A master’s in clinical psychology will focus on implementing psychology theories in real-life clinical situations. Rather than research and theory based studying, a clinical master’s will prepare you for assessing, counseling and treating mental health and behavioral disorders.
Master’s programs in clinical psychology prepare students to understand, assess, and treat individuals struggling with psychological issues. In these programs, students learn about psychological theories, cognitive function and behavior, developmental processes throughout the lifespan, and treatment strategies and techniques.
Clinical psychologists typically work in research or clinical settings, but they may also work in forensic or industry sectors, or a wide range of other sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) , psychologists earned an annual median salary of $80,370 in 2019. The BLS projects jobs for psychologists to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028, a faster rate than average.
Master’s Programs in Clinical Psychology Overview
Clinical psychologists study, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. After a diagnosis, clinical psychologists treat and help patients manage chronic conditions or personal difficulties. They also conduct research on behavioral or emotional patterns, brain function and neurological conditions, mental health disorders, and best practices in the field.
Becoming a licensed clinical psychologist requires the completion of a master’s and/or a doctoral degree. Master’s in psychology programs typically require 36-60 credits and take 2-3 years to complete. Doctoral programs in psychology require 90 credits and take 4-7 years to complete. Some doctoral programs are structured so students may earn a master’s degree during the course of studying for a doctorate, while others may require students to possess a master’s before enrolling. Graduate students in clinical psychology complete coursework, clinical practicums or internships, and dissertations that prepare them for state licensure.
Clinical Psychology Master's Degree FAQs
What is a master's degree in clinical psychology?
How much does someone with a master's in clinical psychology make?
According to the BLS , clinical psychologists can make anywhere between $80,000 and $120,000 a year depending on where you’re employed. You’ll likely need a doctoral degree to officially work as a clinical psychologist, but some entry level and training positions can be earned with a master’s degree.
How long does it take to get a master's degree in clinical psychology?
The average time to complete a master’s degree in clinical psychology is two years if you are enrolled full time. Some programs may include longer clinical internships that could extend the time it takes to complete the program.
Top Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
How to Become a Clinical Psychologist
- Complete a master’s degree
- To complete a master’s degree, students must complete coursework, clinical experience, and a comprehensive exam or thesis. Most master’s degrees in clinical psychology require 36-60 credits and can be completed in 2-3 years. Students can choose a master of arts or master of science degree in clinical psychology, both of which provide students with a background in the theory and practice of clinical psychology.
- Enroll in a Ph.D. program
- Students can complete either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. The latter prepares students to provide psychological services to patients; the former teaches students psychological theories, best practices, and research methods to prepare them to conduct their own original research and advance science in the field. A Ph.D. in clinical psychology takes 4-7 years to complete and results in a dissertation. Students may also have to complete comprehensive and qualifying exams as a part of the doctoral program.
- Complete clinical training
- Most states require a certain number of clinical training hours for licensure as a clinical psychologist. This can include two years of postdoctoral supervised clinical experience, roughly 3,000 hours of clinical experience, or a related requirement. In some states, clinical experience obtained during master’s and doctoral programs may be sufficient to meet the requirement, while other states require postdoctoral clinical training. These clinical hours should be completed in a mental health setting related to the candidate’s career goals.
- Become licensed
- State licensure requirements for clinical psychologists typically include the completion of a doctoral degree, a number of supervised clinical experience hours, and satisfactory scores on a licensing exam. Prospective psychologists should check with their state’s licensing board to ensure their graduate programs and clinical training satisfy the state’s requirements. After completing the necessary education and training requirements, eligible candidates must take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology . Licensed psychologists must also maintain their licenses by regularly completing approved continuing education courses.
Common Clinical Psychology Courses
- Human Growth and Development: This course covers the fundamental principles and theories of developmental psychology, including infancy, early childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and aging. It covers physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth and development throughout the lifespan. Students also learn social frameworks and theories that explore and explain characteristics of individuals, groups, communities, and cultures.
- Psychopathology: This course introduces students to psychological disorders, including models and definitions, conceptualizations and theories about each disorder, and contemporary treatment approaches. Students explore the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ categories (e.g., anxiety, obsessive compulsive, bipolar) and learn to apply it as a basis for the diagnosis and classification of psychopathology. Students also learn about cultural, social, and ethical issues related to the field of psychopathology.
- Counseling Theories: This course provides an overview of theoretical approaches and best practices related to counseling and psychotherapy. Topics covered include client and counselor roles, assessment and evaluation, intervention strategies and techniques, and fundamental counseling response skills. Students learn about contemporary psychotherapy types, such as psychoanalytical, humanistic, existential, and behavioral. Some counseling theory courses may also cover issues related to counseling practice, including confidentiality, working with minority clients, and conducting group therapy.
