologist?

It will take you at least 10 years of education after high school to become a clinical psychologist. In this time you would obtain your bachelors degree, earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and complete 1 to 2 years of professional experience. This would qualify you to apply for state licensing, which is required to practice psychology.

You can work as a clinical therapist with only a masters degree in clinical psychology, but you will face competition in finding a job and advancement opportunities will be limited. If you choose this route, you may be able to start working in the field after 6 years of post-secondary education.

Areas of Study

What can I expect to learn while studying clinical psychology?

As a clinical psychology student, you can expect to grow in both knowledge and skills.

Knowledge

Psychopathology

Psychopathology studies disruptions in behavior, emotion or thought processes. The field can be divided by types of disorders. For example, mood disorders include bipolar disorder, in which the person affected experiences a cycle of emotions alternating between elation and depression. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Other types of disorders include lifespan disorders, substance use disorders, eating and sleeping disorders and schizophrenia and related conditions.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is the study of how the mind works through mental processes including attention, language use, memory, perception and reasoning. The mind perceives information, pays attention to some of it, then organizes and stores it in memory. Information retrieved from memory is communicated to others through language use and expanded through reasoning. Cognitive psychology includes theories, called models, of how mental processes work. For example, the stage model of memory proposes that people have 3 stages of memory including sensory, short term and long term.

Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between human behavior and the functioning of the brain. Adult neuropsychology deals with neurological conditions such as aneurysms, brain infections, head trauma and dementia. Other adult patients may have disorders that appear neurological but are really psychiatric in nature, such as depression and psychosis. Medical patients in neuropsychology may have dementia or another illness that complicates the management of the patient’s medical problems. Child neuropsychology often addresses learning disabilities and chemical dependency.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology is the study of changes in mental, emotional and behavioral patterns as people age. It focuses on the connection between physical and psychological processes throughout a person’s entire lifespan. Topics within developmental psychology include changes in family relationships and people’s values. Child psychology is 1 subject within developmental psychology. Child psychology examines the social and mental development of children and adolescents. Courses in developmental and child psychology will reveal how psychotherapy techniques, including interviewing and providing treatment, are different for children than they are for adults.

Professional Ethics

Professional ethics is the application of moral values to professional practice. In clinical psychology there are many ethical issues, such as how to protect clients from self-harm and how to protect other people from dangerous clients. This field also includes issues of client confidentiality and maintaining boundaries with clients. Clinical psychology clients may be so ill that they are unable to understand their condition. Professional ethics addresses the question of how such clients can give informed consent to treatment.

Skills

Psychological Assessment

As you study clinical psychology, you will gain skills in psychological assessment. You will learn to determine the nature, causes and effects of personal distress, social dysfunctions and mental disorders. Aptitude tests are an assessment technique that measure traits such as verbal comprehension, logical reasoning and visual perception. Personality tests such as the Rorschach inkblot test are used to reveal psychological dynamics. You will also be trained in conducting clinical interviews to evaluate a person’s mood, comprehension and thought processes.

Psychological Interventions

Your clinical psychology coursework will teach you about interventions, which are methods of preventing and treating psychological problems. Psychotherapy is a common intervention that often focuses on early childhood experiences. Another intervention technique is cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing patterns of behavior and thought, with an emphasis on the person’s current life. Exposure therapy helps people confront their fears through controlled exposure to the things they fear.

Professional Communication

Your studies in clinical psychology will teach you strong communication skills. In your career, you will communicate extensively with clients, clients’ families and other healthcare professionals. You will learn one-on-one and group communication for professional tasks such as psychotherapy, family counseling sessions and meetings with other members of a client’s healthcare team. You will also learn to write notes for clients’ charts, research papers and case studies.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is a skill that you will learn as you progress through your education in clinical psychology. You will learn to help clients work through their immediate difficulties as well as to improve psychological practices in all areas of an individual’s life, including the workplace, social situations and school. You will be trained to analyze challenging situations calmly, efficiently and productively, so you can best help your patients maintain mental health.

Research and Statistical Analysis

As a clinical psychology student, you will discover how to locate and evaluate information about human psychology. You will be trained in a variety of research methods, including observing people, conducting experiments and giving surveys. You will also learn how to take a valid statistical sample and how to perform analysis on your research data. One you learn these skills and methods, you can apply them to current research in the field to make conclusions and critiques of other studies.

Academic Degrees

What academic levels are available in the field of clinical psychology?

The academic levels available in clinical psychology are masters and doctoral degrees. A doctoral degree is required to become a licensed clinical psychologist. A masters degree in clinical psychology will qualify you to work as a clinical therapist or as an assistant to a clinical psychologist. You can also use a masters degree as a stepping stone into a doctoral program.

