Psy.D. Degree Program Information

Unlike a research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy degree, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) is intended for those who want to practice psychology. Students gain mastery in psychotherapy philosophies and procedures so they can diagnose and treat people with mental or emotional disorders.

Essential Information

A Psy.D. program is both research-intensive and focused on clinical training. Most programs include 2-4 years of classroom study, a 1-2 year practicum and a one-year internship. Some schools may offer coursework online. The program culminates with a dissertation that is based on the student's original research. Prospective students need to have a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or related field; Students without a psychology degree must have completed specific psychology courses to be accepted.

Doctorate in Psychology

The curriculum in a Psy.D. program includes classroom study and hands-on training through a practicum and internship. Field experience opportunities allow students to work with clients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Students must also conduct research on a psychology-related subject of special interest to them. Psy.D. programs often offer numerous areas of specialization, including biological psychology, culture and psychology, sexuality and psychology, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and drug and alcohol dependency.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 19% growth rate for psychologist jobs between 2014 and 2024 ( Fueling this rise is an increased need for psychologists in schools, health care facilities, social services and private organizations, especially as people continue to engage in unhealthy practices, such as unhealthy eating, smoking, and alcohol abuse. Additionally, more employers are making it easier for their employees to gain access to psychological services.

In 2015, the BLS reported an annual median wage of $70,580 for clinical, counseling and school psychologists, and $77,350 for industrial-organizational psychologists. All other psychologists earned a median of $94,590 per year.

Continuing Education

All practicing psychologists must adhere by their state's licensing or certification requirements, according to the BLS. Each state sets its own licensing requirements, but typically for clinical psychologists, a Psy.D., qualified internship, and minimum amount of work experience is mandatory. A passing score on the state's examination is needed before issuing licensure; continuing education courses are necessary in some states to keep the license valid.

Individuals working as a school psychologist may earn the National Association of School Psychologists' Nationally Certified School Psychologist title. As of January 2012, this designation is recognized in 31 states, according to the BLS. Board certification is available through the American Board of Professional Psychology, which offers different certification specialties, such as school, group, and family.

Psy.D. programs are usually designed for students with undergraduate and/or graduate training in psychology. Most programs include numerous clinical experiences to prepare students for professional licensure. The number of jobs for psychologists is projected to increase faster than average compared to all occupations.

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