Neruopsychology professionals study human behaviors and their relationship to the physiology of the brain. Most neuropsychologists have a graduate-level education, usually a Ph.D. There are several job opportunities for an individual with an academic background in neurpsychology.
Acting as clinical practitioners, educators and researchers, neuropsychologists examine the relationship between the brain and behavior. An education in neuropsychology begins with a bachelor's degree in psychology, neuroscience, pre-medicine or another related field. Upon receiving this degree, students may then specialize in neuropsychology through a graduate degree program. Coursework in these programs provides a comprehensive analysis of the subject, providing students with the knowledge and experience that is required for most careers in neuropsychology.
|Career||Clinical Neuropsychologist||College Professor||Rehabilitation Director|
|Required Education||Doctoral degree||Doctoral degree||Master's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||19% (for all psychologists)*||13% (for all postsecondary psychology teachers)*||9% (for rehabilitation counselors)*|
|Median Salary||$88,617 (for all neuropsychologists, 2016)**||$70,260 (for all postsecondary psychology teachers, 2014)*||$89,549 (2016)**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
The field of neuropsychology affords plenty of career paths, and graduates have multiple options. They can find careers through research centers, academic institutions or rehabilitation facilities. Extensive education and training is required, and professionals can move into more senior positions as they obtain experience.
Clinical neuropsychologists assess and treat clients suffering from neurological disorders or brain injuries. Often working with a team of health care professionals, such as physicians and physical therapists, clinical neuropsychologists work to discover the most effective path toward recovery. Clinical neuropsychologist careers require working with clients, their families and caregivers to ensure successful re-entry into society.
Clinical neuropsychologists earn their bachelor's degrees in psychology, specializing in areas such as clinical psychology, behavioral neuroscience, experimental psychology or social psychology. A doctoral degree in neuropsychology, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship, is often required in order to ensure their qualifications as clinical practitioners. The fellowship also allows prospective neuropsychologists to continue their education while gaining work experience.
Professors of neuropsychology are charged with designing, implementing and assessing coursework for undergraduate and graduate students. Whether teaching a course on cognitive neuroscience or language acquisition, professors of neuropsychology must maintain their classroom curricula while continuing their own research and keeping up with the latest developments in their field.
Generally equipped with a doctoral degree in neuropsychology, professors of neuropsychology may begin their careers as teaching assistants. Gaining experience through assistant professorships and fellowships, neuropsychology professors work with students in a variety of ways, including teaching in a classroom or laboratory setting, as well as working with students individually. Neuropsychology professors may also have administrative duties within their department.
Rehabilitation directors oversee the occupational, physical and speech therapy services at medical centers, rehabilitation clinics and other healthcare facilities. In addition to overseeing staff and services, rehabilitation directors are in charge of maintaining program and employee schedules, inventory levels and department budgets.
Neuropsychology education and clinical experience combined with administration experience can lead to career opportunities as rehabilitation directors. Rehabilitation directors have a unique knowledge of the clinical and administrative duties required to ensure the health and safety of patients as well as the maintenance of healthcare services.
In addition to a graduate degree in health management or healthcare administration, rehabilitation directors typically have substantial experience within the field and may have gone through certification. Awareness of the latest rehabilitative policies and procedures is also imperative.
Most individuals in the field of psychology work with patients in some fashion, either as a clinical psychologist or as rehabilitation counselor or director. Others teach psychology in a college setting, though all require formal college-level education, and most call for a graduate degree. Licensing and certification are required of some professions.