5 Job Settings for Clinical Psychologists

  • Schools
  • Government Agencies
  • Ambulatory Care Centers
  • Hospitals
  • Private Practice

Clinical psychologists work in many job settings. These settings may vary based on whether they are in private practice or if they have a corporate employer. Some clinical psychologists may switch from one job setting to another over the course of their careers.

1. Schools

One of the five common job settings for clinical psychologists is in elementary and secondary schools. About 27 percent of all clinical psychologists work at these public or private school settings. School psychologists may perform assessments for learning disabilities, set individualized education programs and work as part of a team with the administrators, teachers, parents and students. School-based clinical psychologists typically work during school hours.

2. Government Agencies

Clinical psychologists may also be employed by various government agencies. Some of them may be employed in research. They may review medications and treatment proposals for mental health disorders. Others may serve as governmental employee wellness program managers or counseling providers. They may provide mental health services to incarcerated individuals. Clinical psychologists working for government agencies may also be responsible for disability determinations and referrals for patients to government facilities.

3. Ambulatory Care Centers

Ambulatory care centers include anywhere a person receives outpatient care. These settings include doctor’s offices, health clinics, urgent care centers, outpatient surgery centers, community health centers and institutions such as prisons. Ambulatory care centers for senior citizens are a type of specialty center that often employs clinical psychologists who work with social workers in order to help people get affordable, community-based mental health services. Clinical psychologists may also be available in emergency departments of hospitals for patients who are discharged without being admitted to the hospital for inpatient care. The clinical psychologists may make referrals for counseling, psychiatry or social work services for the patient.

4. Hospitals

Another one of the clinical psychology job settings is in hospitals. The hospital setting includes general, teaching, trauma, rehabilitation and children’s hospitals. Emergency departments that are part of a hospital are also included, and patients admitted to the hospital for inpatient care may be served by clinical psychologists who are employed by the facility. Specialized psychiatric hospitals also employ many clinical psychologists. In the trauma and psychiatric hospitals, these clinical psychology job settings often require the psychologist to provide care to patients who have severe mental health conditions. For example, some of these patients may be forcibly admitted for their own safety. Some of them may be admitted because of suicide attempts or threats of harm to others. In the children’s hospital setting, patients may also be admitted for suicide attempts. Some psychiatric hospitals that employ clinical psychologists only serve children.

5. Private Practice

Clinical psychology job settings also include private practice offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical psychologists who are in private practice typically set their own office hours. They might work evenings or on weekends in order to accommodate the needs of their patients. Some clinical psychologists in private practice may work part of the time in their own office and the rest of the time in some of the other settings.

Related Resource: 10 Best Deals: Master’s in Clinical Psychology Online

Clinical psychologists work in many environments. The demand for people with this type of experience, degree and certification is high, and you may be able to choose which type of setting you prefer. Each of these five job settings for clinical psychologists offers unique features that make this career more enjoyable.