Rankings

The 20 Best Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) Graduate Schools

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

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Updated: February 27, 2024, Reading time: 42 minutes

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As you may see, our efforts to make a peaceful, progressive, and convenient life bring splendid results. But it also carries pressure, urgency, tension, and anxiety, which can affect our mental and emotional state. It’s a reality, and it made us aware of the importance of mental health.

The world manifested this awareness with its rising demand for professionals who can assess, interpret and offer solutions to alleviate mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. These are the therapists, counselors, and psychologists that we know today.

A Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree is an advanced doctoral degree focused on clinical psychology. It is the highest level of education that can be achieved in this field and those with this degree are uniquely qualified to work with patients managing mental health issues.

With the intense psychological knowledge and advanced practice skills gained while achieving the degree, graduates are well-prepared to diagnose and treat a variety of psychological issues and disorders. Those with a Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree are experts in the field of mental health, counseling, and psychotherapy.

The professionals in this field are very impressive. They seem to know what we think, and they’re able to interpret our body language. But getting to that level is not a piece of cake, for they have mastered that skill through rigorous training and studying for an advanced Psychology degree. That degree is called Doctor of Clinical Psychology, or Psy.D.

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METHODOLOGY

The Clinical Psychology graduate schools and programs are ranked based on institutional prestige, teaching and training standards, and student outcomes. In particular, all the med schools on this list demonstrate academic excellence through these features:


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BEST DOCTOR OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY GRADUATE SCHOOLS

Xavier University

Xavier University

Cincinnati, OH

Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Xavier University offers a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) degree program to individuals who appreciate science as an important aspect of all professional activities. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and passion for practicing professional clinical psychology in diverse settings.

Standout Features

The Psy.D. program at Xavier University intends to equip students with knowledge and skills to practice general clinical psychology. It provides students with an opportunity to train in three areas of interest in medical settings:

Xavier University is the sixth oldest Catholic university in the United States.

University of California-Los Angeles

University of California

Los Angeles, CA

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

The University of California-Los Angeles’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology aims to develop students into experts in advanced psychology in the following areas:

Standout Features

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of California Los Angeles is the largest and most prestigious Ph.D. in Psychology program in the United States. It aims to produce top-caliber graduates who will work as researchers, faculty, and clinical science leaders of the future.  

Officially, the internet was introduced in 1983, but it started at UCLA in 1969. UCLA sent the first internet transmission in history to Stanford University. Unfortunately, the computer that sent the message broke down right after transmitting the message.

Palo Alto University – PGSP/Stanford University Consortium

Palo Alto University

Palo Alto, CA

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

The Pacific Graduate School of Psychology-Stanford Consortium is offering a PsyD in Clinical psychology degree program. It is a practitioner-scholar program designed for individuals who aspire to pursue a career providing direct, thorough, and evidence-based clinical psychological services. 

Standout Features

The academic part of the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program is taught by faculty members from the renowned Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Palo Alto University and Stanford University School of Medicine.

The program takes pride in its effectiveness in developing the student’s awareness and skills on the nine Health Service Psychology Profession-wide Competencies: 

Palo Alto University has been leading the field of psychology education for 46 years.

Loyola University Maryland

Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

The Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) at Loyola University Maryland is a program that develops and prepares students to lead in the clinical psychology profession. Its Psy.D. program aims to mold students into leaders and innovators and equip them with the capability to meet the needs of society.

Standout Features

The Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program at Loyola University Maryland commits to training students with a professional development model. It is a method of training that encourages students to develop their unique professional identity that goes harmoniously with their values and philosophy. The training is key to consolidating theoretical knowledge and practical experience, which can play a big role in shaping their decision-making faculties. 

Loyola University Maryland’s Psy.D. program recommends the “scholar-practitioner model” as its method of education. This advanced educational model focuses on applying academic knowledge in delivering mental health services to various settings.

The U.S. News & World Report (2022) ranks Loyola University No. 1 in its list of the best colleges for veterans in the North Region.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University

Los Angeles, CA

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program at Pepperdine University aims to mold students into licensed psychologists who will serve American communities with their knowledge of applied clinical practice.

The university delivers its courses through a practitioner-scholar method of doctoral training to allow students to understand, absorb, and digest the practical application of the academic and clinical education they receive.

