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Information for Students

What is a "Professional Psychologist"?La Salle University

What is clinical psychology and how does it differ from other types of training? Clinical psychologists have a doctorate degree (either Psy.D. or Ph.D.) in clinical psychology and are extensively trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, and psychotherapy. They also receive training in research methods, neuroscience, and behavioral and social sciences. They work in a variety of settings providing direct clinical services, conducting research on emotional and behavioral problems, as well as providing education and supervision. They are also involved in providing consultation and management to behavioral health systems. Clinical psychology is similar to other areas of professional psychology (counseling and school) in requiring a doctorate, having a curriculum that is grounded within the science of psychology, providing training in evidence-based practice, and having national-level accreditation. Clinical psychology differs from various master’s level programs for helping professionals (e.g., social work, licensed professional counselor). Master’s programs tend to take less time to complete, but accordingly provide less intensive clinical training, less emphasis on research, and less comprehensive coverage of the scientific bases of psychology. Psychiatry requires a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO). Psychiatrists specialize in behavioral health after completing medical school. Although both psychologists and psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental disorders and provide psychotherapy, generally psychiatrists receive less training in therapy and no training to conduct psychological testing. Psychiatrists are trained and licensed to offer pharmacotherapy (medication), psychologists need additional training to prescribe medication and only a few states allow prescription privileges for psychologists.


What is clinical psychology and how does it differ from other types of training?

Clinical psychologists have a doctorate degree (either Psy.D. or Ph.D.) in clinical psychology and are extensively trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, and psychotherapy. They also receive training in research methods, neuroscience, and behavioral and social sciences. They work in a variety of settings providing direct clinical services, conducting research on emotional and behavioral problems, as well as providing education and supervision. They are also involved in providing consultation and management to behavioral health systems. Clinical psychology is similar to other areas of professional psychology (counseling and school) in requiring a doctorate, having a curriculum that is grounded within the science of psychology, providing training in evidence-based practice, and having national-level accreditation. Clinical psychology differs from various master’s level programs for helping professionals (e.g., social work, licensed professional counselor). Master’s programs tend to take less time to complete, but accordingly provide less intensive clinical training, less emphasis on research, and less comprehensive coverage of the scientific bases of psychology. Psychiatry requires a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO). Psychiatrists specialize in behavioral health after completing medical school. Although both psychologists and psychiatrists are able to diagnose mental disorders and provide psychotherapy, generally psychiatrists receive less training in therapy and no training to conduct psychological testing. Psychiatrists are trained and licensed to offer pharmacotherapy (medication), psychologists need additional training to prescribe medication and only a few states allow prescription privileges for psychologists.


How do PsyDs and PhDs programs differ?

Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology take about 4 to 7 years to complete and both degrees are eligible for licensure in all states of the US. Both programs require coursework in psychopathology, assessment, therapy, statistics and research methods, and the scientific bases of psychology (i.e., cognitive, affective, social, and physiological psychology). Also, both programs require supervised part-time practicum and a supervised internship (generally a year of full-time supervised practice). All Ph.D. programs require a doctoral dissertation, and most Psy.D. programs require a doctoral dissertation (although they tend to focus on clinical and applied topics). Psy.D. programs tend to follow a practitioner-scholar model (sometimes referred to as a Vail model) where the primary emphasis is in training practitioners of psychology and so their curriculum tends to be more focused on clinical training than PhD programs. Although the focus of Psy.D. programs is not on training researchers, there are requirements for training in statistics and research methods so that Psy.D. graduates are able to conduct basic research (often with an applied clinical focus), critically evaluate the existing and emerging research literature, and provide evidence-based practice. Although there are some practitioner-scholar Ph.D. programs, most Ph.D. programs follow either a scientist-practitioner (also known as the Boulder model) or a clinical scientist model. In these models, students are trained in clinical practice, but there is an emphasis on training graduates to be conducting independent research. Consistent with the heavier emphasis on research training, many graduates of Ph.D. programs work in academic positions in teaching and research institutions; however, most graduates also provide direct clinical services, and many work exclusively as practitioners. Additional information about the two models can be found at the websites for the two associations for training clinical psychologists (www.ncspp.info and http://cudcp.us).


