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how to become a neuropsychologist

How To Become a Neuropsychologist?

by Antra Kamble

In the field of neuroscience, do you know how to become a neuropsychologist? Becoming a neuropsychologist takes many years of education and training after high school. There are various programs available across the country. In my article, I will provide a step-by-step guide for becoming a successful neuropsychologist. I have also provided courses in neuropsychologist programs that will help you to choose the right program for your needs. Let us now discover how to become a neuropsychologist and the steps needed to enter this profession!

How To Become A Neuropsychologist?

Neuropsychologists are specialized in the assessment and treatment of patients with brain injury or disease. This column provides a step-by-step overview of how to become a neuropsychologist.

  1. Earn A Bachelor’s Degree.
  2. Earn A Master’s Degree
  3. Earn A Doctoral Degree
  4. Complete Internship
  5. Apply For And Pass In EPPP
  6. Earn A State Licensure
  7. Maintain Certification

It is very important to analyze first whether becoming a neuropsychologist is a good career choice for you. If you are interested in knowing how to become a neuropsychologist, continue reading further.

Step By Step Guide To Become A Neuropsychologist

This particular section details how to become a neuropsychologist, including education, certification, and licensure requirements. Make sure you read out all the sections carefully. Let’s start now!

  1. Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Future neuropsychologists must earn a bachelor’s degree before starting their educational training. Most of the candidates major in psychology or a closely related field to neuropsychology. During this, you get to learn psychological terms like neuroanatomy, brain-behavior disorders, and psychological research. You can also take specialized courses in neuropsychology or neuroscience. These are the important courses you should consider during your undergraduate program.

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychological Research and Assessment
  • Statistics
  1. Earn A Master’s Degree

Some of the doctoral programs allow students to go from bachelor’s degree to doctoral studies directly. But many students also earn a master’s degree first. Earning a master’s degree in psychology takes two years for completion. Before pursuing your master’s, talk to the faculty members of your Psychology Department about your interests. They will provide you proper guidance on how to find the correct program for further education. This step helps students specialize in their training and gain admission to a competitive doctoral program.

Subjects Needed For Becoming A Neuropsychologist

When gaining knowledge about how to become a neuropsychologist you must know the subjects that are necessary for becoming a successful Neuropsychologist.

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Math
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology

4. Earn A Doctoral Degree

A doctoral in Neuropsychology takes an additional 4 years to complete. You can directly apply for the doctoral degree after earning a bachelor’s degree. During this program, students complete their advanced coursework in neuropsychology. This program plays a major role in obtaining an internship and a research-based dissertation. Below is the list of coursework included in a doctorate degree.

  • Neuroscience
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Etiologies
  • Neurological Disorders
  1. Complete Internship

Most of the states require professionals to complete internship hours after completing their program. You need a minimum of two to five years for completing your internship. The fees for an internship vary from $1,500 to $6,000 in most of the states. This provides you a broad spectrum of experience that will make you eligible for various training programs. Make sure your chosen internship meets the American Psychological Association’s (APP) terms of eligibility.

  1. Apply For And Pass In EPPP

While completing the post-doctoral internship, you can apply for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology known as EPPP. Anyone who wishes to practice in any field of psychology must pass this examination. This test consists of multiple-choice questions and answers supported by Practice Analyses.

  1. Earn State Licensure

After completing your internship period, you require a state license for practicing. This helps you to strengthen your employment opportunities. The licensure requirements vary from state to state. Most states require the following criteria for earning a license.

  • A doctoral degree
  • Passing score in a psychology exam
  • 2,000 hours of supervised experience
  1. Maintain Certification

A licensed psychologist must work toward the maintenance of certification (MOC). Make sure the board of certification is provided through a well-known Board of Professional Psychology. You can keep yourself engaged in continued education and professional activities. You must complete a self-evaluation once every ten years. Following are the certifications available for neuropsychologists.

  • American Board of Professional Psychology

ABPP grants BN Board Certification Diplomate Status to professionals who demonstrate advanced knowledge of clinical neuropsychology. The candidate must complete a doctorate in psychology, an internship, postdoctoral training, a state license, and three years of experience. ABPP also offers candidates a clinical neuropsychology certification.

  • American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology

Neuropsychologists must have a doctorate degree and a license to practice in their state to receive this certification. Candidates have to complete an APA-authorized internship program, oral and written examinations administered by the ABCN.