Standout Features

The Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) degree from Pepperdine University is one of the highest-ranking Psychology institutions in the United States. It empowers its students to impact the core values of the university’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology: Academic Excellence, Meaningful Service, and Social Purpose. 

The university’s PsyD program guarantees opportunities for world-class training through the following:

Before playing for the Cincinnati Reds, Major League pitcher John Mascot pitched for the Pepperdine baseball team.

George Fox University

George Fox University

Newberg, OR

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Goerge Fox  University offers a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree, which allows you to earn a non-terminal master’s of Clinical Psychology within your five years of academic and clinical training. The program is committed to equipping you not only with knowledge and skills but also a heart and mind that prepares you for the work you’ll do as a clinical psychologist.

Standout Features

George Fox University is a school of “caring community scholars.” Its faculty members are respected industry leaders with strong academic expertise. They are dedicated to seeing you grow personally and professionally.  

The university’s cutting-edge research program is designed to make you understand how normal people think and behave. It will let you know what’s beneath and beyond normal and teach you ways to treat, care for, and manage individuals with mental and behavioral problems.

George Fox believes that psychology is an evolving field. It’s why they are continuously trying to discover new ways to help patients heal and achieve quality lives.

The PsyD program of George Fox University received a highly favorable review from the American Psychological Association during its 2017 re-accreditation visit. As a result, the association awarded the university with a 10-year re-accreditation period. 

University of Denver GSPP

University of Denver

Denver, CO

PsyD Clinical Psychology

The University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology offers a PsyD Psychology Clinical Psychology degree program to develop students into doctoral-level psychology practitioners. One of the most important objectives of the program is to equip students with essential knowledge and skills and a mastery of scientific, functional, and ethical aspects of psychology to succeed as psychology practitioners.

Standout Features

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology of the University of Denver is known for its different programs that provide students with a solid background in clinical psychology. It also allows students to pursue a more specialized interest. This specialty coursework includes:

The clinical practice associated with the PsyD degree begins in the opening quarter of the program. The university has 130 practicum sites that can provide students with endless fieldwork opportunities.

The first female law professor started her work in 1941. She was hired by Denver University’s College of Law.

George Washington University

George Washington University

Washington, DC

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

The PsyD program of George Washington University is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to assess and treat mental and behavioral problems through extensive academic and clinical training. Graduates of the university’s doctorate in psychology program are prepared to apply what they learn in a diverse society.

Standout Features

George Washington University provides its students with thorough psychodynamic training. It is a combination of extensive practical experience and theoretical knowledge of psychology. The program is mentored by experienced professionals, clinicians, and researchers with unquestionable authority on cognitive, behavioral, and a host of other psychological disorders.

Several graduates of George Washington University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology work in hospitals, private clinics, universities, and nonprofit organizations all over the country. More than 90% of the university’s PsyD graduates are licensed.

Its recent alumni are currently providing counseling and therapy to veterans, psychologically troubled university students, individuals with substance abuse disorders, persons suffering from depression, and many more.

George Washington University has produced several outstanding graduates. Among them, three are current, and 20 are former senators of the United States.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (Psy.D.)

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill commits to offering excellence in research and clinical science training. It is a major component of the Psy.D. degree. The university guarantees to educate you with scientific principles and theoretical facts every student needs in their study. It helps them fulfill their desire to learn how it can help maintain human well-being.

Standout Features

The University of North Carolina’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program is designed to equip students with leadership, quality education, and skills to deliver efficient research and clinical services to society. It strives to provide graduate education that generates knowledge and creative solutions to meet the needs of society.

The University of Carolina Chapel Hill is the first and only state university to award degrees. It happened in the 18th century.

Baylor University

Baylor University

Waco, TX

Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Baylor University aims to develop students into professional psychologists. It intends to equip students with theoretical and clinical competencies to effectively deliver psychological services that meet the needs of individuals in a diverse society. 

Standout Features

The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Baylor University is manned by professors who are clinical psychology practitioners. They embody excellence in the practice of the profession. Their teachings are a reflection of their extensive academic, professional, and clinical experience.

The university’s clinical program intends to promote a diverse, inclusive, and fair environment. It commits to developing students into outstanding clinical psychology professionals by providing them with professional training, development, and research opportunities through:

Baylor University is the largest private Baptist university in the world. 

