Inside Clinical Psychologist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"My Education Never Ends...
the biggest surprised of my career was how much I continue to do research and study new ideas and theories on psychology, so I can keep current with the types of treatment people may be looking for and the types of medication available." (Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, male
School: Studied Psychology at Uconn in Connecticut; completed Professional degree in 2008

"Working As A Psychologist Is Fulfilling...
I was surprised to find out that working as a clinical psychologist made me feel so fulfilled because I know I am helping others. I initially thought that you couldn't make money and enjoy your job however this has really changed my mind." (Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Psychology at Arizona State University in Arizona; completed Professional degree in 2009

"Time And Tasks Required...
Others would be surprised with the amount of time it takes to conduct research, and what goes into each research project in terms of planning, allocating resources, finding participants, and analyzing data." (Research Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Applied Psychology at New York University in New York; completed Master degree in 2012

"Plenty Of Work Without Grad Degree...
I was surprised how much work there is for someone who only wants to get a bachelors in psychology. The old wives tale is that you need to at least get a masters in it. However, I found plenty of work in the field with just a bachelors." (Drug Therapy; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Psychology at North Texas in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"I was surprised to find fewer and fewer insurance companies willing to reimburse for long-term insight oriented therapy. The big push from managed acre is on short-term treatment and time limited therapy, no matter how severe the issue is." (Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, female
School: Studied Psychology at Medical College Of Georgia in Georgia; completed Doctorate degree in 1993

"Job Description Not Commonly Understood By Laymen...
I was surprised at how little most people actually know about what therapists do. Naturally, they are adamant that they do know and know best, which just makes the job even harder. It's hard to create a trust with clients when they have been told my friends, family, and popular media depictions that therapy is all about letting somebody else fix your life for you and taking pills. You walk in and tell them that they actually have to do work, and all of a sudden it's you, who trained for this career for years, that's somehow wrong about what your own job is." (Marriage And Family Therapist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied My Major Area Of Concentration Was Marriage And Family Therapy. at University Of Rochester School Of Medicine And Dentistry in New York; completed Master degree in 2012

"The amount of work that is required. The amount of stress I bring home from work with me," (Therapist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Psych at Lsu in Louisiana; completed Doctorate degree in 2012

"Grad School Was Worthwhile...
Being an undergraduate psychology major, I thought I had all the knowledge I needed to become a therapist. Going to graduate school surprised me because I learned how much more information I needed to know. I learned so many more valuable skills in graduate school than I had ever learned in college." (Cancer/Trauma Therapist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Psychology at New York University in New York in 2012

"I was surprised that this profession really demands a lot of attention and details. Picking up on people's behaviors is a given, but sometimes it is extremely challenging, and we have to try to be at our best at all times. The reward also never meets the workload, which would make me feel under-appreciated sometimes. Overall, you got to love this profession to go into it." (Clinical Counselor; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Psychology at Utah State University in Utah; completed Master degree in 2011

"Job Market...
I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a stable position to decent work in. I could not find work where I had moved to college for, so I had to moved back tot he town where I grew up to obtain one." (Marriage And Family Counselor; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Psychology at San Jose State in California; completed Master degree in 2008

"Clinical Psychology Is More Than Talking...
As a clinical psychologist, I was surprised at how much work there is outside of sessions. There's a lot of paperwork and deliberation that has to be done to make sure that patients are receiving the proper care. It is a very rewarding field." (Clinical Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Psychology at Stark State College in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I Was Disappointed In The Pay I Received...
I'm surprised it doesn't pay as well as I had expected. I enjoy it nonetheless, but am a bit disappointed" (Psychologist; 2014)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Psychology at Oxford College in Arizona; completed Master degree in 1972

"Learning Is Ongoing...
I was surprised to find out how much learning and research still needs to be done even after working in the field for a long time. You have to keep up to date with recent findings in this field, and if you do not, you will be left behind." (Cognitive Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 23 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Psychology at NC State University in North Carolina; completed Master degree in 1989

"I was surprised that working as a counselor you meet so many different spectrums of individuals. Even though most of the students that I dealt with had similar problems, they all reacted differently and they all had varying personalities." (Mental Health Counselor; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in California; completed Master degree in 2010

"I was very surprised how quickly I was put into the field. Within a few days, I was out helping the community." (Physician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Psychology at University Of West Georgia in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Paperwork Burden...
Finding a job after graduation is really hard for an unlicensed therapist. A lot of work as a therapist is paperwork." (Therapist; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Clinical Psychology at University Of Denver in Colorado; completed Doctorate degree in 2012

"Diversity Of Mental Health Issues...
I was surprised at the diversity of patients. Every Patient has a different disorder and a story to tell" (Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Psychology at Niagara University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Wide Range Of Kids' Issues...
I was surprised at how many different problems children face in their day to day lives. I was also surprised at how easy it is to bond with the children in my county." (School Psychologist; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Psychology/Criminal Justice at University Of West Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

School Psychologist: "The best part of my job is working with the students. I learn so much from them, and enjoy their unique qualities. It is extremely rewarding when a student who has been having difficulties in one area or another makes progress, and I have been involved in that process. One of the more frustrating parts of my job is that there are never enough resources to help students in crisis fast enough or well enough, especially since I work in a low-resource, high needs community.Another hard part of my job is meeting all the requirements of New York State regulations in completing reports, meeting deadlines, and making recommendations for special education." (2011)

Psychologist: "The best part of my career is actually knowing that I have made a difference in someone's life, or helped someone with a problem. It's great to know that I can change someone's life, sometimes just by talking or listening to them. It's also a great feeling to know that I've helped an entire family. The worst part of the career is when I work very hard with an individual, and they never show any sort of change. For instance, I had a client who was very depressed and suicidal. At times I would think I was making progress with them, but then they would go right back to their suicidal thoughts and to hurting themselves." (2011)

