Introduction to clinical psychology
If you’ve completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology and aim to become a licensed clinical psychologist, then your next step is to apply for a doctorate program. The Ph.D. in clinical psychology program teaches students how to diagnose and treat different mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. It prepares students to apply what they’ve learned in a real-world setting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 14% increase in demand for psychologists between 2016-2026.
A clinical psychology doctorate is a practical degree that attracts students with specific career goals such as becoming a practicing clinical psychologist, or working in the field as a researcher or postsecondary teacher. Depending on the institution you attend, you will be offered the option to study either a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D (Doctor of Psychology). A Ph.D. trains students utilizing a scientist-practitioner model that emphasizes research, whereas a Psy.D. has a greater focus on clinical work.
The Psy.D. is sometimes taken as an alternative to the competitive and selective Ph.D. The Psy.D. has higher admissions rates and can take less time to complete than a Ph.D. however, there are rarely funding opportunities for Psy.D. students. More selective, Ph.D. programs also receive more funding and typically afford graduates a higher salary after graduation.
The general requirements for admission are:
- bachelor’s degree
- official transcripts
- GRE scores
- personal essay
- letters of recommendation
Working toward a doctorate in clinical psychology is generally a commitment for 5-6 years of full-time study. Read on and explore the best doctorate programs in clinical psychology to prepare you for your next step in your career.
Begin your quest for financial aid at the finance office at your chosen school. Next, visit the Federal Student Aid website for general information on financial aid options and to complete the FAFSA form that assesses your eligibility for aid. Finally the APA has a list of financial aid options open specifically to psychology students that is worth reading.