Yeshiva University – Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

Yeshiva University - Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology

Bronx, NY

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology at Yeshiva University is a degree program committed to producing clinical psychologists with the confidence to apply their academic knowledge and clinical experience in a wide range of settings. Its in-depth and rigorous training helps students learn various research, assessment, and therapeutic approaches in the practice of clinical psychology.

Standout Features

Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology is considered one of the best psychology schools in the U.S. The program exposes you to various academic, research, and field training. It intends to mold you into an excellent practitioner of clinical psychology.

Aside from its Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology offers a Doctor of Psychology in School-Clinical Child Psychology program. 

Widener University

Widener University

Chester, PA

Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

Widener University offers a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology to develop you into a competent practitioner of clinical psychology. Its program guides you as you delve into its curriculums and allows you to apply what you know in actual practice. 

Standout Features

As a student of Widener University’s Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology, you are guaranteed empirical and practical learning experiences that can take you to professional success. It commits to delivering cutting-edge leadership training, hands-on clinical experiences, and excellent mentorship from leaders in the clinical psychology profession.  

Widener University is recognized as one of the leading universities in the Philadelphia region.

Long Island University

Long Island University

Brookville, NY

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program at Long Island University is designed for students who want to practice clinical psychology in traditionally underserved populations. It offers a rigorous core curriculum that can provide you with mastery of your courses and allow you to choose two of its major areas of focus:

Standout Features

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program of Long Island University intends to provide students with advanced knowledge in clinical psychology. It aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and professional attitudes to apply their education to prevent psychological problems and provide afflicted individuals with the relief they need. 

The university takes pride in its outstanding faculty and commitment to providing students with cutting-edge cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic psychology training.

Some of the pioneering classes at Long Island University Post were held in stables and garages. 

Chestnut Hill College

Chestnut Hill College

Philadelphia, PA

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology

The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program at Chestnut Hill College aims to produce graduates with outstanding psychological assessment and psychotherapy skills. Its PsyD program, which uses the practitioner-scholar model, develops students” skills as they accumulate theoretical knowledge. 

The Doctor of Psychology at Chestnut Hill is a six-year program. It also offers optional concentrations: Psychological Assessment, and Couple, Family, and Child Therapy. Students who can meet the optional requirements will be awarded a Certification of Concentration aside from their graduation diploma.

Standout Features

The PsyD in Clinical Psychology of Chestnut Hill College is committed to equipping you with a solid academic framework. It intends to provide you with a strong foundation of academic knowledge and robust field experience to mold you into a competent clinical psychology professional. 

The average student-to-faculty ratio of Chestnut Hill College is 12:1. The students in more than 87% of the university’s classes are fewer than 20. 

University of Indianapolis

University of Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

Clinical Psychology Doctorate (Psy.D.)

The University of Indianapolis is offering the Clinical Psychology Doctorate (PsyD) degree. It’s a program that aims to develop you into a competent clinical psychology professional by providing solid academic knowledge and outstanding intervention and research skills. It exposes you to more advanced course content and allows you to master an area of focus which can be any one of these:

Standout Features

When you enroll in the University of Indiana’s PsyD program, you are guaranteed a well-rounded education. The university can easily prove this claim because:

The University of Indianapolis is the number one producer of clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists in Indiana.

Biola University Rosemead School of Psychology

Biola University Rosemead School of Psychology

Mirada, CA

Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Biola University offers the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program through its Rosemead School of Psychology. It delivers its curriculums through rigorous academic training. It aims to equip students with outstanding knowledge and skills to provide professional services to people with psychological needs. The university integrates science with Christian theology to mold students into God-ordained practitioners of clinical psychology. 

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree at Biola University is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Standout Features

Biola University’s Rosemead School of Psychology guarantees its students with reputable academic training and clinical experience. It takes pride in its record of producing graduates who are qualified to compete for leadership positions in various organizations.

Furthermore, studying at the university is beneficial to students. It has a faculty of renowned Christian psychologists who commit to teaching their students to nurture the patient as a whole person.

When you enroll at Biola University’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology, you will also earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology after two years of the program.

Biola University is one of only 25 great schools in the United States with great weather.

University of Washington

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

The University of Washington is offering a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology degree. It is a Ph.D. program designed for individuals who want to pursue advanced education in psychology with scientific, academic, and professional training.

