Career and Job Search Guide

Clinical Psychologist

There are many opportunities for clinical psychologists in the current job market. Before someone can practice clinical psychology, they must complete a graduate program and become licensed.

In fact, the current economic downturn has increased the demand for clinical psychologists since more people are utilizing their services to cope with financial, relationship, and personal problems. People who lose their jobs frequently experience depression, which affects their relationships.

Members of the military returning from war, and their families, frequently consult with clinical psychologists.

With U.S. prison populations growing, the need for clinical psychologists has also risen. According to some reports, more than 2 million people are in jail or prison across the United States. Many correctional facilities, prisons, and county jails hire clinical psychologists. They conduct tests, make diagnosis, and provide psychotherapy.

Clinical psychologists work with people from all walks of life. The following are just a few places where they can be found:

  • Private clinics
  • Mental health hospitals or facilities
  • Hospitals and physician clinics
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Veterans hospitals and other military support clinics
  • Government agencies
Wherever they work, clinical psychologists must stay up to date with the current research. Combining this knowledge with modern diagnostic testing enables them to diagnose cognitive, developmental, and mental health problems.

Once diagnosing a problem, clinical psychologists must determine the appropriate treatment to correct the problem. If they are unable to provide the appropriate treatment for patients, clinical psychologists frequently refer them to other professionals.

Not only are clinical psychologists responsible for determining treatments, they must pay close attention to whether or recommended treatments are helping patients. This is essential when assisting patients struggling with depression or mental health problems.

Many clinical psychologists specialize in psychotherapy to assist patients with a variety of maladies. The purpose of psychotherapy is to empower people struggling with destructive behaviors or recurring dysfunctional thoughts to overcome their problems. Frequently, mental stress manifests itself in physical health problems.

After graduating from graduate school and becoming licensed, there are many places where clinical psychologists can work. According to the American Psychological Association, more than half of clinical psychologists run their own private practices. Many decide to specialize in such fields as psychotherapy or cognitive-behavior treatment.

One growing specialty among clinical psychologists is forensic psychology. These professionals combine their knowledge of criminal justice and psychology to diagnose mental illnesses of convicted criminals and make recommendations to parole boards and judges.

The following are common specialties in clinical psychology:
  • Sports Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Military Psychology
Those with an interest in practicing clinical psychology must become licensed in the state in which they wish to practice.