Should I pursue a career as a Clinical Psychologist?

Sometimes, we just don’t feel our best. And, most often than not, the hard times pass, and we move on. But for some, the feeling of hopelessness and desperation doesn’t leave them, and depression sets in. These feelings are much more serious than “just having a bad day.” Sometimes, they can indicate an emotional problem or chemical imbalance that can be helped by a Clinical Psychologist. Others who may need a Clinical Psychologist might include those with eating disorders, substance abuse, learning disabilities, children with ADD or Asperger’s Syndrome, or with individuals who have problems like bipolar, anxiety or schizophrenia.

If you decide to earn your online Doctorate of Counseling degree with a specialization in clinical psychology, you may need to plan on investing five to seven years of your time and then perhaps another year for an internship. There are two types of doctorate degrees to choose from: a PhD in Psychology, or a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, which will focus on science and research or a PsyD, or Doctor of Psychology, which will focus on clinical work. Depending on your career goal, choose the coursework that you think will be most beneficial in your career.

Clinical Psychologists can be found in many settings. If you would like to focus on research, you may choose to do so within the realm of clinical psychology by researching mental health issues and policies or by creating and implementing training procedures for others to use. Many universities employ Clinical Psychologists to teach those who will eventually enter a career in psychology. Police departments and military branches are often in need of Clinical Psychologists, as well.

If working in a clinical setting is your goal, Clinical Psychologists can be found in many kinds of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, physician’s clinics and mental health facilities. But, perhaps you have an entrepreneurial spirit, as well. You may choose to open your own private practice, so you can be the boss and in total control. Although, expensive to start, this can also be a very lucrative option for you.

Earning your online Doctorate of Counseling degree can provide you with a gainful salary. The average salary of a Clinical Psychologist in 2016, according to BLS.gov, was $75,230 annually, however, this can vary depending on experience, degree and location. With a faster than average growth rate of 14% between now and 2026, your online Doctorate of Counseling degree with a specialty in psychology will help you land your dream job, no doubt. And perhaps the most rewarding part of your job is the people you will help with your extensive knowledge and support.

But, how do you know you have what it takes to be a good Clinical Psychologist? First and foremost, you must be a good listener and an excellent communicator. Compassion and empathy are a must, as well as, being non-judgmental and supportive. And then there is the scientific aspect of what you are doing. Are you truly interested in science and how the mind works? You will need to be insightful and ask the right questions. You will need to be observant and recognize someone’s behavior patterns. The Clinical Psychologist must be motivated, dedicated and determined to help their patients, all while maintaining a healthy mental status for themselves, as working with those with mental issues can be heartbreaking.

If you would like to learn more about this field, please see our list of the Best Online Schools for Doctorate of Counseling degree programs.