Select the degree level you are interested in:

  • Master’s
  • Doctorate

Masters Degree

A masters degree in clinical psychology provides you with broad training in mental illness and serious psychological problems. With a masters degree, you can provide therapy or work in an administrative or educational function. You can also continue your education with a doctoral degree. The 1 thing you will not be able to do with only a masters degree in clinical psychology is to become a licensed psychologist. However, you may become a licensed therapist or counselor, depending on your state’s licensing requirements.

What are the different types of masters degrees that I can earn in clinical psychology?

Master of Arts MA

An MA degree in clinical psychology technically has a greater focus on liberal arts education, but in practice, this degree is comparable to an MS degree. This degree is a good choice for students who want to work as social workers, licensed therapists or counselors, or who want to continue their studies with a doctoral degree.

Master of Science MS

In theory, an MS degree in clinical psychology has a greater focus on science, assessment and research. However, this degree is similar to an MA degree. It is a good choice for students who want to work as social workers, licensed therapists or counselors, as well as students who have an interest in research.

How long will I have to study to earn my masters degree in clinical psychology?

It takes 2 to 3 years of full-time study to obtain a masters degree in clinical psychology. Programs vary in their requirements from 35 to 65 credit hours.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my masters degree in clinical psychology?

As a clinical psychology masters student, you can expect to take courses in psychological theories, developmental psychology and therapeutic methods of clinical psychology. Your coursework will prepare you to assess and treat behaviors labeled abnormal and to make diagnoses. You will conduct research and analyze the research of others.

Additionally, some programs require students to complete a masters thesis, while others offer the choice between a thesis and non-thesis route. If you are interested in attaining your doctorate, a thesis option is a good idea. If you plan to find a job as soon as you graduate, the non-thesis route is a good choice, since it offers more practical application courses and fieldwork.

Finally, some masters degree programs allow students to specialize in a particular area of clinical psychology, such as family therapy or addiction treatment. If you choose to specialize, many of your courses will be focused on that particular field.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a masters degree in clinical psychology?

With a masters degree in clinical psychology, you can work in a variety of mental health and social service facilities. You can provide counseling or perform administrative tasks. Some workplaces for masters degree graduates include psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse facilities, domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, university counseling centers and crisis centers. You can also work in private practice as a therapist or counselor.

You can continue your education by pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or another field of psychology. With a doctoral degree, you will be qualified to become a licensed psychologist.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my masters degree in clinical psychology?

When deciding on a school to earn your masters degree in clinical psychology, consider accreditation and preparation for doctoral study.

The American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit masters degree programs. However, if a school offers an APA-accredited doctoral degree program in clinical psychology, that tells you the school meets commonly accepted standards for education in the field. Therefore, you should look for schools that are APA-accredited at the doctoral level when deciding on a school for your masters degree.

If you plan to continue your education with a doctoral degree, you should choose a masters degree program that will best prepare you for that route. For instance, a masters degree program that offers a thesis option and has well-published and well-regarded faculty members might help you get into doctoral programs. It is important to remember that doctoral program admission is highly competitive.

What are the requirements for admission to a masters degree program in clinical psychology?

In addition to the general admissions requirements for graduate school, about 90% of clinical psychology graduate programs require that applicants submit scores from the General Record Examination (GRE) Psychology subject test. For most schools, the average minimum score to be considered for clinical psychology is 650 on the GRE Psychology subject test, and 600 for any 1 section of the GRE general test. A small number of programs require applicants to take the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). The average minimum MAT score required is 70.

Furthermore, many psychology graduate programs require applicants to have a bachelors degree in psychology. Schools that do not have this requirement typically require admitted students to complete prerequisite psychology courses, in addition to curriculum requirements.

What about getting an online masters degree in clinical psychology?

Pursuing a clinical psychology masters degree online is not recommended. First, much of what you need to learn, such as counseling methods, requires direct interaction with others in the program. Online clinical psychology programs do not provide these opportunities. If you plan to offer therapy, you may need to be licensed in your state as a therapist, and your state may not accept an online masters degree as satisfying the educational requirement. You should check with your state board of licensing before considering an online clinical psychology masters degree. Additionally, if you plan to pursue a doctorate, you will need convincing letters of recommendation from your professors. Forming strong relationships with your professors is much easier to do when attending an on-campus program than when attending an online clinical psychology program.

Doctorate

Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology provide specialized training in research and practice of clinical psychology. Doctoral program graduates are qualified for the largest number of job opportunities, practicing psychology in hospitals, counseling centers, correctional facilities and private practice. Doctoral graduates can also become professors.

What are the different types of doctorates that I can earn in clinical psychology?

Doctor of Philosophy PhD

The PhD is a research degree. This option is a good choice for students pursuing careers in teaching and research. You will also have the option of practicing psychology with this degree.

Doctor of Psychology PsyD

The PsyD is a professional degree. This option is a good choice for students who are interested in practicing psychology in a healthcare facility or in private practice.

