This page tackles the questions – “what is clinical psychology” and “how is it different to counseling psychology?” – and provides advice on clinical psychology degree programs to take in order to qualify in this field.
Clinical psychology is the analysis, research and treatment of severe mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This can be contrasted with counseling psychology, which deals with everyday stresses, including career planning, learning difficulties, marriage guidance and family difficulties.
This page provides information on clinical psychology online and on campus programs, where the programs can be studied, what the career prospects are for graduates, and more. If you want to broaden your study of psychology, click here to find out more about general psychology.
What do you study in the programs?
Clinical psychology began in 1896 with the work of Lightner Witmer on learning disabilities. Witner established a clinic where learning disorders and other educational difficulties could be assessed and treated. Other psychologists followed with their own theories and treatments of educational and other psychological disturbances, e.g., Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Alfred Adler.
There are now many theories and approaches to clinical psychology, and degree programs may vary slightly as to the content and specializations offered, depending on the research interests of the faculty.
Clinical psychology study is possible at the bachelor level, but is mainly taken at master’s and doctoral levels. Graduate programs focus on the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders, abnormal behavior and psychiatric problem. A typical masters program may include the following:
- Biological Basis of Behaviour
- Human Motivation
- Contemporary Issues
- Research Design
- Tests and Measurement
- Psychological Testing
- Principles of Psychopathology
- The Cognitive Approach
- Clinical Psych
- Theories of Psychotherapy
- The Developmental Approach
- Culture and Psychology
A thesis may be required in addition or in place of some of the courses.
Make sure the program you take is accredited by an appropriate accrediting body, such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).
What are the career prospects with a clinical psychology degree?
Accredited online psychology degrees provide many career opportunities in private sector (e.g., marketing, personnel management), public sector (e.g., teaching, social/community work, mental health care in hospitals, clinics and schools). The American Psychological Association says that psychology is the third fastest-growing field in America requiring a college degree.
With a masters in clinical psychology (MA), you can become a guidance counselor, educator, clinical psychologist, social worker, research psychologist and more. With a suitable bachelors degree, but without a masters or a PhD, you would be qualified to work as a clinical psychology assistant. But for the best jobs you really need a PsyD or PhD.
Salaries are high for top jobs clinical psychology. To a great extent your salary depends on your specialization in your clinical doctorate. In the US, the average salary in forensic clinical psychology is about US$71,000 (PayScales.com).
List of schools and programs
- Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
- Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
- College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
- College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
- Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
- M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Forensic Psychology
- M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Geropsychology
- M.S. in Psychology: General Psychology
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- Learn how you can make a difference in the Human Services field with a degree from Post
- 100% online Human Services BS degree
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- B.S. in Human Services / Psychology
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- B.A. in Psychology / Human Development, Education and Health
- Understand the Human Experience with a Psychology Degree from Saint Leo University!
- Whether you're interested in general psychology or clinical practices, earn your Psychology degree from one of the top-ranked Universities in Florida!
- Receive an Accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in any of our multiple Psychology programs from Saint Leo University!
- Saint Leo University provides academic excellence, flexibility, affordability, and a wide range of educational programs with financial aid and scholarships available to those who qualify.
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- BA: Psychology - General
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We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.
- AA in Psychology
- Bachelor of Science: Psychology: Criminal Psychology
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The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, regionally accredited institution with more than 4,285 students at campuses across the country and online. TCSPP has been an innovator in the field of psychology and related behavioral science for more than 30 years. TCSPP offers more than 20 degree programs and a wealth of opportunities for international experiences.
- Ed.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
- M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
- And more...
- Averett University is a top-ranked, fully-accredited institution that offers students over 30 undergraduate majors, minors and special programs, and 5 master's programs.
- Accelerated programs designed for convenience: choose from weekly evening courses at one of Averett's Virginia locations or study online and on your own time.
- Averett University was named one of Virginia’s top colleges for return on investment, and their average scholarship package lowers the cost of attendance further by almost 40%.
- Averett offers students learning experiences that mirror real-life situations. This means you can put today's lesson to the test during tomorrow’s workday.
- Averett University's 12:1 student-professor ratio makes your education a collaborative endeavor based on close relationships between students and faculty.
- Bachelor of Science - Psychology - Integrative Health Psychology
- Bachelor of Science - Psychology - Counseling and Clinical
- Bachelor of Science - Psychology - Biological Psychology