How to become a Clinical Psychologist


estimated salary
What do they do?

Considering becoming a Clinical Psychologist? Now there’s something to think about…

Clinical Psychologists diagnose, and provide treatment for, a wide range of physical and mental health problems.

Their work differs from other fields of psychology in that they generally focus on patients with more serious mental issues, such as depression and anxiety, eating disorders, neurological disorders or addictions. However, the work they do may have a large amount of crossover with other areas of mental healthcare, such as counselling and health psychology.

Typical duties for a Clinical Psychologist may include:

  • Assessing a client’s condition
  • Using psychometric tests, one-on-one discussions and direct observation techniques to provide a formal diagnosis
  • Recommending and administering treatment, such as CBT, other types of therapy or counselling
  • Writing reports and monitoring improvements
  • Carrying out further research into specific areas of mental health
Is it right for me?

Aside from an advanced interest in psychology, a genuine sense of compassion and the desire to improve people’s quality of life is key for anyone looking to become a Clinical Psychologist.

You’ll be dealing with distressed individuals on a day-to-day basis, and your ability to build trust during the process will go a long way in ensuring that your clients feel comfortable in your care. Excellent communication skills will be similarly vital in this profession.

Other key skills for a Clinical Psychologist include:

  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Tact
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • The ability to work well under pressure
Career Progression

Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Up to £26,000

Clinical Psychologist

Up to £45,000

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Up to £80,000

What's it really like?

What’s a typical day like? It depends really. Like most Clinical Psychologists, I work within the NHS, and spend the majority of my time seeing patients in the hospital. I spend around an hour or so with each individual – whether it’s providing therapy, or simply trying to assess what the problem is. It can be really stressful at times, and it’s not always easy dealing with people when they get upset or angry. But it just makes me want to help them more. And knowing the work I do has actually helped someone overcome something which has adversely affected their life for so long, it just feels amazing.

Get qualified

You will need a degree accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society), and three years of post-graduate study (leading to a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology), in order to become a Clinical Psychologist. You will also need at least a year of relevant clinical work experience. However, there is often a lot of competition for places on the Doctorate, and voluntary work or additional certifications in psychology could be a great way to set yourself apart.

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