Other information about the Ph.D. and Psy.D. degrees

Both Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs have been offering a greater variety of types of training, conceptual frameworks, and emphases over time. As e result, this question requires an increasingly complex answer. The links below lead to several different explanations of the two degrees' similarities and differences.

What is the Psy.D. Degree?
http://www.internationalgraduate.net/psyd.htm

Appreciating the PsyD: The Facts.
http://www.psichi.org/pubs/articles/article_171.asp

by John C. Norcross and Patricia H. Castle - University of Scranton (2002)
Eye on Psi Chi, 7 (1), 22-26.

Psy.D. according to Wikipedia.
There is also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PsyD, which is a work in progress, as is true of all entries in this source.


How do you decide on a program?

It is important that the program you select fits your goals and trains you for the roles that you desire. It is important to look at how the program’s training model fits your goals. Individual program’s curriculum and faculty’s areas of expertise can help you to determine how well the program meshes with your objectives. The American Psychological Association (APA; www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/) accredits doctoral programs in professional psychology and the National Register/Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (NR/ASPPB; http://www.asppb.net) designates doctoral programs. An accredited or designated program can help facilitate graduates’ later licensure and is a requirement for some work settings (e.g., VA hospitals). It is also important to have a clear understanding of funding and available scholarships or support, as well as how much of the program will have to be self-financed. All APA-accredited doctoral programs are required to post information about their programs on their websites. Specifically, programs provide information related to the cost of the program, average length of time to complete the program, number of students who graduate or leave without completing the program, placement rate for internships, and graduates’ licensure rate. Additional information is available through published guides (see an APA publication which is available at http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4270098.aspx and also on the web (e.g.: http://www.apa.org/education/grad/applying.aspx; http://www.apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx).

 


Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology

     These schools and programs provide the kinds of educational and practical experiences required for the practice of professional psychology. There are programs in clinical, counseling, school, and other areas of professional psychology. Students are trained to provide personality and intelligence testing, diagnostic services, individual, family, marital, and group therapy, and other forms of treatment. These institutions may also provide coursework in such areas as executive coaching, sports psychology, forensic psychology, and psychopharmacology. They may provide preparation for involvement in consultation, management, supervision, and education. Each link connects you with the university or program page. Click here for a list of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology. Click here for a list of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology organized by region.

 

 

 

 

Hawaii

 

 

West Coast West Midwest Southeast Middle Atlantic New England
    Puerto Rico

Financial Aid Resources

     These links to APA's Student Financial Aid Pages (click here) and Peterson's Web Site (click here) lead to information about how to finance your advanced degree, including through loans, grants, employment on campus, and off-campus jobs.

Graduate Psychology Education Program - click here for more information.

The Minority Fellowship Program - Click here for more information.


Internship Information Web Sites

     Click here for the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers (APPIC) link or click here for the APA internship link to learn more about internships for students in doctoral programs.


Look for a post-doctoral position or a job

     Click here to browse through the NCSPP Classified Ads.

     Click here to see APA Classified Ads. Jobs and post-doctoral positions are listed by state. Within state, jobs are typically listed first, followed by post-doctoral positions.


Licensure Information

     This link to the web site run by the Association for State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) can be very helpful. Click here for the ASPPB site.


Preparing for your career as a Psychologist

     Click here to print or read an article about how to prepare for your career in psychology. This link also leads to the Psi Chi National Honor Society web site.

     Click here for a printable PDF file of the abstract for "Expectation and Actuality in Clinical Psychology Practica: Students' Perspective" by Steven M. Gross of Antioch New England Graduate School.


Sending Student Delegates to NCSPP Conferences

These forms pertain to student representive to NCSPP. Click on name of form to access it.
Representation Cycle -
Schools take turns sending student delegates. This schedule shows which school are eligible for student NCSPP conference funding.

Application and timeline for sending student delegates - This form must be completed and submitted.
http://www.ncspp.info/Comments by past student delegates


Professional Societies

     Joining professional organizations is a good way to become familiar with the field and profession, as well as meetGraduate student Tracy Reduzzi speaking at EPA future colleagues.There are many major psychological organizations that have student memberships. Click here to read descriptions of these organizations.

American Psychological Association Student Page
     Click here to view information that APA has compiled for students.

 

 






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