How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

Inkblots can be used to help analyze a person's characteristics and thought processes.
i Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Psychologists can choose from several specialties, one being clinical psychology. These professionals diagnose and treat mental, behavioral or emotional problems. Becoming a clinical psychologist requires attending an accredited educational program, practical training and a license or certification to practice professionally. It takes about 10 years to complete this education and practical training.

Step 1

Attend an educational program accredited by your state’s credentialing board. Most states require obtaining at least a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Entrance to graduate programs in psychology is competitive. Obtain an excellent grade point average throughout your education to improve your chances of acceptance into graduate and doctoral programs.

Step 2

Obtain your state’s required internship and practical training. Many educational programs include a one-year internship during doctoral studies. Practical training after graduation includes working under the direct supervision of a certified or licensed clinical psychologist for several years.

Step 3

Apply to your state’s board of psychology to take the required credentialing exam. Most states require submitting an application, fee and passing criminal and personal background checks to take the credentialing exam. Most states also require passing an exam administered by the American Board of Psychology to obtain certification in clinical psychology.

the nest