Can I Become a Clinical Psychologist With a BA in Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

If you have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in psychology, you may be wondering if it’s possible to become a clinical psychologist. The answer is yes, but it will require additional education and training.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between a BA in psychology and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in clinical psychology. A BA in psychology provides a broad overview of the field, covering topics such as cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and abnormal psychology. On the other hand, a PsyD or PhD in clinical psychology is a specialized degree that focuses specifically on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.

So how do you go from having a BA in psychology to becoming a licensed clinical psychologist? The first step is to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology.

This typically involves earning either a PsyD or PhD in clinical psychology from an accredited program. These programs typically take 4-6 years to complete and include both coursework and practical training.

During your graduate program, you will learn about various forms of therapy including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. You will also learn about different types of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia.

After completing your graduate program, you will need to gain supervised experience by working as an intern or resident at an approved mental health facility. This typically involves completing 1-2 years of supervised practice under the guidance of a licensed clinical psychologist.

Once you have completed your supervised experience, you can apply for licensure as a clinical psychologist. This typically involves passing an examination administered by your state licensing board.

In summary, while having a BA in psychology is an important foundation for becoming a clinical psychologist, it is not sufficient on its own. To become licensed as a clinical psychologist requires pursuing additional education and training through either a PsyD or PhD program in clinical psychology, completing supervised experience, and passing a licensure exam.