What Is Neuropsychology
The traditional definition of neuropsychology as the study of, as well as the understanding, modification and assessment of brain-behavior relationships. A neuropsychologist uses objective, scientific techniques to link behaviors, both normal and abnormal, to brain processes.
Neuropsychology seeks to determine the relationship between the brain and human behavior through the study of healthy individuals as well as those seeking treatment for psychological disorders. Using objective tests, a neuropsychologist ties the biological to the behavioral in its subjects. They are able to determine when using such tests, whether an abnormality is more likely caused by a biological function in the brain itself, or is a learned behavior.
Since everyone’s brain is wired in a different way, because of body chemistry, past experiences, inherited genetics, potential substance abuse which can effect brain function, as well as personality and many other factors, it is the job of the neuropsychologist to sort through all of this information to determine a disease’s existence, progress and recovery.
Requirements for a Master’s Degree
Although there are few schools which offer a neuropsychology masters degree, there are many which have doctoral programs as well as post-doctoral programs in neuropsychology. Since neuropsychology is such a complex and difficult field, there are very few, if any, jobs which do not require a PsyD or a PhD in psychology.
If you are interested in becoming a neuropsychologist, it is suggested that you earn your bachelors degree in a field such as biology, psychology, or pre-med. These will best prepare you for graduate work in neuropsychology. During the three to seven year doctoral programs, students learn about brain function, neurological injury and disease, as well as brain anatomy. They are also trained to read and understand test results as they relate to brain dysfunction and abnormalities. Neuropsychology not only studies those people who are effected by brain abnormalities, they also deal with research regarding people who have suffered brain injuries. Changes in brain function after a trauma to the head can help doctors learn how to treat those with such injuries.
Even after such rigorous education and learning, after graduation individuals are usually placed in mentorships with practicing neuropsychologists for even more training and on the job experience.
Types of Certification in Neuropsychology
There are two types of certification available for neuropsychology. They are American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, and the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. Most employers required certification by one or the other. Certification requires passing an exam-both oral and written, as well as undergoing a work evaluation. All of the evaluations are administered by either the ABCN or AACN.
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