Why are you here? What moves you? These are important things to ask yourself when considering a career as a clinical psychologist.
Tips for thriving after completing a psychology undergraduate degree:
- Know where things are headed
- Know “what moves you”
- Point yourself in the right direction
- Get out of your own way
- Self-care, love and compassion
The state of the discipline
The role of “clinical psychologist” is changing dramatically! Amendments to the Regulated Health Professions Act (2017), including the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy, now allows many professionals beyond clinical psychologist to conduct psychotherapy. This includes social workers, nurses, psychotherapists, to name a few.
Therefore, it is not necessary to complete a PhD in clinical psychology if you want to be a fulltime practioner! It’s a long, painful, and expensive road, including 6+ years of research. There are way easier pathways to your goals, and if you choose the “PhD in clinical psychology” road to become a full-time practioner, not only will your mentors and professors be sad, but you may experience increased competition for clinical positions and possibly not get paid what you want.
So when should you pursue clinical psychology?
- Are you interested in clinical work such as diagnosis, assessment, and leadership?
- Would you like to work with complex populations?
- Do you like science and big picture thinking?
- Are you good at complex projects?
- Do you like working in systems?
- Are you very passionate about social and health issues?
- Do you prefer variety in your day-to-day?
- Do you want research to be a significant part of your career?
- Do you want to blaze a trail?
If you answered “yes” to many of the above statements, then a PhD in clinical psychology may be the right path for you.
Jobs in clinical psychology
- Staff psychologist (clinical, research, and service)
- Medical cchool
- Treatment facility
- Community mental health
- School board
- Private practice
- Academia (lecturer and professor)
- Industry (tech, software development, research)
The yearly impact of a program designer and evaluator (e.g. clinical psychologist with research intensive practice) is extensively larger than that of a full-time therapist. Policy, programming, and intervention development can reach far more people in need than the caseload of a full-time therapist.