Students

What is a “Professional Psychologist”?
What is clinical psychology and how does it differ from other types of training? Clinical psychologists have a doctorate degree (either Psy.D. or Ph.D.) in clinical psychology and are extensively trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, and psychotherapy. They also receive training in research methods, neuroscience, and behavioral and social sciences. They work in a variety of settings providing direct clinical services, conducting research on emotional and behavioral problems, as well as providing education and supervision. They are also involved in providing consultation and management to behavioral health systems. Clinical psychology is similar to other areas of professional psychology (counseling and school) in requiring a doctorate, having a curriculum that is grounded within the science of psychology, providing training in evidence-based practice, and having national-level accreditation. Clinical psychology differs from various master’s level programs for helping professionals (e.g., social work, licensed professional counselor). Master’s programs tend to take less time to complete but accordingly provide less intensive clinical training, less emphasis on research, and less comprehensive coverage of the scientific bases of psychology. Psychiatry requires a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO). Psychiatrists specialize in behavioral health after completing medical school. Although both psychologists and psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental disorders and provide psychotherapy, generally psychiatrists receive less training in therapy and no training to conduct psychological testing. Psychiatrists are trained and licensed to offer pharmacotherapy (medication), psychologists need additional training to prescribe medication and only a few states allow prescription privileges for psychologists.
What is clinical psychology and how does it differ from other types of training?
Clinical psychologists have a doctorate degree (either Psy.D. or Ph.D.) in clinical psychology and are extensively trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, and psychotherapy. They also receive training in research methods, neuroscience, and behavioral and social sciences. They work in a variety of settings providing direct clinical services, conducting research on emotional and behavioral problems, as well as providing education and supervision. They are also involved in providing consultation and management to behavioral health systems. Clinical psychology is similar to other areas of professional psychology (counseling and school) in requiring a doctorate, having a curriculum that is grounded within the science of psychology, providing training in evidence-based practice, and having national-level accreditation. Clinical psychology differs from various master’s level programs for helping professionals (e.g., social work, licensed professional counselor). Master’s programs tend to take less time to complete, but accordingly provide less intensive clinical training, less emphasis on research, and less comprehensive coverage of the scientific bases of psychology. Psychiatry requires a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO). Psychiatrists specialize in behavioral health after completing medical school. Although both psychologists and psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental disorders and provide psychotherapy, generally psychiatrists receive less training in therapy and no training to conduct psychological testing. Psychiatrists are trained and licensed to offer pharmacotherapy (medication), psychologists need additional training to prescribe medication and only a few states allow prescription privileges for psychologists.
How do PsyD and PhD programs differ?
Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology take about 4 to 7 years to complete and both degrees are eligible for licensure in all states of the US. Both programs require coursework in psychopathology, assessment, therapy, statistics and research methods, and the scientific bases of psychology (i.e., cognitive, affective, social, and physiological psychology). Also, both programs require supervised part-time practicum and a supervised internship (generally a year of full-time supervised practice). All Ph.D. programs require a doctoral dissertation, and most Psy.D. programs require a doctoral dissertation (although they tend to focus on clinical and applied topics). Psy.D. programs tend to follow a practitioner-scholar model (sometimes referred to as a Vail model) where the primary emphasis is in training practitioners of psychology and so their curriculum tends to be more focused on clinical training than PhD programs. Although the focus of Psy.D. programs is not on training researchers, there are requirements for training in statistics and research methods so that Psy.D. graduates are able to conduct basic research (often with an applied clinical focus), critically evaluate the existing and emerging research literature, and provide evidence-based practice. Although there are some practitioner-scholar Ph.D. programs, most Ph.D. programs follow either a scientist-practitioner (also known as the Boulder model) or a clinical scientist model. In these models, students are trained in clinical practice, but there is an emphasis on training graduates to be conducting independent research. Consistent with the heavier emphasis on research training, many graduates of Ph.D. programs work in academic positions in teaching and research institutions; however, most graduates also provide direct clinical services, and many work exclusively as practitioners.
How do you decide on a program?
It is important that the program you select fits your goals and trains you for the roles that you desire. It is important to look at how the program’s training model fits your goals. Individual program’s curriculum and faculty’s areas of expertise can help you to determine how well the program meshes with your objectives. The American Psychological Association (APA; www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/) accredits doctoral programs in professional psychology and the National Register/Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (NR/ASPPB; http://www.asppb.net) designates doctoral programs. An accredited or designated program can help facilitate graduates’ later licensure and is a requirement for some work settings (e.g., VA hospitals). It is also important to have a clear understanding of funding and available scholarships or support, as well as how much of the program will have to be self-financed. All APA-accredited doctoral programs are required to post information about their programs on their websites. Specifically, programs provide information related to the cost of the program, the average length of time to complete the program, number of students who graduate or leave without completing the program, placement rate for internships, and graduates’ licensure rate. Additional information is available on the web (e.g.: http://www.apa.org/education/grad/applying.aspxhttp://www.apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx).
Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology

These schools and programs provide the kinds of educational and practical experiences required for the practice of professional psychology. There are programs in clinical, counseling, school, and other areas of professional psychology. Students are trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, individual, family, marital, and group therapy, and other forms of treatment. These institutions may also provide coursework in such areas as executive coaching, sports psychology, forensic psychology, and psychopharmacology. They may provide preparation for involvement in consultation, management, supervision, and education.

Financial Aid Resources
These links lead to information about how to finance your advanced degree, including through loans, grants, employment on campus, and off-campus jobs.

Internship Information Websites
Click here for the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers (APPIC) link.
Look for a Post-Doctoral Position or a Job
Click here to see APA Classified Ads. Jobs and post-doctoral positions are listed by state. Within each state, jobs are typically listed first, followed by post-doctoral positions.
Licensure Information
This link to the web site run by the Association for State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) can be very helpful. Click here for the ASPPB site.
Sending Student Delegates to NCSPP Conferences
These forms pertain to student representative to NCSPP. Click on the name of the form to access it.
Representation Cycle – 
Schools take turns sending student delegates. This schedule shows which school are eligible for student NCSPP conference funding.
Professional Societies
Joining professional organizations is a good way to become familiar with the field and profession, as well as meet future colleagues. There are many major psychological organizations that have student memberships.

American Psychological Association Student Page
Click here to view information that APA has compiled for students.

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