Clinical Psychologist Educational Requirements

This articles details about the various necessary requirements to meet to become a qualified clinical psychological requirements.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 12th June 2020

If you are someone who is interested in getting into the healthcare industry, then psychology could be your interest. There are a number of psychology fields to treat different concerns among which the clinical psychology is the largest. 

Before entering this career path, you must be well aware about the education requirements , career requirements to land in this profession.

With a job growth of 20-28% increase through 2020, there are various opportunities to work at hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics or government agencies.

If you are willing to become a clinical psychologist, there are simple steps you need to follow to meet the education requirements. Go through this article to understand the qualification for this  profession and much more. 

Clinical psychologist requirements

The minimum educational degree required for this occupation is to earn a doctoral degree in a specific relevant field such as psychology, education, anthropology or other. The reason behind  doctoral degree being a requirement is due to the absence of a master's degree offered at colleges. After completing your education you must also aim at gaining license to practice medicine legally. 

You must research well about requirements and time taken to meet these requirements to plan your career path accordingly. 


Bachelor’s degree

An undergraduate degree in psychology can take about 4 years which offers credits to complete general and core coursework namely Anatomy, Biology, Communications, Sociology, Statistics, Mathematics, Research Methods, History and Anthropology. You acquire the prerequisites necessary to pursue further education and also internship opportunities to gain experience.

The potential programs in psychology are offered by Pepperdine University, Southern New Hampshire University, Capella University


Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is an advanced degree which gives in-depth knowledge on related courses such as behavioural analysis, counseling, social work, clinical psychology, evaluation and researching methods. A master’s degree is always not necessary and you could skip this steps and earn a doctoral degree instead.  Some master’s degree programs you could are, 

  • Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology

  • Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Psychology

  • Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Psychology

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

  • Master of Science (MS) in Psychology


Doctorate Degree

As a minimum requirement to become a clinical psychologist, a doctorate degree usually consists of diverse coursework for your specialisation such as addiction and recovery psychology, therapeutic courses, research, experimental methods and other. Thee two popular doctoral degrees you can pursue are,

  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) 

  • Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology)

We recommend you graduate from a program accredited by American Psychological Association (APA) to meet the standard quality of education. 


Internships & Licensing

Most institutions provide internship opportunities for prospective psychologists to gain experience on the practical techniques. This experience also adds up to the total experience gained for applying for a state license. According to the state requirements, the amount of experience required to practice treatment of patients under an experienced profession is typically 9-12 months.  

To earn the license, you must clear the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and other additional exams as specified by the state. Another thing to remember is,you are required to maintain the license  by continuing education for a certain period of time at intervals. 


Certification

Certification is necessary to demonstrate the skills possessed by you to enhance your credibility and employability of his profession.  Some state regulations also state that to become a clinical psychologist you require a license or a certification in relevant concentration. You could gain certification in 13 areas such as clinical health, couple and family, psychoanalysis, or rehabilitation. 


Skills required

To stand out as a clinical psychologist, there are certain additional key skills required to be induced. They are as follows,

  • Critical thinking

  • Cultural diversity awareness

  • Decision making

  • Strong knowledge on psychology

  • Researching methods

  • Communication skills

  • Computer knowledge 


Conclusion

Completing all these requirements will lead you directly to professionalism and becoming successful as a clinical psychologist. Even if it is a time consuming process, the wait is worth it after landing at a high paying job. Finally we can say that this path is challenging, rewarding as well as fulfilling.