Standout Features

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Washington is committed to providing students with rigorous academic and clinical training. It seeks students passionate about alleviating the effects of mental affliction and applying their knowledge and training in actual clinical practice.

Washington University’s Clinical Psychology program takes pride in its being a recipient of three highly sought-after awards:

Several popular and useful items were invented at the University of Washington. Some of them are color television tubes, synthetic rubber, vinyl, and bubble gum.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (Ph.D.)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison aims to produce clinical scientists through research, rigorous theoretical training, and outstanding clinical experience. It aims to develop students into clinical psychological scientists who have the passion, knowledge, and skills to fulfill these objectives:

Standout Features

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Clinical Psychology degree program employs the scientist-practitioner method as its training model. It focuses on two interconnected goals:

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are crazy about football. Tickets to football games at the university are gone within an hour. 

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.)

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at Stony Brook University was established in 1966. It aims to produce clinical scientists who are qualified and skilled to assess and analyze psychological problems from a scientific, evidence-based perspective. It strives to provide students with comprehensive training in research and clinical work. 

Standout Features

Stony Brook University’s Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology guarantees to provide the best training to students who manifest great potential and readiness for leadership positions in the field of clinical psychology. It remains committed to providing students with the best theoretical and clinical knowledge to empower them to provide solutions to psychological problems based on evidence. 

The Clinical program of Stony Brook University was ranked number one in the country in clinical faculty training for the past ten years.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University

Piscataway, NJ

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Rutgers University offers a Doctor of Psychology degree program with two areas of specialization: Clinical Psychology and School Psychology. While the programs are offered in separate departments, each has a different and sometimes overlapping curriculum and shared courses. 

Standout Features

Rutgers University is one of the first schools in America to offer the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree. It maintains a standard of excellence in developing students and preparing them for rewarding careers as professional psychologists.

Small class sizes and industry-renowned faculty are two factors that help Rutgers stand out in the field. It facilitates individualized attention and helps students work closely with their professors. It is an essential factor that works to develop students into skilled clinical psychology professionals.

Rutgers University is the eighth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It has approximately 9,000 students from 125 countries.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology is a field of study that integrates science, clinical knowledge, and theory. It is a subject that delves into humans’ emotional, behavioral, biological, social, and cognitive aspects.

It aims to understand, relieve, or prevent distress or anxiety triggered by psychological factors. Its main goal is to promote human well-being, help people experiencing emotional and mental problems, and give the best possible quality of life.

While this field focuses on psychological assessment and psychotherapy, psychology professionals are proficient in teaching, research, forensic work, and program management.  

What ailments do Clinical Psychologists treat?

Clinical psychologists provide relief or healing to many human problems, which are hard to treat medically. These are emotional, behavioral, psychological, and mental problems that include:

Clinical psychologists listen to their patients, know their stories, and perform standard tests and psychological assessments. These are important components of their job to diagnose their patients” problems.

They provide treatment, therapy, or counseling to children, adolescents, adults, groups, or families. They also work with other professionals, including physicians, social workers, teachers, and occupational therapists, to help them solve job-related problems.

What is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree?

A Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) degree is a doctorate that qualifies you to practice as a clinical psychologist. It results from an educational program that equips you with scientific psychology, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis knowledge. Completing this degree will qualify for a licensing exam.

While clinical psychology was the framework of the Psy.D profession, it is no longer the same today. Several universities in the U.S. are offering Psy.D. degrees for specific fields. Some good examples of this are Business Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology. 

What is the difference between a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Psychology?

For purposes of clarification, there are two types of doctoral degrees in psychology. These are the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Ph.D.). Both programs prepare students for careers in psychology, but they lead to different paths and goals.

Psy.D.  – This degree prepares you for a career as a clinical psychologist. It is a profession that qualifies you to take a licensing exam to get the authority to work with clients and patients in professional settings. When you become a licensed clinical psychologist, you will be working directly with patients with emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems. A huge part of your job would be to assess, diagnose and formulate treatment plans for them. 

Ph.D. – This degree trains you in research and teaching. It readies students for a career in academia or a business organization where knowledge in psychology is needed.

How do I choose between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D. program?

