Becoming a Clinical Psychologist. A Long and Winding Journey. Stages to CP 8/18/2009. A Road Map

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1 Becoming a Clinical Psychologist A Road Map A Long and Winding Journey To become a clinical psychologist is often at least a 10 year time commitment So why do it? Many enjoy the mix of science and practice, the ability to make a difference in individuals lives Not research to support the oft heard notion that people go into psych because they themselves have problems College Grad school Clinical Internship Post doc Licensure Employment Stages to CP 1

2 College Most people get a psychology undergraduate degree Less common in those who come back to school after being in the workforce With or without a psych degree, still usually need certain prereqs General, Stats, Research Methods, Abnormal, Biopsych, Personality, Learning, History Getting into a CP program is very, very competitive, so start prepping early! High GPA 3.0 is a minimum, mean for grad programs is 3.5 GRE 90% of programs require taking this Verbal, Quant, Analytical Writing are standard Subject test is separate (not required by all) Try to score at least a 1200 V&Q combined Research experience Strongly weighted variable in gaining acceptance Type of research typically doesn t matter Developing skills to use in grad school (stats, running a study, writing ability) Presenting research at a conference or being a coauthor is huge and looks great 2

3 Clinical experience Not as common, but a definite plus if you have it Undergraduates can use an official externship or volunteer at a location Important to not just be free labor, but instead to gain experience with people Verbal skills Hone those writing and speaking skills These are often seen as a proxy for intelligence Interpersonal skills Being able to interact well with others is one of the most important skills to have Being agreeable and engaging can get you the position of someone with better scores Reliability and dependability Don t be flaky If you say you ll do something, do it! Productivity Usually most apparent in research Can be seen in ability to juggle multiple responsibilities (school, volunteering, research, clubs, etc.) Letters of recommendation Usually profs, hopefully ones you ve worked with and that know you well Can overcome lower scores or cripple high ones 3

4 Motivation This will pull you through the other goals If you don t have this, you do not need to go to grad school! Applying to Grad School Each year, there are around 2,500 CP graduate program openings Acceptance rates vary widely, from 2 60% (average of 10%) Applying to Grad School How to decide where? Insider s Guide to Graduate Programs (Norcross) Graduate Study in Psychology (APA) Use these to narrow down to a list of 20 25, then get on those programs websites to look at catalogs and application packets 4

5 Applying to Grad School Programs are now required to make a disclosure page available FullDisc.html Narrow your list down to (average is 13) Include a mix of competitive and safety schools Applying to Grad School Filling out everything in the application with NO MISTAKES is critical No misspelled words, no grammatical errors Most schools also require a personal statement and a CV, some need a writing sample included as well Personal Statement Should explain why you are interested in Clinical psychology in general This graduate program in specific As well as your career goals and how the program will help meet those Not the place for any Springer revelations about your family and past! 5

6 Curriculum Vitae An academic resume Should include General information Education Honors & awards Professional memberships Prof activities Research References Prepare to wait I applied, now what? Programs will have deadlines anywhere from December to February Interviews can be phone or inperson, and mean you ve made the first cut Go to the place if at all possible! Interviewing Do your best to not be Socially inappropriate Things you say, things you do, things you wear A douchebag Be friendly and energetic, even if you have to pretend Do your best to be Very familiar with the program Know the interests of the faculty you want to work with Understand the educational requirements 6

7 Graduate School Around 180 accredited programs in the US and Canada Approximately 1200 doctorates awarded annually Can be done in 5 years, but typical time is between 6 8 years Several choices to make when deciding about programs PhD or PsyD? PhD is the traditional degree Most follow a scientist practitioner model of training Train for both practice and research careers Typicallyin in a university setting PsyD is a newer degree Follow a scholar practitioner model Train for practice, not research Most are at free standing professional schools Head to head! PhD Huge research focus Train you to do research Assumes grads will integrate research andpractice Smaller classes, mentor model of training Wider exposure to all of psychology Difficult to get into (10%) Often paid for (scholarships, fee waivers, assistantships) PsyD Minimal research Train you to consume research Assumes grads will be service providers Large classes, little direct faculty interaction Few non clinical courses Easier to get into (40%) Can be very expensive (20K+ a year) 7

8 Accreditation The APA gives accredited status to schools that pass certain criteria Not all grad schools are accredited, though, so be careful Many internships and jobs require that you went to an APA accredited program, as do many licensing boards Curriculum and Emphasis Focus on research vs. clinical Theoretical approach Rigorousness of research These may not be specifically addressed in the application materials, so it s important to ask faculty and current students Clinical Internship The final year of doctoral work is usually done at a different university Focus is on clinical training, usually little research expected Have to go through an application process similar to grad school 8

9 Postdoc You ve got the PhD, now let s continue training? Most states require 1 2 years of postdoctoral supervision to be licensed And now, after at least 10 years, you can be a licensed clinical psychologist! Specialization Usually accomplished during internship and/or postdoc training Thisallows for a solid, broad training before narrowing in Can do this further with ABPP diploma Licensure Controlled at the state level, with each state having it s own rules and regs Commonalities include Commonalities include Written exam (EPPP) Oral exam Many states also have a jurisprudence exam Continuing education 9

10 Employment Usually a jarring transition, especially if going into full time clinical practice Huge range of opportunities in Academic Clinical Industry Is CP for me? PRO Wide range of employment settings Wide range of employment activities Chance to significantly help others Personal and professional growth CON Moderate salary Long training process Increasingly gycompetitive for jobs Downturn in funding for research recently Conclusions Becoming a CP is long and difficult process Need to start prepping early in undergrad PhD vs. PsyD 10

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