- Neuropsychology: This course introduces students to the branch of psychology focused on the relationship between brain injury or disease and psychological disorders. Students learn how the brain affects cognition and behavior. Topics covered may include brain function in relation to memory, judgment, reasoning, language, intelligence, and emotions. Learners study various brain disorders, their diagnoses and categorizations, their effects on cognitive and behavioral functioning, and effective treatments. The course provides an overview of conditions commonly dealt with in the field of neuropsychology, such as autism, learning and attention disorders, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, stroke, and dementia.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This course introduces students to cognitive behavioral therapy, a treatment that centers on changing patterns of behavior or thinking in order to help patients overcome personal struggles and difficulties. Students learn to apply cognitive and behavioral techniques to treat depression, anxiety, addiction problems, marital issues, and eating disorders. The goal of CBT is to teach clients skills to change their thinking and behavior to create lasting improvement in their mental well-being.
Clinical Psychology Concentrations
Concentrations in a psychology graduate program allow students to narrow their focus and prepare for a subfield within clinical psychology. Clinical psychology graduate programs offer concentrations in forensic psychology, neuropsychology, developmental psychology, childhood and adolescent development, substance abuse and addictions, and other specialties related to a practice area or working with specific populations.
- Developmental psychology: This concentration focuses on adolescent psychology and childhood development. ig电子竞技(新疆)结果视频, foster and adoption agencies may be more likely to hire clinical psychologists with this concentration since their organizations work primarily with students and children.
- Forensic psychology: A concentration in forensic psychology provides students with an understanding of the justice system and the role of psychology in family, civil, and criminal court cases. Forensic psychologists often serve as expert witnesses during trials to help the jury and judge understand the psychological elements of cases. They may also provide counseling or psychological services to populations involved with different facets of the criminal justice system.
- Neuropsychology: This concentration focuses on how the brain and nervous system affect cognitive function. Students who want to diagnose and treat cognitive disorders related to brain injury may choose a concentration in neuropsychology.
- Substance abuse and addiction: If you wish to become a substance abuse counselor and help patients with addiction, this concentration will focus on addiction brain chemistry, psychological dependence, and different facets of treatment, such diagnosis and treatment planning.
Clinical Psychology Master’s Degree Requirements
Admissions criteria to graduate programs in psychology include a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related discipline, a minimum GPA requirement, satisfactory GRE scores, and the completion of prerequisite courses.
Do you need a bachelor's degree in psychology?
Admission to graduate programs in psychology do require a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related discipline. Some programs require candidates who completed their undergraduate degree in a discipline other than psychology to take prerequisite courses in psychological statistics, research methods, and abnormal psychology before progressing to graduate-level coursework.
What GPA do you need to apply?
Most graduate programs require at least a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA from your undergraduate degree coursework. Some institutions admit students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement under a probationary status. Other programs do not have a minimum GPA requirement but allow for other elements of an application to offset a low GPA, such as a high GRE score, strong recommendation letters, and a personal statement.
Do you need to take the GRE?
Not all schools require GRE scores for admission, especially if you have work experience in the field or an exceptionally high GPA. Taking the GRE can be a good way to expand your options open while applying for a variety of programs.
Can You Get an Online Master’s in Clinical Psychology?
You can complete an advanced degree in clinical psychology with an online program . Online programs offer unique flexibility to complete your degree while balancing a job, family, or other responsibilities. There are many online programs that provide the same academic challenge as on-campus programs — though you may want to be sure the program is approved by the American Psychology Association before enrolling.
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Clinical Psychology Students
Harry and Miriam Levinson Scholarship, $5,000
The APA awards graduate students based on their research proposals related to psychology. You must be nominated by your psychology department.
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship, $2,500
The Melanie Foundation awards several scholarships to graduate students who are specializing in the mental health field. To apply, you must submit a resume, letters of recommendation, transcript, and an essay.
Benton-Meier Scholarship, $2,000
Annual award to one graduate student studying neuropsychology. Must submit a research proposal or project that involves the neuropsychology field.
Professional Organizations for Clinical Psychology
There are several organizations and institutions you can look to for information on the field and guidance as you pursue your career. These places also offer scholarships and certifications. You can also join memberships that can help you network, improve expertise, and share research as you become a professional in the field.
American Academy of Clinical Psychology
The American Academy of Clinical Psychology is an organization that helps connect working professionals in clinical psychology. The group hosts events, funds publications, and offers continuing education opportunities.
American Counseling Association
A broader organization for counselors in a variety of fields — including clinical, school, agency, etc. There are membership levels for students, new professionals, experienced counselors, and retired professionals.
Society of Clinical Psychology
The Society of Clinical Psychology is a subgroup within the American Psychology Association that specializes in supporting clinical psychology. The organization has grants and awards to support research and resources for clinicians.
Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology
This organization is particularly dedicated to the scientific research behind clinical psychology. Researchers can find grants, fellowships, events, and community here.
The Top 25 Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology for 2021
Methodology: Here's How We Rank ig电子竞技(新疆)结果视频
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