A Clinical Psychology Doctorate degree is one path to doing the research which is needed to determine the standard of care for patients who have mental illnesses. Professional careers in psychology often focus on the assessment and care of patients that have been diagnosed with mental illness. However, research needs to be done to determine what treatments are best.
There are multiple options which can lead to careers doing research that supports progression in the field. These professionals can also contribute to educating future psychologists and influencing psychological pharmacology. In order to obtain any of these incredible positions, students should consider achieving the highest level of college degree within their field.
For Clinical Psychology programs, the PhD and the PsyD are terminal degree programs that can assist them with getting the job they desire.
Doctorate Degrees in Clinical Psychology
Clinical Psychology is a treatment-based field of psychology responsible for providing one-on-one preventative, acute, and long-term care to patients diagnosed with mental illness or disorders. This subfield of psychology could be a great option for students that might be interested in working with clients in a clinical setting or partnering with hospitals and healthcare centers.
The goal of Clinical Psychologists is to providing accurate assessments of clients, develop a relevant and psychologically-focused treatment plan, and observe the progress of their patients. Each subfield of psychology may provide its own special contribution to the field as a whole.
Clinical Psychology has been designed to resemble some aspects of the medical field. Many of the tools and resources used in this field are focused on caring for patients in a clinical setting. Other doctoral specializations such as Counseling Psychology focus more on the needs of individuals with emotional disorders, counseling techniques, and tools to assist people with making life changes for a better life.
Specialized doctorate programs in School Psychology are often structured around practice within an educational environment and provide tools helpful to school-aged children.
Benefits of a PsyD
If you are deciding between enrolling in a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology or the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (PsyD), there may be a few factors to consider before making your ultimate decision.
Each of these programs can be great entryways for upcoming professionals interested in working directly with clients in the field. The MA in Clinical Psychology is a 2-3 year program that can result in licensure for students that take part in a supervised work experience requirement.
Meanwhile, the PsyD can take 4-6 years to complete. PsyD programs often consist of in-person elements allowing students to gain relevant clinical experience throughout their program. Students that choose to pursue the PsyD in Clinical Psychology may obtain more clinical experience throughout their program, making it a better option for students that wish to have advanced leading knowledge within their field.
PsyD programs can also be a great way for new professionals to stand apart from other professionals entering the field, since the MA in Clinical Psychology degree holders may be more common. If you want to stand out, the PsyD may be the better degree program to pursue.
Career Outlook and Salary Potential
Pursuing a degree in Clinical Psychology can lead you into many different facets of mental health and wellness. As people become more aware of the effects of mental health on quality of life, there may be a growing need for qualified mental health professionals in the U.S. In order to provide you with further information on the earning potential for professionals in this field, our team has provided some data regarding salary for Clinical Psychologists below.
- Clinical Psychologists – Individual and Family Services: $81,160 on average per year (BLS).
- Clinical Psychologists – Outpatient Care Centers: $82,700 on average per year (BLS).
Typical Clinical Psychology Doctorate Coursework
Students in doctoral-level psychology programs have access to several different opportunities for research and further learning. During this program, students can expect to spend several semesters developing their own personal research project, analyzing specific problems or topics in their branch of psychology, and proposing solutions based on what they have learned throughout their educational experience. Some doctoral programs may also include internship or practicum elements that can help bring the subject matter to life. Check out some of the common courses in this program beneath this section.
- Advanced Psychological Testing: Students in this course can learn the process of administering psychological tests from start to finish. This may include work with a variety of different age groups, as well as the administration of testing in many different settings. Resources such as the interview, formal assessments, and the diagnostic manual may be covered in this course in an attempt to educate students about the various tools available for their use. This course can also be helpful in educating students about assessing a person’s environment and preparing diagnostic reports that can be helpful during the treatment process.
- Theories of Psychotherapy: At the onset of this course, students may learn about theories of psychotherapy from the humanistic perspective, cognitive perspective, and even psychoanalytic perspectives. Exploring different theoretical foundations of treatment can allow for students to have more of a widespread platform for working with clients from diverse backgrounds. Observations, testing procedures, treatment planning, and patient communication are topics that may also be covered throughout this course.
American Psychological Association (APA) Accreditation
The American Psychological Association (APA) is a leading professional organization for psychologists in the U.S. This agency can be an excellent supportive resource for upcoming or current psychology professionals in the field, as well as prospects of the field seeking more information about services and expectations in psychology.
The APA also accredits traditional doctoral programs in psychology. While online Doctorates in Psychology are not currently eligible for APA accreditation, they can be a great way for students to extend their expertise on their career field as a whole. Students and professionals alike can potentially benefit from information and networking possible through this organization.
Online Clinical PsyD Programs
If you are the type of student that desires endless knowledge in your career field, PsyD programs in Clinical Psychology could be a great option for you. Many people interested in pursuing higher level degrees in Clinical Psychology may be intrigued by the flexibility provided by pursuing their degree online.
Online PsyD programs can be a great way for people to extend their understanding of clinical principles of mental health for better positions in their current field. If you would like to see a few example programs, take a look at a couple of options below.
- Capella University – Online PsyD in Clinical Psychology
- California Southern University – Online PsyD with Clinical Focus
Featured Clinical Psychology Doctorate Program
The PsyD program in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology can be a great option for upcoming students interested in learning more about psychological practice in the U.S.
Students enrolled in this degree program can take courses at a full-time rate, with most completing their program within 5 years. This university currently provides specialization opportunities in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and Neurology. Students interested in aligning their curriculum with their career goals and choose from a wide range of elective courses such as International Psychology, Spirituality, Sexual Orientation and Forensic Psychology.