The branch of Psychology that focuses on treating and diagnosing behavioral emotional, and mental disorders is called Clinical Psychology. If you want to launch a career in this field, then read this article. It will explain to you how to become a Clinical Psychologist in the U.S.

Should I Become a Clinical Psychologist?

Are you someone who has a high emotional quotient and is interested in helping others lead a healthier lifestyle? If yes, then a career in Clinical Psychology would be ideal for you.

If you have already decided to work in this field, then the next step involves researching the necessary requirements. The licensing, education, certification, and skill-set requirements for Psychologists are mentioned below:

Education RequiredCompleting a doctoral degree (such as a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.) is mandatory.
TrainingIndividuals have to complete pre- or postdoctoral supervised experience. Each state has its own work experience requirements.
Licenses/CertificationsA license is required in every U.S. state.
Key Skills/QualitiesCommunication Skills, Problem-solving Skills, Patience, Interpersonal Ability and Analytical Skills
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National$87,450 (Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists)
Job Outlook (2018-28)14%

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

Forecasted data by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Psychologists have a bright career outlook. The demand for these professionals is likely to increase by 14% from 2018 to 2028.

Steps to Become a Clinical Psychologist

The path to becoming a Clinical Psychologist includes several steps, which are discussed in this section.

  1. Complete a Bachelor’s and/or a Master’s Degree
  2. After completing high school education, you should enroll in a four-year long university program. Many universities are currently offering a range of Psychology degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science (B.S) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) program in Psychology. By studying courses like social psychology, learning theory, physiological psychology and experimental psychology at the undergraduate level, you will be able to build a solid knowledge in Psychology. After finishing the undergrad program, you should enroll in a two-year long Master’s degree in Psychology.

  1. Complete a Doctoral Program
  2. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has mentioned that most research, counseling, and clinical, psychologists need a doctoral degree. Therefore, you will have to graduate with a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology in order to apply for a state license.Once you have obtained the right qualifications, you will have to complete an internship program and a minimum of one to two years of supervised professional experience. Please note that the work experience requirements vary from one state to another, so it is advised that you check your state requirements before applying for the license.

  1. Apply for a State License
  2. In order to get licensed, you will have to apply to your State Board. The Board will require you to send a licensure application, along with the supporting documents and the application fee. You will also be required to clear the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) in order to obtain your license. Once you have been issued the license, you will have to retain it by meeting the continuing education requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Clinical Psychologist?

The journey starts by obtaining a four-year long Bachelor’s degree (B.S or B.A) in Psychology, a 2 year-long Master’s degree (M.S or M.A) in Psychology, and an intensive 7-year long doctoral degree (Psy.D./Ph.D.). Candidates also have to complete the work experience requirements and have to clear the licensing exam. Thus, the entire process of becoming a Clinical Psychologist takes around twelve years or more.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Clinical Psychologist?

You can work as a Clinical Psychologist in the U.S after satisfying the following conditions.

You must have:

  • Graduated from an accredited doctoral program.
  • Completed a specific number of hours of supervised experience.
  • Successfully passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
  • Have sent the licensure application to the relevant State Board.

How Much Do Clinical Psychologists Earn?

In 2019, Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists made an annual mean salary of $87,450 as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.