Clinical Psychology PHD Online Degree Programs

If you’re looking into phd programs and think you’d be interested in clinical psychology, then you’ll be happy to know that the field is growing faster than average.  Well…it’s good news for psychologists.  What it says about us that we need so much therapy is another matter…

What Is Clinical Psychology?

Imagine Clinical Psychology to be the “hands on, getting to know you” approach to psychology.

Clinical Psychologists are not psychiatrists.  Psychiatrists are medically trained doctors with a specialty in psychology.  They have attended 4 years of medical school, and the required 4 years of residency.  They often use a medication-based approach to treatment.

Clinical Psychologists, on the other hand, often use a team approach to a patient’s treatment.  They work closely with psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to offer a multi-dimensional approach.  They are not doctors, and do not prescribe medications to their patients.

Clinical Psychologists are experts in assessing problems in patients and offering counseling, but there is much more to the field.  Yes, they assess problems and disorders, but they also conduct research, provide psychotherapy treatment, teach, focus on prevention, work as consultants for schools and businesses, and provide testimony in court cases.

Why a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

Aside from the fact that you’ll have plenty of patients in this field, enrolling in a clinical psychology doctoral program means that you’ll have a wide variety of career choices after you’re finished with your degree.  You can work in the business field, counseling, research, education, health care, or social services.

When you’re in a clinical psychology doctoral program, you also have a choice of concentrations that include:

  • Specific Disorders (such as eating, phobias, or depression)
  • Forensic
  • Sports
  • School
  • Relationships and/or Family
  • Children and Adolescents
  • And more

It’s important to point out that like many doctoral programs, there are two main types of advanced degrees with Clinical Psychology.

A Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology means that your education will be focused more on research and teaching techniques.  If you’re interested in gaining a professorship later on down the road, then a Ph.D. is what you’ll want to focus on.

A Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology means that you’re learning more practical application.  If you’re interested in working with patients, offering consulting services, or working in health care this is the avenue you’d want to consider.

Now, like we said earlier, a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology is different than a Ph.D. in Psychology, so don’t get the two confused!  See our article on Phd. in Psychology for further clarification on this field.

What You’ll Learn In A Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program

Your education in Clinical Psychology (if you’re going for the practical application of the field) is going to heavily center on the area of assessment.  Being a master of assessing your patients’ needs and problems is how you’re going to treat them.  You’ll learn several different assessment techniques, such as:

  • Clinical Observation
  • Personality Tests
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Neuropsychological Tests

There are, of course, dozens if not hundreds of different ways to assess a patient, but these four are the most commonly used.

You’ll also learn about research methods, how to conduct clinical sessions, ethics, and much, much more.  There’s no doubt that enrolling in a clinical psychology doctoral program is a rigorous, time-consuming journey.  But, it’s well worth it!  Most Clinical Psychologists report a high degree of job satisfaction.

Why?  Well, think about it.  You’re really helping people, one-on-one, to lead better, happier, more productive lives.  And you never stop learning in this field!  With each new patient you’ll learn more and more about the human condition, making clinical psychology a field in which you’ll never be bored.

It’s important to point out that you must get licensed through your state if you want to practice after you leave school.  You’ll have to pass a written examination, and oftentimes an oral one as well.  The field Clinical Psychology is regulated in the United States to make sure that all professionals are keeping with the same high-standards that they should.

So, is enrolling in a Clinical Psychology doctoral program worth all the work?  You bet.

Starting salaries for Clinical Psychologists are around $54,000.  And, according the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, 4 out of every 10 practicing Clinical Psychologists work for themselves in a private practice.  Want to have Tuesdays and Thursdays off?  Well, when you own your own practice you can do that!

Additional Clinical Psychology Information: