What Clinical Psychologists Do

Clinical psychologists use various tests, assessments, and interviews to identify the nature, causes, and effects of potentially disruptive aspects of a patient's life. A patient might see a clinical psychologist for any number of distresses or disorders. These could be related to mental, emotional, behavioral, physical, or nervous factors in their personal or professional lives. The goal of a clinical psychologist is to help alleviate the identified distress in a patient's life by guiding them as they adjust, adapt, and develop as a person.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Private practices
  • Mental health service units
  • Schools and universities
  • The legal system
  • Counseling centers
  • Government agencies and military services

Education and Training Requirements

The American Psychological Association sets various standards for graduate programs in clinical psychology and those pursuing a career in the field must have (at minimum) a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. All states also require a license to practice clinical psychology.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for a clinical psychologist is approximately $106,600 per year.

Professional Organization

The Society of Clinical Psychology

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