Which Is Better Clinical or Applied Psychology?


Vincent White

When it comes to choosing a field in psychology, aspiring psychologists often find themselves confused between clinical psychology and applied psychology. Both fields have their own unique characteristics, and students may find it difficult to decide which one to pursue. In this article, we will explore the differences between clinical and applied psychology, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a specialized field of psychology that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental illnesses and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists work with people who are facing various mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, etc.

Advantages of Clinical Psychology

  • Clinical psychologists can make a significant difference in the lives of their patients by helping them overcome mental health issues.
  • Clinical psychology offers a wide range of career opportunities such as private practice, hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, research centers, etc.
  • Clinical psychologists have the opportunity to conduct research on various aspects of mental health and contribute to the development of new treatments and therapies.

Disadvantages of Clinical Psychology

  • The work can be emotionally draining as clinical psychologists deal with patients who are often in distress.
  • The training required for clinical psychology is extensive and can take up to ten years or more.
  • The job market for clinical psychologists can be highly competitive.

Applied Psychology

Applied psychology is a broad field that applies psychological principles to real-life situations. Applied psychologists work in various settings such as schools, businesses, organizations, sports teams, government agencies, etc., to help improve performance and quality of life.

Advantages of Applied Psychology

  • Applied psychologists can work in a wide range of settings, and their work can have a significant impact on people’s lives.
  • Applied psychology offers diverse career opportunities such as human resources, marketing, sports psychology, organizational psychology, educational psychology, etc.
  • Applied psychologists often have more flexibility in terms of their work schedule and can have a better work-life balance.

Disadvantages of Applied Psychology

  • The scope of applied psychology is vast, and it can be challenging to specialize in a particular area.
  • The work may not always be as fulfilling as clinical psychology since the focus is not on treating mental health issues but rather on improving performance and quality of life.
  • Career advancement opportunities may be limited in certain areas of applied psychology.


In conclusion, both clinical and applied psychology offer unique advantages and disadvantages. The choice between the two depends on one’s personal interests, skills, and career goals.

Clinical psychology is ideal for those who want to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them overcome mental health issues. On the other hand, applied psychology is suitable for those who want to apply psychological principles to real-life situations to improve performance and quality of life. Ultimately, both fields are equally important in the field of psychology.