If you are not familiar with both degree programs, spotting the difference between a Psy.D. and a Ph.D. can be challenging. But if you are sure of the career you want to embark on moving forward, picking a program would be easy.

If you want to work in an academic setting or use your research skills in experimental studies, a Ph.D. degree will suit you best. But if you intend to practice your profession directly with patients who need support for their mental, emotional, or psychological dilemmas, a Psy.D. would be your best bet. 

This article is focused more on schools that offer the Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program. But we include a few schools that offer Ph.D.s in Clinical Psychology to give you an idea of where to apply should you decide to pursue a research-based doctorate in psychology.

What should I consider when choosing a Psy.D. program?

Several colleges and universities offer a doctorate in clinical psychology, but no two are the same in certain respects. Choosing the best could be confusing.

You will realize that the most important thing a school can do for you is to provide the quality education you deserve for all the effort, time, and money spent to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Consider these 6 factors when choosing a Psy.D. program:

1. Emphasis on Clinical Practice and Research

PsyD programs should equip students with scholarly and theoretical knowledge and train them to apply what they know in clinical practice.

2. Specializations or Areas of Focus

PsyD programs typically focus on the psychology and treatment of specific groups of population (Women, the elderly, children, veterans, families, adolescents, and underserved populations, etc.). All of these areas of focus lead to a rewarding clinical psychology career. But be sure to choose one or two that best aligns with your interest, as it will help you learn faster and with less effort.

3. Faculty

The quality of the faculty members is key to a rewarding experience in the program. It includes their expertise, enthusiasm, and heart to be a part of student success. While it is hard to find perfect professors for all your courses, it may still be wise to know the background and accomplishments of faculty members before you decide to apply.  

4. Field Experience

Your practicum or field experience represents the kind of environment and atmosphere you will encounter in actual practice. You should consider its importance because it is one of the best contributors to your practical knowledge and experience.

5. Alumni

Knowing past graduates and learning what they have accomplished simply means establishing a connection to future opportunities. Do not disregard this because it can teach you at least two important things: You see the quality of a school’s graduates, and you get a chance to network with those who have established their careers.

6. Student Success Rate

When choosing a program or graduate school, look into its record of student success. An excellent graduate program produces students with the knowledge, experience, and skills that make it easier to graduate, obtain a license, and embark on a rewarding career.

What can I do as a Doctor of Clinical Psychology?

If you find clinical psychology an appealing job, you are on the right track. The Bureau of Labor Statistics explained the demand for clinical psychology jobs is likely to grow by 6% from 2022 to 2032 and provide 12,000 job openings each year for the same period. One of the many benefits of completing a doctorate in clinical psychology is its potential to open doors for you in several careers in psychology.

Here are some of the most probable jobs you can get with a doctorate in clinical psychology:

What are the different types of Psy.D. degrees?

Some present-day schools have made it possible for students to earn Psy.D. degree with a specialized or highly focused degree. This led to the emergence of four other Psy.D. specializations. Let’s identify all of them:

Clinical Psy.D. – It is the original and most common of Psy.D. programs. It is a specialty that delivers comprehensive and continuous care to people with mental, behavioral, or emotional problems. 

School Psy.D. – Focused on education and young people. It is the second most popular type of Psy.D. degree. Several schools are offering it. It is chosen by students who aspire to become school counselors or work with adolescents with mental problems.

Counseling Psy.D – It is a degree that can equip you with the knowledge and skills to assess and counsel individuals with chronic behavioral problems. This degree also offers courses that delve into abusive relationships, and human sexuality, as these are possible roots of certain behavioral or emotional disorders.

Forensic Psy.D. – the Forensic Psy.D. is a degree designed for students who aspire to apply their clinical specialties, including assessment, evaluation, and treatment, in the legal or court system. While much of its coursework focuses on psychology, it also offers courses that deal with law and courts. These subjects are not available in other Psy.D. programs. 

Correctional Psy.D. – This degree is similar to forensic psychology, but it focuses on subject matters related to criminal justice. It is ideal for students aspiring to provide psychological assistance to individuals in correctional institutions such as prisons and jails. Aside from their training in psychology, students in correctional psychology need to take coursework that deals with criminal justice and our penal system.

What are the disadvantages of Clinical Psychology?

Every job comes with a few disadvantages, right? Here are a few to consider in the field of Clinical Psychology:

Key Takeaways

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.