Clinical psychologists play an important role in today’s society. With the increased awareness about mental health issues, and individuals increasingly suffering from diseases born as a result of stress, psychologists play an integral role in the treatment of mental health concerns. Psychologists interpret cognitive and emotional processes that go on in the human brain and help individuals understand why they react to certain environments positively or negatively. They help resolve conflicts among partners and also help people deal with their traumas.
What is Clinical Psychology?
In simple words, Clinical Psychology in the field of psychology is concerned with the assessment followed by treatment of mental illnesses among patients. The idea is to provide continuous and in-depth consultation for individuals, partners, and families to work towards stabling and improving their mental health.
Clinical Psychology may involve studying emotional, psychological, and behavioral aspects of a human’s personality. It may also involve intervention on different levels and the provision of clinical services.
What jobs can a Clinical Psychologist get?
A clinical psychologist must be passionate about how the human mind works, and be truly interested in how humans interact with each other. They must possess both theoretical and practical knowledge about the human mind and cognition, and should be able to apply their learning in real-life situations.
They may also work as substance abuse counselors, human resource directors, marriage counselors, family counselors, and child psychologists.
If you are a psychologist fresh off your graduation and are looking to advance in your career, given below are seven ways how you can do so:
Get a Masters Degree
With a bachelor’s in psychology, there are limited options and opportunities for experience that you can make use of. You may be required in fields such as human resources, social research and development, and marketing, but your options to work as a clinical psychologist would essentially be limited. Hence, if you are looking to advance in your career, the obvious choice would be to opt for higher education and get your masters degree.
Very few states in the United States allow masters degree holders in psychology to run psychotherapy and assessment under the supervision of a clinical psychologist, and this degree could be your first step toward doing so. Whether you pursue your degree online on campus shouldn’t be a problem.
Get a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
If you already have a graduate degree, you may want to look into pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology, which would help you further advance in your career and possibly open up your practice. A PhD in clinical psychology would place a great emphasis on the research aspect of your practice and would allow you to make a name for yourself in the world of psychology through unique and well-conducted research papers.
If your degree research places an exceptional focus on business and organizations, you would be open to additional avenues such as working as a consultant or a political strategist.
Get a license to operate as a psychologist
Most states in the United States allow individuals to become licensed psychologists after their doctorate in clinical psychology. While the specific requirements differ from state to state, the general criteria require a doctorate and passing the Professional Practice of Psychology exam. This is a 225-question-long MCQ exam and is conducted by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
You would also have to first acquire 2000 hours of clinical hours under supervision after your graduation and receive 2000 more after your PhD. However, the exact number of hours may vary according to the state you are hoping to practice in.
Get specialist certification from the ABPP
While a specialist certification isn’t necessary to run your practice, it sure does help build credibility and trust within your target audience. Specialist certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology in any of the fifteen areas such as school and adolescent psychology would help you market yourself better in a certain niche.
Selecting a niche to market yourself is likely to be more beneficial than simply operating as a general clinical psychologist as people are actively looking for psychologists who specialize in a certain field or issue. Specializing would allow you to charge more for your services, and truly create a mark within the field.
Working as a full-time clinical psychologist in your practice is truly a feat to achieve. Running your practice would require you to attain multiple degrees, undergo hours of training, and complete many certifications. No matter how difficult all of this may seem, it will be worth it as all your work would help you advance in your career and make a name for yourself in the field of clinical psychology.
If you do not see yourself running your practice in the future, these degrees and certifications are likely to help you succeed in other related avenues and job roles.