Clinical psychologists observe, test and analyse patients’ psychological problems and suggest appropriate treatments for them, including therapy.
They use psychometric tests and other standard procedures to analyse and evaluate patients’ psychological problems. Furthermore, these guys maintain comprehensive records of the changes and improvements in patients during and following treatment.
Clinical psychologists also collaborate with other healthcare professionals when a multidisciplinary approach is required in order to improve the psychological welfare of patients. In addition to their hands-on, clinical duties, these psychologists carry out independent research into psychological disorders.
These professionals can help people with a range of health problems, from learning disabilities, neuroses caused by chemical or hormonal imbalances, schizophrenia and depression, to addiction, psychosis, phobias and behavioural problems.
Salary & benefits
Pre-qualification salaries for clinical psychologists are around £22,000 to £25,000 per annum. Post-qualification salaries increase to between £25,000 and £30,000.
As you gain more experience, you will begin to earn increasingly large amounts and eventually you may even earn up to around £90,000 a year.
Clinical psychologists usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week on a nine-to-five basis. However, some psychologists may be required to work in shifts from time to time, handling emergencies during late evenings, weekends and national holidays.
To enter this profession, you’ll need a psychology degree (2:1 minimum), which is certified by the British Psychological Society (BPS). However, candidates with degrees in disciplines other than psychology are also eligible, provided they complete an approved conversion course or pass the BPS qualifying exam.
The next step is to complete a three-year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, supplemented by six to 12 months of clinical experience, before you can attain status as a chartered psychologist.
Training & progression
While you’re working as a trainee clinical psychologist, your training period will mainly be comprised of hands-on clinical work and formal learning through relevant, prescribed courses. Post-qualification, clinical psychologists can choose to take up specialty training in areas such as forensic psychology or clinical neuropsychology.
Career growth really depends on specialisation. Your progression up the career ladder within the NHS or private healthcare organisations is dependent on your experience, performance, specialism, academic background and professional qualifications.
Moving into an academic position as a lecturer or researcher is another possible alternative.