A master's level in clinical psychology is an advanced graduate level program designed specifically for those wishing careers as mental health professionals and as clinical psychologists. The master's degree program focuses on the study of human behavior, evaluating and treating mental disorders, and applying scientific principles in the treatment of psychological disorders. The master's degree program teaches students how to identify and treat psychological disorders, and how to conduct research studies, all through clinical practice, supervised clinical practice, and top-notch research methods.
There are four core subjects that make up the clinical psychology degree: cognitive psychology, social learning theory, personality psychology, and psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. Students learn how to evaluate, diagnose, and provide therapy to individuals with mental illnesses, as well as how to work in collaborative settings with professionals in mental health and clinical research.
Students completing the clinical psychology degree will be given specific clinical work to perform. A clinical psychology internship is common. The clinical internship is an in-depth clinical experience where students work alongside licensed clinicians and their assistants. The internship allows students to observe how treatment occurs in the office of a licensed clinical psychologist and to help with research and case study tasks. This internship is usually four months long and will involve working with a licensed clinical psychologist or licensed professional counselor.
Upon completing their master's degree in clinical psychology, students are often required to complete a dissertation. Typically, students choose a specialty area that interests them, such as family counseling, or they can specialize in mental disorders and find an area of special interest to them. Once they have completed a master's degree in clinical psychology they may pursue further studies in their chosen areas of concentration. At the completion of a master's degree in clinical psychology students can enter a career as mental health professionals and clinical psychologists.
In the United States and in many countries, a clinical psychologist is a licensed mental health care professional. Clinical psychologists should have at least a bachelor's degree with a special emphasis on psychology, cognitive psychology, or social learning theory and at least three years of related training in psychology or related fields. They also must be licensed through their state in which they practice.
Some employers prefer to hire clinical psychologists than psychiatrists or psychologists because they consider psychologists more patient oriented. They may ask for the student to help set appointments for their patients and to see if the sessions go well and to give them feedback from patients. They may want the student to observe a clinic for a few hours during the day and help evaluate patients who come to their offices. to ensure their comfort level with their treatments.
Some of the benefits of obtaining a clinical psychology degree include a salary that can average about $69,000 a year, flexible hours that allow the student to work their hours and their ability to choose their own pace, being able to work in any environment that they choose and no longer having to work in a hospital or doctor's office setting. For example, some schools offer an online master's degree that has the same level of academic support as their on campus programs. If the student chooses not to go to an accredited university, there are some accredited online schools that offer programs in clinical counseling. There are even accredited online colleges that offer bachelor's degrees in clinical psychology, but these are not as prestigious and offer less academic support and pay less.
Becoming a clinical psychologist means working closely with psychologists who specialize in this field to understand what it means to be a better clinician, helping people who need help, whether they have a mental disorder or not. They must also have the skills and knowledge to create a successful relationship with patients by working in a group setting with them and helping them understand what is going on. As a clinical psychologist you will be responsible for the care of the mentally ill; so the coursework is very important to those who want to become clinical therapists and help others who suffer from mental disorders.