Doctor of Psychology: Clinical Psychology Degree Overview

Students in a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology program gain the theoretical and clinical skills to treat psychological disorders and other issues. They generally explore a wide range of topics, like psychopharmacology, case conceptualization, social bases of behavior, and consultation.

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Essential Information

Clinical psychology includes more than 200 theoretical orientations regarding cause, diagnosis, and treatment for psychological disorders. Students explore a wide variety of these theories and may choose a specialty or specialties. Students learn to work in individual practice, schools, colleges or universities, and hospitals, as well as in other mental health facilities. All states require licensing for clinical psychologists, which is obtained by passing a state exam. Students will need at least a bachelor's degree in order to apply. Some programs require a pre-determined minimum of coursework in psychology and research-oriented subjects is required for some programs.


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  • Behavioral Sciences, General
  • Biopsychology
  • Clinical Psychology, General
  • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
  • Cognitive Science
  • Community Psychology
  • Comparitive Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology, General
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Family Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology, General
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Medical Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychology, General
  • Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology
  • Social Psychology

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Students enrolled in a PsyD in Clinical Psychology program can expect to study advanced components of psychology practice in areas such as assessment, intervention, research, consultation, management, and diversity. In addition to an internship and a dissertation, they complete a core curriculum that typically includes classes in the following areas:

  • Clinical psychopathology
  • Clinical neuropsychology
  • Professional issues and ethics
  • Psychobiology
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Behavioral assessment

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of psychologists is expected to grow by 19% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average. The most opportunities being available to prospective employees with doctoral degrees and specialized experience. Additionally, the BLS listed the median annual wage for clinical psychologists as $72,580 in 2015.

Continuing Education

To become qualified for work as clinical psychologists, graduates will have to pass a state-issued licensing exam. Some schools also offer a variety of courses and seminars in focused areas (such as psychological issues related to divorce, spirituality and forensic psychology) that allow practicing psychologists to increase their knowledge and occupational opportunities.

A Psychology Doctorate, or PsyD degree, is often essential for anyone who wishes to work as practicing psychologist in many different settings. Students in these programs can pursue different areas of specialization within psychology, so prospective students should consider which specific areas they would like to focus on.

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