How to Become a Neuropsychologist

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neuropsychology

A neuropsychologist is a psychologist that specializes in understanding how the human brain affects behavior and cognitive function. Neuropsychology is a wide field, encompassing a variety of different job responsibilities including academic research, treatment of patients who have suffered brain damage through injury or illness, consulting with pharmaceutical companies on the creation of new drugs, and administering a wide variety of neurocognitive tests.

Typical Neuropsychologist Positions Available

Neuropsychologists are typically employed in either research or clinical careers. Some positions have an overlap between the two. You can learn more about neuropsychology research and clinical careers below.

Research Careers

Neurological research involves studying healthy humans and animals as well as human and animal patients with neurological conditions in order to learn more about brain function. Researchers are employed by academic institutions, private and government research facilities, and drug companies.

Clinical Careers

Clinical neuropsychology involves assessing and testing patients, diagnosing neurological conditions and recommending treatment, and using cutting-edge technology for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. Clinical neuropsychologists are employed in a range of healthcare settings, including clinics, hospitals, and private facilities. Positions in this field include:

  • Acute Neuropsychologists: Work with neurosurgeons and related specialists treating early effects of neurosurgery, trauma, and neurological disease.
  • Rehabilitation Neuropsychologists: Support patients with longer term neurological problems and those recovering from brain trauma.
  • Community Neuropsychologists: Support long-term and recovering patients in the community.

Education and Training

To enter a career in neuropsychology, you will need to make sure you have the following education and training degrees:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, biology, pre-med or neuroscience.
  • A Master’s Degree in neuropsychology, which may also require you to take an internship.
  • A Doctorate Degree, which includes a dissertation and clinical training.

Certification

In order to practice professionally as a neuropsychologist, you may also need to obtain certification, although this is not always necessary and depends on your employer. You can become certified by the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) or the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN). You may also need a state license. This will typically require you to have two years of clinical experience.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Neuropsychologist?

As well as completing a four-year Bachelor’s degree program, aspiring neuropsychologists will have to spend an additional 3 to 7 years studying for their doctorate degree before being able to apply for most graduate positions. Additional time may be required for internships.

How Much Do Neuropsychologists Earn?

Neuropsychologists earn an average of around $90,000 per year. The salary range is typically anywhere from $55,000 to $140,000 per year.

Career Advancement

Career advancement usually comes about through obtaining research grants, being promoted to lead academic research projects, and by expanding personal client bases. Certification with licensed bodies is advisable.

Associations and Groups

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