If you are considering a career in clinical psychology, you may be wondering whether it is difficult to get into this field. The answer is not straightforward, as there are many factors that can influence your chances of success. However, by understanding the requirements and expectations of the field, you can better prepare yourself for the journey ahead.

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to identify and overcome these challenges using evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, and humanistic therapy.

Education Requirements

To become a clinical psychologist, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution. This typically involves completing four to six years of graduate study after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.

During your graduate studies, you will be required to complete coursework in areas such as research methods, statistics, ethics, personality theory, psychopathology, and psychotherapy techniques. You will also need to complete several hundred hours of supervised clinical experience through internships or practicum placements.

Licensing Requirements

After earning your doctoral degree in psychology, you will need to obtain a license to practice as a clinical psychologist in your state. Licensing requirements vary by state but typically involve passing an examination and completing several years of postdoctoral supervised experience.

Competition for Jobs

One factor that can make it challenging to get into clinical psychology is competition for jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for clinical psychologists is projected to grow 3% from 2019-2029. While this rate is slower than average compared to other occupations, it still means that there will be some job openings available.

However, because clinical psychology is a popular career choice, there may be more applicants than available positions. This means that you will need to have a strong academic record, relevant clinical experience, and excellent interpersonal skills to stand out from other candidates.


In summary, becoming a clinical psychologist requires a significant investment of time and effort in education and training. While it can be challenging to get into this field due to competition for jobs, those who are passionate about helping others and have the necessary skills and qualifications can find success in this rewarding career. If you are considering a career in clinical psychology, it is important to research the requirements and expectations of the field and to prepare yourself accordingly.