If you have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in psychology, you may be wondering if it’s possible to become a clinical psychologist. The answer is yes, but there are some important steps you need to take before becoming fully licensed and certified.
Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
First, let’s talk about what it takes to earn a BA in psychology. This undergraduate degree typically takes four years to complete and covers a wide range of topics related to human behavior, including social psychology, cognitive psychology, abnormal psychology, and more.
- Important Skills: During your undergraduate studies, you will develop important skills such as critical thinking, research methods, and data analysis. These skills will be essential as you move forward in pursuit of your career as a clinical psychologist.
- GPA Requirements: In order to be accepted into graduate programs for clinical psychology, you will need to maintain a high GPA during your undergraduate studies. While specific requirements vary by program, most require at least a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Earning Your Graduate Degree in Clinical Psychology
After earning your BA in psychology, the next step is to earn your graduate degree in clinical psychology. This typically involves completing either a Master of Arts (MA) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program.
- Coursework: During your graduate studies, you will take courses focused on psychotherapy techniques and theories, psychopathology and diagnosis, psychological assessment and testing methods, and research methodology.
- Clinical Experience: In addition to coursework, most programs also require clinical experience through internships or supervised practicums. This experience is critical to developing the skills and knowledge needed to work with patients in a clinical setting.
Becoming Licensed and Certified
After completing your graduate program, you will need to become licensed and certified in order to practice as a clinical psychologist. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but typically include:
- Supervised Hours: You will need to complete a specific number of supervised clinical hours before becoming eligible for licensure.
- Licensure Exam: You will need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) in order to become licensed.
- Certification: In addition to licensure, many clinical psychologists also choose to become certified through organizations such as the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
While becoming a clinical psychologist with a BA in psychology requires significant time and effort, it is possible with dedication and hard work. By earning your undergraduate and graduate degrees, gaining clinical experience, and becoming licensed and certified, you can pursue a rewarding career helping others improve their mental health and wellbeing.