How To Become A Clinical Psychologist: 5 Steps To Get You Started

Do you have the willingness to help people overcome their problems? Becoming a psychologist could be the right career choice for you.


Clinical psychologists help diagnose, assess and treat mental illnesses, making it extremely rewarding for those who are passionate about helping people. The job pays about $87,015 per year with a great employment outlook for the next ten years. Interested? Read on to find out more on how to become a psychologist.

How To Become A Clinical Psychologist


Step 1: Start preparing while in high school. It’s never too early to work on your future career.


Join psychology classes offered at your school to help you get the feel of what clinical psychology is about. This will help you decide if you want to pursue it eventually.


Keep your grades up as some universities have higher GPA requirements. If you can maintain at least 3.0 in GPA, good.  It is important that you qualify for as many colleges as you can as competition for admission is tough. This is also a good time for you to begin looking around for colleges you’d want to get into.


Step 2: Work towards your graduate degree while still in college. Tailor your college credentials to meet the requirements of the graduate program you want.


Take a full load of psychology courses. Graduate programs require some prerequisites, and the more bases you cover, the better.


Get courses in statistics as psychology is heavily involved with research. Volunteer to work as an assistant for a professor conducting psychological research. Participate in psychology programs, research projects, clubs and internships as much as you can. Admission to graduate programs is competitive, and you need all the relevant experience you can get for your resumé.


Start looking around for graduate programs in clinical psychology that you might be interested in attending. Find out what they require for admission. Ask about the required courses and the minimum GPA. Work towards completing the requirements while you still have time.


Step 3: Decide on which graduate level degree you’d want to pursue. Are you more interested in research or practice?


You could choose between pursuing a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) for your graduate degree. If you want to work in research or teach, then you might want to consider a Ph.D. If you want to concentrate more on practice, then Psy.D. is a good choice. Both have the same status and function in clinical practice and would take about a minimum of five years to complete.


Make sure that your school’s graduate program has an APA (American Psychological Association) accreditation as this is a requirement for state licensure.


Step 4: Meet all requirements to become a psychologist in your state. Licensure requirements vary from one state to another.


You will need to complete a post-doctoral training under a licensed clinical psychologist. This is one of the requirements for state licensure. Learn everything you can from your mentor and develop your own skills and techniques.


Complete your application for state licensure and other specific requirements. You can check out the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website for more information.

All states require that you must pass an examination so you can get your license and practice. You may also be required to complete additional oral or essay questions.


Step 5: Set up your practice. Where and how is entirely up to you.


You may either stay with your post-doctoral training supervisor as he/she has an established practice and would have many clients; or you may choose to practice on your own. You may also work in research, teach at a university or practice in a hospital setting.


If you are someone who is observant, patient, trustworthy and loves to work with people, then being a clinical psychologist is perfect for you.  You’ll not only have job opportunities in different fields but for self-employment as well. With these steps on how to become a clinical psychologist and your desire to help people, you’ll be on your way to that dream career in no time.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment