Clinical Psychology Training Requirements
Considering clinical psychology? Becoming a clinical psychologist is a very rewarding career choice. The job opportunities vary for someone with a clinical psychology degree, ranging from independent practices and research facilities to school systems and hospital settings to teaching and counseling positions. But, one thing is consistent regardless of the career path you choose: the training requirements include years of schooling and practical experience.
Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology
Not all programs require a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Some clinical psychology programs do, in fact, require a B.A. in psychology to enter into a master’s or doctoral program, but some will accept a student who has a bachelor’s degree in a related field or one who has related experience. Whether it is a prerequisite or not, work in the clinical psychology field can only be enhanced by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology
Having a master’s degree in clinical psychology means you can work in more advanced settings than someone with only a bachelor’s degree. Getting a master’s in clinical psychology means about two years of graduate level course at an accredited university. Often, the master’s degree includes experience in a practical setting or an internship, and a master’s thesis is also a requirement.
Specialist Degree in Education
For clinical psychologists who desire to work in a school setting, a specialist degree in school psychology is often required. This combines psychology and education training to help prepare a future school clinical psychologist for their job. Two years of graduate level studies are generally required for this degree, along with an internship that usually lasts about a year.
Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology
In the field of clinical psychology, having a doctoral degree is the ultimate achievement. This degree requires approximately 5 years of full time work in graduate level courses. In some programs, a dissertation is required, but in others, the degree may be awarded after competency has been demonstrated by practical work and/or examinations. Some clinical jobs also prefer candidates to have a year of supervised work experience after they receive their doctoral degree.
Most states require a license to practice, and education is part of the requirement process to obtain your license. Also, clinical psychology experience in a practical setting and an examination are also mandatory to receive a license. Additionally, depending on your location, continued education may also be a requirement to keep your license.
Because the career possibilities for someone considering clinical psychology are wide and varying, the education and training requirements also differ. Depending on the level you wish to achieve in your career, you have options in the level of education you receive. No matter which path you choose, you will spend at least 4, if not as many as 9 years in an educational setting, with internships and post graduate experience added to that. However, the rewards you reap from your commitment to your education will more than make up for the time and energy you spend in school, not to mention the elite status you will share with only a select few others.