Clinical Psychology Degree
One of the largest specializations of psychology, clinical psychology contains many sub-specialties. Professionals learn to diagnose and treat mental disorders. They also may make recommendations to patients about possible preventative measures to take.
Because the scope of clinical psychology is very general, different sub-specialties exist to treat certain types of patients or to study aspects of clinical psychology. These include:
- Child psychology
- Health psychology
A doctoral degree is usually the minimum for a clinical psychologist to practice independently. For clinical psychologists looking to work for the federal government, a bachelor’s degree and 24 credit hours of psychology coursework may suffice for some entry-level jobs. Competition for these job openings is highly competitive because they are accessible to people who do not have a doctorate. Generally, a doctorate is considered the standard for most jobs.
Clinical psychology degree programs should be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). APA accreditation covers doctoral-level programs in clinical psychology, as well as counseling and school psychology.
After graduation, clinical psychologists need a license in order to practice in all 50 states. Licensing requirements can vary by state, but common requirements are:
- A doctoral degree
- A supervised internship
- Work experience (generally 1 to 2 years)
An examination will be given with oral and written elements. License renewal usually requires that clinical psychologists submit continuing education credits. A license is typically required for any kind of insurance reimbursement from Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance.
Additionally, Louisiana and New Mexico both require that clinical psychologists who will prescribe medicine pass extra requirements. They must complete a post-doctorate master’s degree in psychopharmacology and then pass a national examination approved by their state boards.
The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) grants certifications to all psychologists. Such certifications can improve a resume and assist a professional in receiving a promotion or raise.
ABPP certifications can be applied for in:
- Clinical health
- Forensic psychology
- Group psychology
- School psychology
Certifications typically require a doctorate, experience in the certification field, and passing an examination.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that all psychologists had an average salary of $64,140 in May of 2008. The middle 50% of psychologists earned between $48,700 and $82,800 in yearly salaries. Private practice clinical psychologists had moderately higher average salaries than hourly clinical psychologists.
Roughly 31% of all psychologists belonged to a union in 2008. Union psychologists typically earned slightly more in average salary than non-union psychologists.
Standard benefits were common for nearly all psychologists. About 34% of all psychologists were self-employed or owned their own practice. Those who did own their own practice set their own benefits packages. More successful practices had better benefits. Group practices with more than one psychologist had better benefits than average as well.