Keep reading for an overview of what it takes to be a neuropsychologist, including qualification, skills, duties, and estimated earnings.

Qualification Needed To Become A Neuropsychologist

As you have now studied how to become a neuropsychologist, have a look at its essential qualifications. You require the below-mentioned qualifications for becoming a well-known neuropsychologist.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
  2. Master’s Degree in Psychology
  3. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in neuropsychology.
  4. A state license
  5. Certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology OR Certification from the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology

Skills Required To Become A Neuropsychologist

By now you have learned how to become a neuropsychologist. These are the additional skills you need to focus on apart from the educational knowledge.

  1. Excellent communication skills
  2. Ability to create and administer research studies.
  3. Excellent observation skills to recognize human gestures and other actions.
  4. Review and analyze research data and findings.
  5. Able to properly understand data from other researchers.
  6. Being able to interpret and analyze data.
  7. Requires critical thinking skills
  8. Ability to take unconventional approaches to problems or issues.
  9. Essential problem-solving skills.
  10. Translate ideas into practical applications.

Duties Of A Neuropsychologist

The professionals working in neuropsychology are known as neuropsychologists. Neuropsychology looks at how the brain’s structures are able to perform their jobs. The duties of neuropsychologists may vary depending upon their specialties. As a neuropsychologist, you need to do the following set of duties.

  1. Assessing patients
  2. Diagnosing patients
  3. Understand brain-based conditions
  4. Treating specific brain injuries
  5. Administering neurological tests like brain scans on patients.
  6. Determine whether a patient is suffering from a neurological problem or not
  7. Treating patients suffering from strokes or traumatic brain injuries.
  8. Treat patients having disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease
  9. Consulting with pharmaceutical companies
  10. Testifying in court cases.
  11. Performing tests that measure cognitive functioning
  12. Conduct Clinical Researches

How Long Does It Take To Become A Neuropsychologist?

It takes at least 10 to 18 years to become a neuropsychologist. You need to go through a lot of education and training to become a licensed neuropsychologist. It takes four years to become a graduate of high school. Students also have to complete a bachelor’s degree in science which takes additional four years. You can further step into the field of research that takes at least four to seven years. Most of the states require internship hours which can vary from two to five years.

Areas Of Specializations In Neuropsychology

Above I have mentioned some core courses that all the students can take. You can then specialize in neuropsychology in different departments. Following are the areas of specialization you can find in the field of Neuropsychology.

  1. Clinical Neuropsychology

Professionals in this field use their knowledge of the brain to conduct assessments on a person suffering from a brain disease or injury. After diagnosing, neuropsychologists team up with physicians to plan and execute the best treatments. Following are the tests administered by clinical neuropsychologists.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  1. Cognitive Neuropsychology

Cognitive Neuropsychologists focus on the relationship between the brain and brain-related functions. In this course, students learn theoretically and applied issues in cognitive rehabilitation. This includes therapeutic cognitive activities, the theoretical process of assessing brain-behavior disorders, and various treatments for impaired neurological systems.

  1. Pediatric Neuropsychology

Pediatric neuropsychologists majorly focus on the relationship between the brain and the behavior of children. Students learn about disorders that affect learning, memory, and behavior in courses of child and adolescent disorders. They also get to explore the diagnosis and assessment process, direct evaluation techniques, and treatment options. Pediatric neuropsychologists can become certified professionals by the American Academy of Paediatric Neuropsychology. Below is the list of topics included in this particular course.

  • Attention Deficit
  • Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Seizures
  • Brain Injuries
  1. Forensic Neuropsychology

These specialists apply their expertise in the brain to legal issues. Forensic Neuropsychologists determine whether an accident has affected the physical and mental functioning of the brain. These professionals also assess people who have been accused of crimes. There is no specific training available for these professionals.

Seminars / Programs In Neuropsychology

Below are some of the specific areas found in neuropsychology programs you can choose to focus on.

  1. Foundation Of Neuropsychology

Foundation classes introduce students to the subfield of neuropsychology. Here students explore the neuropsychological assessment process, treatment techniques, and neuropsychological disorders. These classes also provide information on how to become a neuropsychologist.

