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This article provides an overview of the doctorate in clinical psychology degree program, some of the subjects and courses it covers, and why this degree could be great for career advancement. It also present a high-quality doctorate in clinical psychology program that is available online and that you could consider.
What Is a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology?
The field of clinical psychology is incredibly vast, covering over 200 different orientations. As part of a doctorate in clinical psychology program, students learn about some of those theories, and they often choose a specialty. The program prepares students to work in universities, hospitals, schools, colleges, mental health facilities, individual practices, and more. In order to become licensed to practice as a psychologist, a doctorate degree is required, which is true for all states. Acceptance to a doctoral program usually requires a bachelor’s degree, although some schools will look for those who already hold a master’s degree.
As part of the doctorate degree program, students will learn about diversity, management, consultation, research, intervention, assessment, and more. Typically, they will complete courses in:
- Behavioral Assessment
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Professional Issues and Ethics
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Clinical Psychopathology
Why Earn a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology?
In order to work as a clinical psychologist, you must become licensed in your state. Licensure requirements will vary depending on where you work, but a doctorate degree is always required. Usually, you will have chosen a specific concentration area within the field of psychology, and you will generally be licensed in that particular field.
Clinical psychologists are responsible for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders. This means that they work with those who suffer from a range of chronic or short-term conditions. They do this through a variety of different strategies, ensuring that patients can have the best possible mental health outcomes. Two common specializations within clinical psychology include health psychology and neuropsychology.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists had a median salary of $73,270 per year as of May 2016. The BLS has also predicted that there will be a 19% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average and will translate into some 32,500 new jobs.
Online Option for Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
University of Hartford
If you are interested in getting a doctorate in clinical psychology, you may be interested in the Doctor of Psychology program offered by the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology (GIPP) at the University of Hartford. The aim of this program is to develop effective psychologists who can take on a variety of relevant and pressing challenges. Graduates are trained to be self-aware and compassionate, as well as to be capable of critical evaluation and development of culturally competent programs in a variety of clinical settings. The program is endorsed by the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP).
The University of Hartford is a nonsectarian, coeducational, independent institute of higher education. It is respected for its diverse student population and its commitment to quality. Graduates of the degree program are known to be self-aware, compassionate, and competent in their field. At the same time, the program celebrates diversity in all aspects. The program is designed according to the practitioner/scholar model. This means that the emphasis is firstly on generalist training so that graduates can take on positions within community and clinical settings. Students learn about education, consultation, supervision, management, program evaluation, research, intervention, assessment, and relationship.
Graduates are respected for their competence in assessing intellectual functioning, personality, and behavior. At the same time, they socialize professionally, integrating the exploration of ethical issues during their supervised clinical experience. Furthermore, students become members of local and national psychology organizations and they are expected to maintain this membership throughout. In 2003, the degree became available with a specialization in Child & Adolescent Proficiency. Those who choose this track will take additional courses in:
- Clinical Aspects of Adolescence
- Programmatic Interventions with Children
- Child Psychotherapy
- Clinical Child Development
Scholarly training is equally important during the program. Hence, students learn to evaluate how effective are their clinical skills, how clinical programs impact their target populations, how valid are the different assessment tools, and how relevant is the contemporary clinical literature. With this particular element of the program, graduates are encouraged to take on positions as clinicians, rather than focusing on research or academics.
As part of the degree program, students must take part in a dissertation seminar. They must also complete a full-time internship for one year, or a part-time internship for two years. Furthermore, they must complete their PsyD dissertation. Students learn about the biological bases of behavior, the cognitive-affective bases of behavior, the social bases of behavior, and individual differences. They are trained in research, consultation, assessment, and clinical intervention.
As part of the curriculum, students must first take three courses in assessment methods. They then have to complete courses in basic treatment methods:
- Individual Psychotherapy
- Advanced Seminar in Systems Theory and Family Therapy
- Group Theory and Practice
Then, they have to undergo professional seminars in clinical psychology. Specifically, these are:
- Community Psychology
- Professional Practice Seminars
- Case Conference Seminars
- Case Consultation in Health Delivery System: Case Perspectives
- Systems Consultation in Health Delivery Systems: Systems Perspective
Next, they must complete their psychological foundations:
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
- Social Bases of Behavior
- Individual Differences
- History of Systems
Furthermore, students will need to take part in statistics and research design (experimental design, and advanced research design in clinical psychology), before completing a practicum, an internship, and a doctoral dissertation.
Upon completion of the degree, a variety of career opportunities become available. Broadly speaking, these can be categorized as:
- Clinical positions, where they work in a private practice, medical facility, or mental health facility to provide direct treatment to patients.
- Academic positions, where they work to educate the next generation of psychologists.
- Research positions, where they look into methods of improving current practice.
Clearly, earning a doctorate in clinical psychology is a fantastic way to improve your career. In fact, it is a necessary step to enable you to practice as a psychologist, whether that is in a clinical setting, in academics, or in a research facility. By completing this degree, you will be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of other people, through direct clinical practice, education, or research. This is something to take a great deal of personal and professional pride in.
- Psychologists. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hartford.edu/a_and_s/departments/psychology/program_psyd/
- A Brief History of NCSPP. (2006, May). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/may06/history.aspx