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Clinical Psychologist

Career Overview

Psychologists are scientists who specialize in the study of human behavior and, of course, the human mind.  They may investigate the cognitive, physical, emotional and social aspects of behavior and research it to collect data and formulate hypotheses.

Clinical Psychologists (CPs) constitute the largest specialty in psychology. They conduct psychotherapy for individuals, families or other groups. CPs help mentally distressed clients with life adjustments; they also conduct diagnostic psychological testing.


A master's or doctorate, and a license are required for most Clinical Psychologists especially in independent practice. Those with a Ph.D. are qualified to teach, conduct research, hold clinical and counseling positions in universities. They can work in health care services and private industry as well as elementary and secondary schools and the government.

In addition to three full years of graduate study a student must complete a one year full-time internship.  CPs who conduct private counseling practice must meet licensure requirements in all states. There are several acknowledged organizations that accredit the many doctoral and internship programs available in the United States for such studies.


Of the 166,000 jobs held by psychologists in 2006, 21% were in health care, with those working in offices of mental health practitioners, substance abuse centers, outpatient mental health, private practice and other such settings. Approximately 34% of CPs were self-employed in 2006.

Job Outlook

Clinical psychology jobs are expected to increase by 15% over the decade 2006 - 2016. 


Lowest 10% $17.40 $36,200

Median 50% $38.26 $79,570

Highest 10% $61.84 $128,630

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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