Psychologist: "As a consultant I have great flexibility in my job. No one monitors what I do with my time so I can structure it as I see fit. I receive lots of positive feedback from colleagues and parents and children and am able to help people with challenges in their lives regularly. It is a very rewarding job in every way. The only downside is when people are upset with the words you deliver to them. Not everyone is happy with your consultation or intervention and may direct personal and professional attacks against you, verbally. It is not a job for someone who would find that upsetting. You cannot just say things that please people as you must, in the kindest and most professional manner, deliver the truth as you understand it." (2011)

School Psychologist: "The best part of my career is working with children and adolescents. Children thrive on one-on-one attention; as most of my work with children is done individually, they usually are excited to see me! Doing my part to improve the lives of children is extremely rewarding. The worst part of my career is the recent nation-wide budget cuts in education. I have to do more with less resources, and this can be very difficult." (2011)

Career Background

Clinical Psychologist

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Talk To People And Stay Informed...
Make sure you talk to as many people in the profession as you can to widen your professional contacts. Know what is going on in the research community." (Research Assistant; 2014)

"Do Something Else...
Pick a different field if you want to make good money. It does not pay well at all! Only do it if you enjoy it!" (Psychologist; 2014)

"More Than One Skill Set...
Try to obtain more than one area of focus; If you can become a well rounded individual it will help you find more work. This doesn't mean just taking on more undergrad classes, but also language skills" (Marriage And Family Counselor; 2013)

"Stay Compassionate...
Hone and maintain a sense of compassion. People are people, and sometimes it's hard to look past a diagnostic label." (Marriage And Family Therapist; 2013)

"Many Different Careers Are Available...
Make sure you know all of the careers that your field enables you to work in. There are many, many fields for psychologists other than therapists. Research, marketing, and social work are just some of the careers psychologists can get started in." (Clinical Psychologist; 2013)

"Passion Required...
One tip I would give a student who is interested in psychology would be to make sure that whatever field you go into, make sure you feel passionate about it." (Cancer/Trauma Therapist; 2013)

"Understand Sciences While In School...
Really understand biology because it's the foundation that all the rest of your studies will be built upon. Psychology is very connected to the science behind peoples' feelings." (Psychologist; 2013)

"Why To Be A Psychologist...
Make sure this is something you really want, people rely on psychologists to help them so they may live their lives in a happy and normal way, if you are in this just for the money, your in the wrong career." (Psychologist; 2013)

"Biology Helps The Most...
You really focus on taking a lot of biology courses. Taking these courses will help you understand cognitive psychology on a deeper level than those who do not take them." (Cognitive Psychologist; 2013)

"Takes Time To Stay Current...
Make sure you enjoy the field you are studying. With medicine there is ever changing research and the field requires a lot of on your own time work." (Drug Therapy; 2013)

"Be Prepared For Volatile Behavior...
Make sure that you come into the field aware and prepared. You never know what to expect and you always have to be patient with not only children, but adults as well. One day they may act very friendly, but the next day they could turn on you." (Mental Health Counselor; 2013)

"Need To Accept The Drawbacks...
Ask yourself if you don't mind to be under-compensated and work over hours occasionally, if the answer is yes, and you love helping people, this profession will be very rewarding." (Clinical Counselor; 2013)

"Take A Couple Business Classes...
If you are interested in private practice, take as many business courses as you can. They will be invaluable when it comes to money management, projecting overhead expenses, and planning for taxes." (Psychologist; 2013)

"Applying Your Knowledge Is A Challenge...
One of the biggest obstacles is applying what you have learned in college in a way that is useful to your patients." (Physician; 2013)

"Spouse Must Be On Board...
Find a spouse who is understanding of your working conditions" (Therapist; 2013)

"Learn About Learning To Read...
Anyone studying to be a school psychologist would be wise to take as many courses in reading as possible. A good portion of your job will be related to evaluating students who are having difficulty with all the skills involved in reading, and you will work very closely with reading specialists, so it is important to understand the concepts and skills very well. It will also be very important to educate yourself in behavioral interventions, whether it be through your course work, or jobs you may have, such as working in residential schools for students with socio-emotional and behavioral difficulties." (School Psychologist; 2011)

"Pick The Right Psychology Path...
Make sure to find a field in psychology that you love. There are many different fields, and some people are much happier in one field than they would be in another. Also, study many different types of psychology in college Lastly, having good mental and emotional stability is very important for this career. You can help some people, but you can't help other. It's best not to get overly emotionally attached, because it can bring you down." (Psychologist; 2011)

"Requires Dedication...
This is not a career for anyone but the most dedicated students. It takes a huge amount of study for more than 7 years to attain a doctorate and license as a psychologist. You must be prepared to devote that amount of full time effort to your studies and preparation. It is also very costly. As an undergraduate I would suggest taking psychology courses and doing some internships in different settings to see if this is really a incredibly strong interest for you and if you have the emotional makeup for working with people in this way. The entrance to graduate school is as competitive as medical school in this field. Get perfect grades in your courses. Volunteer as much as you can in social service agencies or schools or community centers. Study really hard for GRE exams. Try to publish something as an undergraduate. Get to know your professors so that you can get amazing recommendations." (Psychologist; 2011)

"Textbooks Come In Handy...
Try to learn as much about the education field as possible, including research-based teaching methods and interventions. This will give you more knowledge when giving suggestions to teachers. I would also recommend saving all of your textbooks from graduate school, if possible - I wish I had saved mine! Before pursuing the field, speak to a school psychologist who is currently working in the field - it will give you a lot of insight into the day-to-day work!" (School Psychologist; 2011)