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What is a Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists provide mental health care for individuals or families. If you genuinely care about the burden other people carry and find it satisfying to make a difference in people's lives, choosing to be a clinical psychologist might be the right path for you.

As a clinical psychologist, you will be working with more serious cases than general psychologists or therapists. You will help your patients overcome behavioral issues and mental health problems by conducting tests and interviews with them to diagnose disorders and discuss treatment possibilities to carry out together.

You will have to undergo specialized training to take on this role. You will need a doctoral degree to establish your practice, and you will have to obtain a license as well. Completing residency programs under the supervision of licensed clinical psychologists is generally required as well.

What Does a Clinical Psychologist Do

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments.

Learn more about what a Clinical Psychologist does

How To Become a Clinical Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Psychologists in independent practice also need a license.

Education

Most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Students can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that is obtained after taking a comprehensive exam and writing a dissertation based on original research. Ph.D programs typically include courses on statistics and experimental procedures. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program.

School psychologists need an advanced degree and certification or licensure to work. The advanced degree is most commonly the education specialist degree (Ed.S.), which typically requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester credit hours and a 1,200-hour supervised internship. Some school psychologists may have a doctoral degree in school psychology or a master’s degree. School psychologists’ programs include coursework in both education and psychology because their work addresses education and mental health components of students’ development.

Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists. When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, master’s graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings. Master’s degree programs typically include courses in industrial-organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate major in psychology, but do require coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Some doctoral degree programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology; others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a major in psychology. 

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure. In all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work.

Licensing laws vary by state and type of position. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience, and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Information on specific state requirements can be obtained from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 15 areas of psychology, such as clinical health, couple and family, or rehabilitation. The American Board of Professional Neuropsychology offers certification in neuropsychology. Board certification can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area. Certification is not required for most psychologists, but some hospitals and clinics do require certification. In those cases, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology, state license or certification, and any additional criteria of the specialty field.

Training

Prospective practicing psychologists must have pre- or post-doctoral supervised experience, including an internship. Internships allow students to gain experience in an applied setting. Candidates must complete an internship before they can qualify for state licensure. The required number of hours of the internship varies by state.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Psychologists must be able to examine the information they collect and draw logical conclusions from them.

Communication skills. Psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with patients. 

Observational skills. Psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must be able to watch people and understand the possible meanings of facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.

Patience. Psychologists must be able to demonstrate patience, because conducting research or treating patients may take a long time.

People skills. Psychologists study and help people. They must be able to work well with clients, patients, and other professionals.

Problem-solving skills. Psychologists need problem-solving skills to design research, evaluate programs, and find treatments or solutions for mental and behavioral problems.

Trustworthiness. Psychologists must keep patients’ problems in confidence, and patients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive problems.

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  1. Kaiser Permanente Jobs (15)
  2. American Psychological Association Jobs (24)
  3. Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Jobs (4)
  4. Meridian Health Services Jobs (4)
  5. Us Navy Jobs (12)
Average Salary
$97,123
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
14%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
69,916
Job Openings
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Clinical Psychologist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Psychologists in America make an average salary of $97,123 per year or $47 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $146,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $64,000 per year.
Average Salary
$97,123
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5 Clinical Psychologist Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Clinical Psychologist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Clinical Psychologist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Clinical Psychologist Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Kaiser Permanente Jobs (15)
  2. American Psychological Association Jobs (24)
  3. Virginia Commonwealth University Health System Jobs (4)
  4. Meridian Health Services Jobs (4)
  5. Us Navy Jobs (12)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Clinical Psychologist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Clinical Psychologist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Clinical Psychologist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Clinical Psychologist Demographics

Clinical Psychologist Gender Distribution

Male
Male
37%
Female
Female
63%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Clinical Psychologists, 63.0% of them are women, while 37.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Clinical Psychologists is White, which makes up 83.7% of all Clinical Psychologists.

  • The most common foreign language among Clinical Psychologists is Spanish at 59.5%.

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Clinical Psychologist Education

Clinical Psychologist Majors

Clinical Psychologist Degrees

Bachelors

41.7 %

Doctorate

34.7 %

Masters

20.3 %

Top Colleges for Clinical Psychologists

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

3. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

4. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

5. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

6. University of California - San Diego

La Jolla, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,167
Enrollment
30,279

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

8. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,182
Enrollment
16,205

9. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

10. Clemson University

Clemson, SC • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,374
Enrollment
19,564
Job Openings

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Top Skills For a Clinical Psychologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.0% of Clinical Psychologists listed Psychological Services on their resume, but soft skills such as Analytical skills and Integrity are important as well.

Best States For a Clinical Psychologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Clinical Psychologist. The best states for people in this position are Maine, Idaho, California, and New Hampshire. Clinical Psychologists make the most in Maine with an average salary of $133,926. Whereas in Idaho and California, they would average $117,905 and $113,480, respectively. While Clinical Psychologists would only make an average of $113,346 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Maine

Total Clinical Psychologist Jobs:
194
Highest 10% Earn:
$194,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Clinical Psychologist Jobs:
4,307
Highest 10% Earn:
$172,000
Location Quotient:
1.44
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Clinical Psychologist Jobs:
129
Highest 10% Earn:
$149,000
Location Quotient:
1.35
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Clinical Psychologists

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Top Clinical Psychologist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Clinical Psychologists and discovered their number of Clinical Psychologist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that American Psychological Association was the best, especially with an average salary of $101,235. Kaiser Permanente follows up with an average salary of $111,656, and then comes Us Navy with an average of $95,999. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a Clinical Psychologist. The employers include Veterans Health Administration, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and Northern Lights

Most Common Employers For Clinical Psychologist

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Clinical Psychologist SalaryAverage Salary
1
1.Boston Children's Hospital
$112,992
2$111,656
3$101,235
4$97,981
5$96,826
6
6.National Institutes of Health
$96,674

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