Known as one of the preeminent positions in psychology, clinical psychology is a blend of scientific theory and clinical application, whereby a qualified doctor assesses and assists patients with all sorts of different psychological issues. This is a very abbreviated take on what the practice entails, of course, and the fact is that it could take forever to explain every little nook and cranny of clinical psychology. Many people today are seeking the help of a qualified psychologist, and many would also like to become a psychologist as a career choice. It’s a good career to pursue, as it not only allows individuals to help a lot of other people with psychological issues, but it can also lead to a lucrative career in something like teaching or operating your own practice.
Clinical psychologists are legitimate doctors and are some of the most well-respected professionals in the medical field. Dealing with psychological issues is no picnic, and it’s not as if someone can take some online class or complete a few weeks of training to become a clinical psychologist. This is something that’s going to take a whole lot of time and hard work. Here’s some more information on what it takes to become a practicing clinical psychologist, as in the schooling it requires.
Earning a Doctorate in the Specific Field
The only way to become a practicing clinical psychologist is to possess a PhD in the specific field of clinical psychology. There are all sorts of different psychology doctorates one could theoretically hold; however, only someone in possession of comprehensive education and a clinical psychology doctorate can become a clinical psychologist. This is the number-one requirement, and by law, you would not be allowed to practice clinical psychology unless you possessed a PhD in this field.
Getting that PhD is where the work really needs to be put in. You can ask any of the thousands of clinical psychologists out there, and they will all tell you how difficult it was to come up through the ranks, course after course, en route to a PhD in the discipline. After high school, it’s something that could take nine years or even longer to achieve.
The Road to Clinical Psychology
It Starts in High School
Your path to becoming a clinical psychologist is really going to start in high school. Not that you need to learn anything specific about psychology here, but you’re going to want to get into a good college. And this college has to be an accredited university so that you can continue your climb. So, the best way to get into a good college out of high school is to do well in high school.
A Solid Undergrad Course is Needed
When you get into college for your undergraduate degree, which is likely going to be an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, you don’t necessarily need to find the specific clinical psychology degree, but you still want to think about a doctoral track. This means getting an undergraduate’s degree that’s going to lay the groundwork. Think about going after something that’s general psychology so that you start developing skills before you achieve a diploma here and take the next step.
Earning a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree will quite literally give you a mastery of the subject. This is where you want to really hone in on your future potential practice. If you can, it’s a good idea here to find something that’s specifically clinical psychology, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be yet. In a discipline like biology, for instance, many will take an undergrad in something like microbiology, then switch fields, then their PhD will be in evolutionary biology, e.g.
Becoming a Candidate and Leaving a Doctor
This is where it’s important that you’re specifically lettering in clinical psychology. This is what your doctorate is going to have to be in. You will become a PhD candidate. The idea here is to illustrate that you grasp the discipline, which is why it’s a good idea to go clinical in your master’s as well. If you leave a doctor, then you are literally a clinical psychologist.
This is very hard work and takes a long time, so it’s not for everyone. However, if you wish to become a clinical psychologist, then you will have to go through a lot of schooling.