  1. Neuroanatomy

You get to examine the structure and function of the central nervous system in neuroanatomy courses. Here, students learn about the functions and roles of neurons, neuronal communication, and neural systems within the human brain. This course also covers the biological bases of behavior through an anatomical lens. Students who are interested in clinical and research careers can earn maximum benefits by studying neuroanatomy.

  1. Neuropsychological Assessment

In these classes, students get to learn to identify and diagnose neuropsychological disorders. This course covers assessment techniques for pediatric and adult patients. They work in major cognitive areas like executive functioning, language, and memory. Here, students also learn about some different assessment instruments and their reporting processes.

How To Become A Clinical Neuropsychologist?

Clinical neuropsychologists are professionals who specialize in psychological disorders related to or caused by brain-based conditions. These experts study and treat cognitive and behavioral issues caused by stroke, dementia, or other brain injuries. Neuropsychologists in this field evaluate and diagnose patients further creating a treatment plan including therapy, medication, or surgery. To understand how to become a clinical neuropsychologist, you need to follow the below-given educational requirements.

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s degree
  2. Earn a Doctorate Degree in Psychology
  3. Complete one-year clinical internship
  4. Compete for a two-year residency
  5. Obtain a license for the practice
  6. Earn certification

In this field, certification is strongly recommended bypassing the exams offered by the following boards of neuropsychology.

  1. American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology
  2. American Board of Professional Neuropsychology
  3. American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology

Organizations Of Neuropsychology

Some professional organizations help neuropsychology students build a network before entering the workplace. These organizations offer them networking opportunities and access to new research. Students get additional benefits like professional development resources, discounts on membership rates, and job boards. Below I have picked out some best organizations of neuropsychology for you.

  1. National Academy Of Neuropsychology
  2. The Society For Clinical Neuropsychology
  3. American Psychological Association
  4. Sports Neuropsychology Society
  5. American Academy Of Clinical Neuropsychology

Medical Schools For Becoming A Neuropsychologist

You must apply to the best medical schools for Neuropsychology for pursuing your career in the field of Neuropsychology. I have made it easy for you by presenting a list of different medical schools that can be helpful for you.

  1. Arizona State University-Tempe
  2. Brown University
  3. California State University-Fresno
  4. California State University-Stanislaus
  5. Carleton College
  6. Carnegie Mellon University
  7. Case Western Reserve University
  8. George Fox University
  9. George Mason University
  10. Hampshire College

Where Do Neuropsychologists work?

Neuropsychologists can work in the below-mentioned workplaces.

  1. Physician’s offices
  2. Legal settings (Court)
  3. Colleges and Universities
  4. Rehabilitation Centers
  5. Hospitals
  6. Clinics
  7. Private Research Facilities
  8. Government Research Facilities
  9. Pharmaceutical companies

Salary Of Neuropsychologist

The average salary of a neuropsychologist depends upon the location and type of workplace. Generally, it ranges between $65,000 to $187,000 per annum. Various employment websites reported that the average neuropsychologist salary is $129,854 per annum. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the growth rate for all psychologists will be 14 percent by 2026!

FAQ

How many years does it take to become a neuropsychologist?

It takes 10 to 18 years to become a neuropsychologist. The timeline in this field depends upon the program chosen and the state internship requirements.

Do you need to go to med school to be a neuropsychologist?

Yes, you do need to go to med school to be a neuropsychologist. To complete your advanced coursework in neuropsychology you need to go to med school. Med school will help you to earn a Doctoral Degree in Neuropsychology.

What qualifications do you need to be a neuropsychologist?

Following are the essential qualifications you need to be a neuropsychologist.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
  2. Master’s Degree in Psychology
  3. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in neuropsychology.
  4. A state license
  5. Certification from the American Board of Professional Psychology OR Certification from the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology

Do neuropsychologists get paid well?

Yes, neuropsychologists do get paid very well. Generally, it ranges between $65,000 to $187,000 per annum. Various employment websites reported that the average neuropsychologist salary is $129,854 per annum.

Conclusion

Now you have understood how to become a neuropsychologist in detail. You should consider the educational, skills, duties, certification, and licensing factors to become a neurosurgeon. It takes at least 10 to 18 years of training before being able to practice. Here, I have mentioned different areas of specialization in this field like clinical, cognitive, and pediatric neuropsychology. By learning how to become a neuropsychologist you can easily complete and earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

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