Psychology is a very vast field that deals with the intensive study of human nature and experiences especially the aspects related to the human mind, consciousness, memory, personality, language, and mental health.
If you have an interest in reading and studying human nature then clinical psychology is the perfect field for you. Clinical psychology specifically deals with diagnosing and assessing mental health issues. If you are searching for ways how to become a clinical psychologist? Then you have landed on the right page. We will be discussing clinical psychology and how to become a clinical psychologist in great detail, so read along.
What is meant by clinical psychology?
Clinical psychology is defined as the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of illnesses that are attributed to the brain. Behavioral problems and emotional instability.
There are many ways by which these mental illnesses can be treated by clinical psychologists such as the humanistic perspective, psychodynamic approach, cognitive-behavioral perspective, and a lot more.
Clinical psychologists, apart from treating their patients, also participate actively in testing and research projects. They can teach psychology as well.
How long will it take to become a clinical psychologist?
Clinical psychologists are the experts in dealing with psychological problems. They require specialized training along with specific education requirements. It takes quite some time for a person to become a clinical psychologist.
Clinical psychologists require undergraduate, graduate, and then doctorate degrees. This education requirement is completed in about 8 to 12 years, depending upon the specific program a person got himself enrolled in and whether the studies were done full time or part-time.
Apart from the education they require additional training as well as licensing before they can start practicing and treating patients as clinical psychologists.
How to become a clinical psychologist?
If you want to become a clinical psychologist and take this field as your profession then you need to follow the below steps in order to achieve this goal. Read these steps which we have already concise for you for a better understanding.
Step 1: Complete your education – a doctoral degree in the field of clinical psychology
The first step in pursuit of becoming a clinical psychologist is to complete your education. You need to get a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. To be a certified clinical psychologist, you need to have this level of education or have a Psy D. or a Ph.D. degree.
It is very important for your research before applying for a doctoral degree. You will have to research which schools nearby are good enough and also offer this course apart from analyzing other necessary information like the basic requirements, the time schedule, and the application requirements.
You can apply for the course which is closest to what you want to achieve and gels well with your interest and need. This means selecting that program which is according to the specialties you want to study along with the time duration of the program and the location which should be nearest to you.
It is also important to realize that you should have completed a bachelor’s or a master’s degree before pursuing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. You do not really need these degree programs if you are pursuing any field which is psychology related but they definitely benefit you in your doctorate degree and also help you in excelling in the field as well.
A lot of doctorate programs especially for clinical psychology are ready to accept the students straight after a bachelor’s degree but there are many which require a master’s degree as well in any field that is psychology-related.
A lot of universities and schools offer master’s degrees in clinical psychology. This may help you in understanding this field but this might not qualify you as a practicing clinical psychologist. The reason is that if you want to attain a license to practice you must have a doctorate degree to qualify.
Step 2: Clinical training and relevant fieldwork
To become a certified clinical psychologist, it is very necessary to have training in the relevant field along with different internships, practical, and other mandatory practices. If you want to attain a license to practice given by a state, you need to have some mandatory hours of practice in the specific field as a clinical psychologist.
To achieve this, you will have to work under the supervision of a clinical psychology professional and observe and learn how to work directly in public.
How to counsel patients, how to treat their mental illness and console them and most importantly get a clear idea about how to create appointments and then the treatment schedule of any patient. During these work hours, you will have to collaborate with different health and medical professionals and physicians to get first-hand experience of working in the field.
Step 3: Applying for a clinical psychology license
If you have studied clinical psychology and have attained a degree that doesn’t qualify you to practice as a clinical psychologist. If you want to practice, you need to get a license from the state and some additional certifications that depend upon the state in which you are applying or intend to practice.
Most of the states have certain requirements for a person to meet in order to grant them a license. The requirements are:
- A doctoral program (Psy.D or Ph.D.)
- A complete internship program that is state-approved in the relevant field
- A complete number of fieldwork hours as experience
- Must have the exam for licensure passed
The certification also assists your application in order to give proof that you have indeed completed the fieldwork experience and training and are ready to practice officially in your state.
Step 4: Maintain license and continue education
After you have obtained your license from the state, it is very important to maintain it. Most of psychologists must pass the continuing education courses (CE) to maintain their licenses. This is a mandatory requirement in most states of America.
Apart from maintaining the license by continuing the education courses, there are a lot of newer trends that need to be followed in order to stay up to date and keep yourself up with the newer terminologies and upgrades.
When clinical psychologist continues their education, this also helps in advancing their career and opens up different avenues in the related fields.
Once you have attained your license as a clinical psychologist, there are many options that you can pursue during your career. You can take up many jobs or even open up your own private practice. You are a specialist in your field and to reach this level, a great deal of hard work has been done in the background. It is totally up to you what you want to do ahead in life but whatever it is, it must provide you utmost satisfaction by helping and counseling other people on a daily basis.
Clinical psychology is one of the most complex branches of psychology. Once you are counseling and treating people curing their mental illnesses, you will realize how complex a human brain is combined with emotions and behavioral issues. a clinical psychologist needs to keep on studying in order to stay updated with the newer trends in the field of psychology. If you have become a clinical psychologist then always stay true to your profession and attain maximum satisfaction by helping others.