How long will I have to study to earn my doctorate in clinical psychology?

The length of time it takes to complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology depends on the type of degree and the requirements of the specific degree program. To complete a PhD in clinical psychology, it takes 4 to 7 years and 80 to 120 credit hours beyond the bachelors degree. If you hold a masters degree in clinical psychology, completing your PhD will require 18 to 30 fewer credits than if you only hold a bachelors degree. To complete a PsyD in clinical psychology, it takes 5 to 6 years and 120 to 130 credit hours.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my doctorate in clinical psychology?

While studying for your doctoral degree in clinical psychology, you will take courses in subjects such as psychopathology, psychological assessment, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology and therapeutic techniques. You will also have plenty of opportunity to study in your chosen field of specialty, such as geropsychology or health psychology. You will learn research and analytical techniques and study the current body of research in your field. Several of your classes will be practicums, in which you gain work experience in a school clinic or counseling center.

If you pursue a PhD program, much of your time will be spent on your own research, in preparation for your book-length dissertation. You will probably also gain some teaching experience by working as a teaching assistant. Some PsyD programs also require research and a dissertation. However, PsyD programs emphasize practicums and doctoral exams.

You will also be required to complete an internship as part of your doctoral clinical psychology program. Typically the final year of a PhD or PsyD program is spent in a supervised internship at a healthcare facility or other site approved by the American Psychological Association (APA).

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a doctorate in clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology doctoral graduates qualify for work in a variety of settings, including health care, education and private practice. Health care employment is found in hospitals, mental health clinics, treatment centers, correctional facilities and military healthcare facilities. Clinical psychologists interested in education may find jobs in colleges and universities teaching, conducting research or working in administration. Once they gain enough experience and professional contacts, many clinical psychologists choose to work for themselves or with a few other psychologists in private practices.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my doctorate in clinical psychology?

When deciding on a school to earn your doctoral degree in clinical psychology, you should consider accreditation and your specific area of interest. You should make sure any doctoral degree program you consider is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Without a doctoral degree accredited by the APA, you might not be eligible to apply for licensure.

In addition, your chosen school should reflect your interests and professional plans. For example, if you know you want to work with patients as opposed to working at a university, you should choose a program with a clinical focus rather than a research focus. Similarly, if you are interested in the therapeutic treatment of addiction disorders, choose a school with faculty who are accomplished in this specialization.

What are the requirements for admission to a doctorate program in clinical psychology?

To be admitted into a doctorate program in clinical psychology, you must hold a bachelors degree or a masters degree. Most doctoral programs in clinical psychology require that applicants hold a degree in psychology or a related discipline.

Competition for admission to clinical psychology doctoral programs is fierce. Some schools will have hundreds of applicants, but less than 10 will be admitted. Your application will need to go well beyond the minimum requirements for admission. For a research program, previous research experience will benefit your application. For a program oriented toward clinical practice, experience working with mental health or social service clients will help.

For most clinical psychology doctoral programs, the average minimum GRE score is 650 on the GRE Psychology subject test and 1200 on the GRE general test. A few programs require the completion of the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), with an average minimum score of 70.

What about getting an online doctorate in clinical psychology?

There are serious drawbacks to pursuing a clinical psychology doctorate online. There are currently no fully online clinical psychology programs accredited by the American Psychology Association. If you graduate from a non-accredited school, you will have a difficult time earning your license. In addition, earning a clinical psychology degree online does not allow for the face-to-face contact necessary for learning the skills of professional practice. Direct interaction with others is vital in order to learn how to diagnose and treat clients, as well as in building strong relationships with your faculty mentors. For these reasons, obtaining an online clinical psychology doctorate is not recommended.

Licensing Information

What else should I keep in mind when considering studying clinical psychology?

In most states, you must be licensed to practice psychology or use the title of psychologist. In all states, psychologists must be licensed in order to practice independently. Licensing requirements vary by state, but typically involve the following steps:

  1. Earning a doctorate from an APA-accredited program
  2. Completing an internship as part of the doctoral program
  3. Gaining 1 to 2 years of professional clinical psychology experience
  4. Passing an examination

Once licensed, many states require clinical psychologists to complete continuing education credits for license renewal.

To determine the specific requirements of your state for obtaining and maintaining a psychologist license, contact your state board of psychology or mental health. You can obtain contact information from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) list of member boards.

Questions & Answers

Select a category to find answers to your questions

Resources

What are some other resources that can help me learn more about pursuing a degree in clinical psychology?

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Psychologists

O*NET Online – Clinical Psychologists

American Psychological Association (APA)

APA Society of Clinical Psychology – About Clinical Psychology

American Academy of Clinical Psychology

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards

Psi Chi – The International Honor Society in Psychology