Clinical Psychologist Jobs & Career Guide 2024

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is a mental health professional who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders and mental health conditions. Clinical psychologists work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to help them overcome a wide range of psychological and emotional difficulties.

While other psychology specialties have a singular or at least narrower focus, clinical psychology tackles a wider range of mental health issues using traditional and nontraditional approaches.

Clinical Psychology is the largest specialty in the field of Psychology.

What Is a Clinical Psychologist Responsible For?

Clinical Psychologists support patients in mental health and personal development. They work with patients to develop their awareness of psychological problems and create treatment plans to help them achieve their mental health goals. A Clinical Psychologist meets with a patient and sometimes their spouse and other family members to discuss problems and how they affect the patient and family. They review the patient’s medical history and background, conduct personal interviews, and use their findings to develop a plan for treatment. Diagnostic testing, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and prescription medication are some of the treatment techniques used by Clinical Psychologists.

“Being a clinical psychologist is an incredibly rewarding career because it allows you to help people overcome challenges and lead fulfilling lives. Every day is different, and you never know what to expect, which keeps the work interesting and engaging. While it can be emotionally challenging to work with people who are struggling, the rewards of seeing them make progress and achieve their goals make it all worthwhile.”
Dr. Talya Miron-Shatz, a clinical psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

A Clinical Psychologist tracks their patient’s progress through detailed notes taken during each therapy session. They routinely evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments and make modifications to the treatment plan as needed.

In addition to counseling, Clinical Psychologists may teach classes, conduct research, and publish their findings in industry publications.

See also; what is the difference between a clinical psychologist and a counseling psychologist?

Where Does a Clinical Psychologist Work?

Clinical psychology jobs are typically in the arena of healthcare, providing counseling services in hospitals, private practices, psychotherapy centers, nursing centers, and rehabilitation facilities. Some Clinical Psychologists work in academic settings as professors and researchers. They may also work in fields of specialty, the military, government agencies, private business associations, and consultancies.

How to become a clinical psychologist

Becoming a clinical psychologist will take between 9 and 12 years from starting your bachelor’s degree to earning your license.

1. Earn Your Degrees

The first step to becoming a clinical psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university.

Ideally, you should major in psychology, but some other fields may give you the necessary background knowledge. These include sociology and social work.

In most cases, clinical psychologists also have their Master’s degree in one of the following:

Depending on the program you complete, you might be able to earn your master’s as part of the doctoral program. Attaining your Master’s before your doctoral is a good way to gain experience in the practice of psychology.

Pursuing your doctoral in clinical psychology with just a bachelor’s degree adds four years to your time pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist. If you add a master’s to the mix, you must add another two.

2. Complete Clinical Fieldwork

While in school, you’ll need to complete a one-year practicum or internship. This field experience lets you apply what you’ve learned while supervised by a fully licensed practitioner. Your school should help place you. You will typically be required to complete at least 1500 hours of supervised clinical work. The number of hours varies by state.

3. Get Your License and Start Practicing

Once you have attained your doctoral in clinical psychology, you can pursue your certification and license in the state where you will work. To practice clinical psychology, you must be licensed. Most states require the following:

In most states, the governing board for licenses and certifications, as well as the psychology licensing exam, is the official state Board of Psychologists.

The Application Process

Each state has an application packet and process. The application has several parts and is complex. At least, it will have components similar to the following:

  • General application with your basic contact information
  • Summary of Clinical Experience
  • Essay questions (usually 5 to 10 questions pertaining to your experience and knowledge)

In addition, the application packet will have the following:

  • Graduate program summary and course sheet
  • Internship confirmation and evaluation
  • Professional reference form
  • Pre and postdoctoral clinical experience summary

In addition, there will be a fee you have to pay at the point of your submission. You will also have to provide a passport-style photo and a current resume or Curriculum Vitae.

Licensure Examination

You must pass an official license exam to be considered for a clinical psychology license. Most states require that you pass the EPPP, Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB.)

The ASPPB will review your application to take the exam and provide instructions to register to take the exam. The exam is a multiple-choice questionnaire with 225 total questions. To pass, you must score a minimum of 500, which works out to be 70% of the exam questions.

Board Determination

Your state psychology board will be sent your exam score. Your application will then be reviewed, and a determination of whether you meet the criteria to become licensed in your state will be made. Once accepted, you will receive your license in a week to two weeks.

4. Continuing Education

Every state has a defined time your psychology license is valid. The length of time varies, but typically, your license is valid for 2 to 6 years. At the end of that term, you need to renew your license. Your license must be in good standing with the state, and you must meet certain criteria, which are usually continuing education requirements.

