Clinical Psychology Degree
Individuals with a desire to work with people and help them resolve problems in their lives may want to consider a degree in clinical psychology. The field of psychology, in a broad sense, is concerned with the study of human behavior in an attempt to understand how the human mind works and controls the body. Clinical psychology arose in the late 19th century as scientists sought to apply psychology to helping those individuals suffering from mental disorders. Clinical psychology has grown since that time to include educating, researching, and developing treatments based upon mental disorders that people suffer from.
Clinical psychologists work in one of two broad career fields which contain more specialized areas of work. Generally speaking clinical psychologists work either in the field of research, where they seek to discover ways to combat mental disorders or recognize new ones; or they work in the field of treatment administering help to individuals suffering from mental disorders. Regardless of the path an individual follows, they must first go through years of schooling to earn a proper education and certification to practice their craft.
Before any individual considers a career in clinical psychology they should make sure they are capable of meeting the requirements, both educationally and mentally, to be successful. Clinical psychology is one of the most exciting and popular career fields within psychology, individuals should be able to handle stress and conflict as well as enjoy working with people if they are going to pursue a clinical psychology degree. Those interested in clinical psychology should be prepared for nearly a decade of schooling in order to earn a Doctorate in their field in order to practice.
The first step for anyone interested in a career in clinical psychology is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in psychology. Individuals may be able to earn a different Bachelor’s degree so long as it is a related field to psychology. For the most part there is no focused clinical psychology degree offered at the Bachelor’s level. The first focused clinical psychology degree is available at the Master’s level. In order to practice clinical psychology an individual will need to complete their education with one of the following degrees:
- Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
- Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D)
Both clinical psychology degrees are appropriate stepping stones to a career in clinical psychology. However, the type of degree an individual pursues will determine whether they end up treating patients or working in a more research oriented field. PhD programs often have a greater focus on research related to mental diseases, disorders, and associated behavior. A Psy.D program on the other hand prepares students to treat individuals first hand who are suffering from mental diseases and disorders.
When looking for a program individuals need to make sure that the school’s program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Students will undergo four to six years of intense course work followed by a required work experience in a clinical setting. For those pursuing a Psy.D program with the intent of practicing, they will also need to acquire a license to practice from the state they wish to operate in. Requirements for licensure vary from state to state but generally include the successful completion of an examination and sometimes even an oral exam.