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What Is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and How to Become One

What Is a Clinical Neuropsychologist?

Clinical neuropsychologists specialize in psychological disorders associated with or caused by brain-based conditions. For example, they study and treat cognitive and behavioral issues caused by stroke, dementia, or other brain injuries. They also work with patients who have a learning disorder or who is on the Autism Spectrum. As a clinical neuropsychologist, you evaluate and diagnose patients, then create a treatment plan, which may include therapy, medication, or surgery. You may also work closely with the patient’s family to educate them on how they can utilize therapy techniques with the patient at home. Some clinical neuropsychologists focus on research and finding new developments and treatment options for patients.

How to Become a Clinical Neuropsychologist

To become a clinical neuropsychologist, you must follow the same educational requirements as a clinical psychologist. Earn a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in psychology. Complete a one-year clinical internship followed by a two-year residency at an institution approved by the American Psychological Association. Every state requires clinical neuropsychologists to be licensed to practice, so research the qualifications in your state. Certification is not required but is strongly recommended. Become certified by passing exams offered by The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, The American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, and The American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology.

Where Do Clinical Neuropsychologists Work?

Clinical neuropsychologists most commonly work in hospitals, clinics, or in private practice, though they may also work in other health care facilities, such as rehabilitation centers. Government agencies and pharmaceutical companies may hire clinical neuropsychologists to conduct research in labs. Some clinical neuropsychologists are self-employed, providing consulting services in various health care settings.