Continuing education requirements are required so that you continually build upon your skills as a psychologist. This requirement prevents people from becoming clinical psychologists and coasting for years solely based on their initial license. It also lets you build your resume to give you the best possible advantage if you decide to go for a promotion or change jobs.

States usually extend broad latitude in the type of continuing education programs you complete.

For example, while you must take some psychology-related training to maintain your standing as a licensed Clinical Psychologist, you can also take classes to improve your business or communication skills. The goal is to help you become a better psychologist.

Continuing education gets counted by credited units. It can include direct coursework from an approved list, the completion of seminars and workshops related to your field, and any publication of manuscripts pertaining to your field of work. In many states, you can also lead education events for credit.

Many states also have ethics training requirements. Ethics training can include classes or workshops in:

  • Patient Privacy Laws and Application
  • Patient-client interaction and relationships
  • Financial ethics
  • Roles and responsibilities pertaining to professional behavior
“Becoming a clinical psychologist involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to develop expertise in a particular area of psychology and build relationships with clients and colleagues that can last a lifetime. While the process can be challenging, the end result is a career that allows you to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Dr. Lynn F. Bufka, a clinical psychologist and former Senior Director of Practice Research and Policy at the American Psychological Association

What Skills are Required in Clinical Psychology?

A successful and effective clinical psychologist will learn and utilize the following skillsets:

  •  Excellent communication, including clear speech and good listening technique
  •  Empathy and the desire to help others
  •  Calm demeanor in stressful and emotional situations; able to work with people in distress
  •  Critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective decision-making skills
  •  Patience
  •  Integrity and high ethics
  •  Active learning and research skills
  •  Social perceptiveness
  •  Effective writing
  •  Negotiation and coordination to bring people together

Salaries for Clinical Psychologists vary widely based on many different factors. Recent U.S. Bureau of Statistics (BLS) indicate the average annual income for Clinical Psychologists is $91,677. Actual salaries vary based on location, specialization, and experience.

Field of specialty can greatly affect earnings, too. The average salary for Marriage and Family Psychologists is around $54,000 and for Psychology Teachers is approximately $84,000. A Forensic Psychologists averages $72,000 per year.

See our clinical psychology salary guide for more information.

