As there aren't many undergraduate level programs in clinical psychology, the branch of psychology that concerns individual mental health and psychological development over a lifetime, most students choose to pursue a bachelor's in psychology. Typically including at least one course in clinical psychology and basic training in normal and abnormal psychological development, bachelor's degree programs in psychology introduce students to the study of the human mind and behavior. In addition to completing required general education courses, such as English composition and mathematics, students may engage in a supervised internship.
To enroll, most programs require a high school diploma or its equivalent, letters of recommendation, a written essay and the submission of Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores. In some cases, only the scores from the SAT Reasoning Test will be expected, while others also ask for subject exam results.
Bachelor's in Psychology
Curriculum in a psychology bachelor's program covers the fundamentals of the science and its sub-areas, like psychological testing and child psychology, and is supplemented with statistics and research courses. Common topics are:
- Abnormal psychology
- Cognitive science
- Life span development
- Learning and cognition
- Social psychology
Although practice as a clinical psychologist requires a doctoral degree, bachelor's level graduates still have a number of career options in the arenas of law, education and business. They also can pursue support positions alongside psychologists and counselors. Some popular careers include:
- Case manager
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Psychiatric technician
- Probation officer
- Case worker
- Group home coordinator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychiatric technicians were predicted to see only 5% employment growth from 2014-2024. The mean annual salary of these technicians was $36,280 as of May 2015. If a bachelor's level student goes on to attain an advanced degree to work as a clinical, counseling or school psychologist, they should expect to see an 19% increase in jobs over that same period. The mean annual salary for these professionals was $76,040 in May 2015.
Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in psychology who wish to become psychologists or counselors must continue their studies in a graduate program and then take the steps mandated by their state to become licensed. Some bachelor's degree programs lead to a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology with a clinical psychology concentration in a combined 5-year program.
Bachelor degrees in psychology prepare students for a career in this field with a blend of coursework and hands-on training. Those who wish to become clinical psychologists or counselors are required to have a master's or doctoral degree and must also seek state licensure to practice.