What awaits you after completing a masters in clinical psychology degree? What are the skills you learn after graduating from this program? Although a clinical psychologist can take the academic route that is, going into teaching or more commonly, research, there are many opportunities available to apply your knowledge and skills in other settings. But first, how do you get into the program?
Requirements For Admission
If you’re bent on pursuing this sub-discipline of psychology, then you’d better prepare for admission, which most of the time is a challenge. There are three things that can impact most on your application for admission in a masters in clinical psychology program and it pays to be ready for them.
First, check if the program you are eyeing requires a prior bachelor’s degree in psychology because not all will ask for this. And be sure the school or program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. You also have the option to take a masters in clinical psychology online degree.
1. The GPA makes a difference. Technically, the higher your GPA, the better your chances. That means 3.5 at least. But some do make the cut even with a GPA of 3.0.
2. If you want to offset your GPA, you can do this by getting strong letters of recommendation. Preferably from members of the faculty in the psychology department where you want to enroll. And how do you manage this? Volunteer your services as research assistant. You gain experience, get a better appreciation of the discipline and the professor will get to know you. Or you can involve yourself in activities demonstrating your leadership and social skills, both which are important in the field of psychology and get endorsed by those who have worked with you.
3. Really sit down and work on the personal essay that is required by every school for admission. Think about your goals, and how you see yourself as a professional. List down your interests and whatever activities you’ve been involved with that will strengthen your chances at being accepted. Include your expectations from the school and the program, as well as what they can expect from you.
Some clinical psychology graduate programs also require the GRE or the Graduate Record Examination. It’s pretty much like the SATs, and is composed of the General Test and the Subject Test in Psychology. You want a high grade here to boost your chances.
Coursework And Skills Gained
Once admitted, you can now prepare for the actual training. A masters in clinical psychology program ingrains a lot of theoretical concepts. The field is so vast so students must build a strong foundation. Included in the coursework are:
Research and Statistics
Cognitive and Behavioral Approaches
Individual and Group Counseling Theories
For specialized areas, there are courses in:
Counseling of Family Issues
Understanding and treating addictions
Likewise, you will have to complete legalities and ethics in counseling, management in human resources courses, plus your counseling internship.
At the end of two years, the normal length for masters in psychology programs, a graduate is expected to have acquired and become proficient at:
Diagnosis of mental illness and disability
Administering and interpreting assessments
Counseling and therapy skills
Record keeping and documentation
Joining The Ranks Of Professionals
With some graduate schools, admission means your education will run up to the clinical psychology PhD programs, which you are expected to complete.
But if you complete a terminal masters degree, you can start your professional life by finding jobs that need the services of a graduate with a masters in clinical psychology degree.
Many opportunities are open in the field of research. You can work in universities or with government agencies and even private organizations. You can also become a teaching assistant and gain experience that could lead to a full-time teaching career.
A clinical psychology salary will depend on your workplace, as well as the responsibilities assigned to you, especially if you are into diagnosis and treatment of patients with mental health disorders. Another factor is your location. Big cities like New York will offer higher wages than cities in Ohio.
If you handle patients in group counseling clinics, you can expect to earn a median masters in clinical psychology salary of $63,000. Group counseling is your best bet if you want to engage in psychotherapy because only psychologists with PhDs and licenses are allowed to engage in private practice. You can also find employment in hospitals and clinics where you will be supervised by licensed clinicians.
Other masters in clinical psychology degree holders can go into career counseling and other counseling work, including marriage and family therapy. School counselors and school psychologists earn from $53,750 to $59,440.
If you also have training in other specializations, there will be other work options open to you even with just a masters in clinical psychology degree.
Below find more interesting articles about the different programs, schools, rankings and salaries.