Latest Clinical Psychologist Job Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
Mental Health SpecialistIndiana University Bloomington, Indiana US06/06/2024
The Office of Student Life is focused on building a strong foundation to ensure every student’s Indiana University experience is positive, safe, healthy, and meaningful. The Office of Student Life staff and multiple departments aim to help students navigate their time at IU, providing the tools they need to be successful in school and after graduation. Students are our priority, and their health, safety, and overall well-being are our core mission. Indiana University Student Health … More
Licensed PsychologistNashville Psych, LLC Nashville, Tennessee US06/05/2024
Nashville Psych, LLC,seeks an outstanding licensed or provisionally licensed psychologist to join our established boutique private psychology practice, centrally located close to downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt University, Green Hills, and Belmont University. Join our warm and supportive community of authentic, professional and highly qualified clinicians – and receive the many benefits of working on our very special team, including but not limited to: … More
Assistant Director of Training, Counseling and Psychological Services Division of Student AffairsCarnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US06/05/2024
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) invites applications for an Assistant Director of Training position at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), within the Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB) unit of the Division of Student Affairs. The Assistant Director of Training position is a full-time, 12-month position reporting directly to the Executive Director of CaPS. The CMU CaPS training program has been revitalized over the … More
Psychologists to Join a Skilled Team at CentraCareCentraCare St. Cloud, Minnesota US06/04/2024
Be part of the Behavioral Health Treatment Teams or Integrated Behavioral Health Teams providing outpatient diagnostic assessment, crisis intervention, psychological testing, and/or psychotherapy services for patients and families impacted by anxiety, depression, pain, stress and trauma issues. Full-time positions available in: Adult Behavioral Health Child Behavioral Health Residency Faculty Family Focus Eating Disorders … More
Board Certified Behavior AnalystsDevereux Advanced Behavioral Health West Chester, Pennsylvania US06/04/2024
Are you looking for an opportunity that can provide a sense of fulfillment Working with children, adolescents, or adults? Working in a hospital, school, residential program, clinic, or community-based program? A lead or supervisory role? If so, consider joining our Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Team! Being a BCBA at Devereux has its advantages. We Offer Student loan repayment through our Career Accelerator Program ASCEND. … More
Behavioral Health Provider | Psychologist, LICSW or LMHC | Reliant Medical GroupUnitedHealth Group Worcester, Massachusetts US06/04/2024
As a part of Optum, the largest network of medical groups in the nation, Reliant Medical Group, located in Central Massachusetts, is seeking a (Full-time or Part-time) Psychologist, LICSW or LMHC to join our Integrated Behavioral Health Division as an Integrated Behavioral Health Provider. At Optum, we are transforming healthcare nationally while providing Physician-led care locally. Discover a place where you can help shape the future of health care and do your life’s best work.(sm)The … More
Testing Licensed Clinical Psychologist PsyD/PhD, Huntsville AL – HybridUnitedHealth Group Huntsville, Alabama US06/04/2024
Optum is a global organization that delivers care, aided by technology to help millions of people live healthier lives. The work you do with our team will directly improve health outcomes by connecting people with the care, pharmacy benefits, data and resources they need to feel their best. Here, you will find a culture guided by diversity and inclusion, talented peers, comprehensive benefits and career development opportunities. Come make an impact on the communities we serve as you help us … More
PsychologistProvidence Spokane, Washington US06/04/2024
Providence Medical Group is seeking a full-time Psychologist with a passion for evidence-based treatment to join us in Spokane, Washington. You will be part of a collaborative clinic that provides a wide variety of outpatient psychological services, including psychological testing, individual and family psychotherapy, medication management, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The group provides a team-based approach to care and includes a Psychiatrist, 6 Psychologists, 5 Clinical Social … More
Position
The Office of Student Life is focused on building a strong foundation to ensure every student’s Indiana University experience is positive, safe, healthy, and meaningful. The Office of Student Life staff and multiple departments aim to help students navigate their time at IU, providing the tools they need to be successful in school and after graduation. Students are our priority, and their health, safety, and overall well-being are our core mission. Indiana University Student Health … More
Company
Indiana University
Location
Bloomington, Indiana US
Posted
06/06/2024
Position
Nashville Psych, LLC,seeks an outstanding licensed or provisionally licensed psychologist to join our established boutique private psychology practice, centrally located close to downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt University, Green Hills, and Belmont University. Join our warm and supportive community of authentic, professional and highly qualified clinicians – and receive the many benefits of working on our very special team, including but not limited to: … More
Company
Nashville Psych, LLC
Location
Nashville, Tennessee US
Posted
06/05/2024
Position
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) invites applications for an Assistant Director of Training position at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), within the Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB) unit of the Division of Student Affairs. The Assistant Director of Training position is a full-time, 12-month position reporting directly to the Executive Director of CaPS. The CMU CaPS training program has been revitalized over the … More
Company
Carnegie Mellon University
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US
Posted
06/05/2024
Position
Be part of the Behavioral Health Treatment Teams or Integrated Behavioral Health Teams providing outpatient diagnostic assessment, crisis intervention, psychological testing, and/or psychotherapy services for patients and families impacted by anxiety, depression, pain, stress and trauma issues. Full-time positions available in: Adult Behavioral Health Child Behavioral Health Residency Faculty Family Focus Eating Disorders … More
Company
CentraCare
Location
St. Cloud, Minnesota US
Posted
06/04/2024
Position
Are you looking for an opportunity that can provide a sense of fulfillment Working with children, adolescents, or adults? Working in a hospital, school, residential program, clinic, or community-based program? A lead or supervisory role? If so, consider joining our Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Team! Being a BCBA at Devereux has its advantages. We Offer Student loan repayment through our Career Accelerator Program ASCEND. … More
Company
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
Location
West Chester, Pennsylvania US
Posted
06/04/2024
Position
As a part of Optum, the largest network of medical groups in the nation, Reliant Medical Group, located in Central Massachusetts, is seeking a (Full-time or Part-time) Psychologist, LICSW or LMHC to join our Integrated Behavioral Health Division as an Integrated Behavioral Health Provider. At Optum, we are transforming healthcare nationally while providing Physician-led care locally. Discover a place where you can help shape the future of health care and do your life’s best work.(sm)The … More
Company
UnitedHealth Group
Location
Worcester, Massachusetts US
Posted
06/04/2024
Position
Optum is a global organization that delivers care, aided by technology to help millions of people live healthier lives. The work you do with our team will directly improve health outcomes by connecting people with the care, pharmacy benefits, data and resources they need to feel their best. Here, you will find a culture guided by diversity and inclusion, talented peers, comprehensive benefits and career development opportunities. Come make an impact on the communities we serve as you help us … More
Company
UnitedHealth Group
Location
Huntsville, Alabama US
Posted
06/04/2024
Position
Providence Medical Group is seeking a full-time Psychologist with a passion for evidence-based treatment to join us in Spokane, Washington. You will be part of a collaborative clinic that provides a wide variety of outpatient psychological services, including psychological testing, individual and family psychotherapy, medication management, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The group provides a team-based approach to care and includes a Psychiatrist, 6 Psychologists, 5 Clinical Social … More
Company
Providence
Location
Spokane, Washington US
Posted
06/04/2024