What do they do?

Assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview, and psychological tests. Help individuals with distress or maladjustment understand their problems through their knowledge of case history, interviews with patients, and theory. Provide individual or group counseling services to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May design behavior modification programs and consult with medical personnel regarding the best treatment for patients.

Also known as:

Applied Behavior Science Specialist (ABSS), Clinical Counselor, Clinical Psychologist, Counseling Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Psychologist, Mental Health Clinician, Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Therapist

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Clinical and Counseling Psychologists is projected to show little or no change from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Employment in VA

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (74%)
  • Master's degree  (16%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (10%)
  • Associate's degree  (<1%)
  • Some college, no degree  (<1%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (<1%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (<1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

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People in this career often have these skills:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
  • Administrative - Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Counsel clients on mental health or personal achievement.
  • Evaluate patient functioning, capabilities, or health.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.
  • Record research or operational data.
  • Design psychological or educational treatment procedures or programs.
  • Direct medical science or healthcare programs.
  • Diagnose neural or psychological disorders.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or educational programs.
  • Modify treatment plans to accommodate client needs.
  • Advise others on healthcare matters.
  • Collect archival data.
  • Supervise trainees.
  • Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Write reports or evaluations.
  • Train staff members.
  • Supervise workers providing client or patient services.
  • Develop educational programs.
  • Advise others on educational matters.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.
  • Administer standardized physical or psychological tests.
  • Plan social sciences research.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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