When it comes to determining the cause of an individual's mental health condition, psychologists often ask themselves the age-old question of "nature versus nurture." Clinical psychologists mainly focus on the role of nurture: how an individual's life experiences affect them. But neuropsychologists dive into nature: genetics and other biological factors.
If the link between the human brain and human behavior fascinates you, you might consider a career in neuropsychology. While neuropsychology is now a well-established profession, it is still growing significantly in prevalence and recognition. The American Psychological Association (APA) highlights it as one of the fastest-growing fields of psychology.
What Is Neuropsychology?
In short, neuropsychologists study how an individual's cognition and behavior relate to the brain and nervous system.
A clinical neuropsychologist, not to be confused with a neurologist or neuroscientist, is a licensed psychologist with extra training in how the human nervous system works.
Neuropsychologists diagnose and treat people with terminal illnesses, like Alzheimer's disease, and nonlife-threatening conditions, like autism.
|Lowest 10%||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10%||Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)|
|Less than $46,270||$82,180||More than $137,590||8%|
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep track of data on neuropsychologists' salaries, specifically. Their median annual salary figure of $82,180 includes neuropsychologists as well as other specializations. According to Payscale, neuropsychologists make an average of $94,130 per year in the U.S. as of November 2021 — about 14% more than the average psychologist.
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How Do I Become a Neuropsychologist?
It takes 10-13 years in postsecondary education and supervised experience to become a neuropsychologist. Neuropsychologists usually need a doctoral degree in psychology with a neuropsychology concentration, plus a year or more at an internship (depending on the state).
To practice clinically, you also need to apply for a state license and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
Education for Neuropsychologists
Earn a bachelor's degree
Most students choose psychology, biology, pre-medicine, or another related program.
2(Video) How To Become a Neuropsychologist
Earn an optional master's degree in neuropsychology
Completing a master's degree can help you be more competitive when applying for doctoral programs but is not required.
Earn a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in neuropsychology
A doctoral degree from an APA-accredited school in psychology or neuropsychology is required to qualify for the EPPP.
Defend approved dissertation
During your doctoral studies, you will write a dissertation to be submitted for publication or presentation. After completing the dissertation, you will appear before a board of professionals to defend your thesis.
Complete a postdoctoral fellowship
During your psychology postdoc fellowship, you can get the necessary number of supervised clinical hours to qualify for licensure, which vary depending on the state.(Video) Dream Jobs: Clinical Psychologist
Pass the EPPP
All clinical psychologists must take and pass the EPPP before practicing.
Licensure for Neuropsychologists
The path to becoming a licensed neuropsychologist is generally the same as the path to becoming a clinical psychologist because neuropsychology is a specialization within clinical psychology.
Your specialization in neuropsychology begins during your doctoral studies and continues during your postdoc. Many universities do not offer a degree specifically in neuropsychology. Instead, they will offer a doctorate in psychology with a concentration in neuropsychology or clinical neuroscience.
Once you pass the EPPP, the other main qualifier employers look for is relevant experience in neuropsychology, which you can gain during internships and/or postdoc experiences.
Board Certification for Neuropsychologists
The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) offers a certification for psychologists interested in specializing in neuropsychology. You do not need this certification to seek employment as a neuropsychologist, but some employers prefer it or might require it.
To qualify for this certification, you must hold a doctoral degree, complete an APA-approved internship, and pass your EPPP. You will then submit two practice samples and take a written and an oral exam.
Preprofessional Experience for Neuropsychologists
While academics is crucial to your education, your experiences outside the classroom are just as important. During this time, you will learn skills specific to neuropsychology, such as administering and evaluating tests for brain dysfunction and diagnostics.
Each state requires you to complete a certain number of supervised postdoctoral hours, which will range from 1,500-6,000 hours. For specific requirements, contact your state's relevant psychological association.
Every year, the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology hosts a resident matching program, similar to the well-known Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers Internship Match program. It can help you find neuropsychology postdocs in the United States and Canada.
What Does a Neuropsychologist Do?
A major part of a neuropsychologist's job is administering and interpreting tests. Choosing which tests to administer and making sense of their results requires a high level of knowledge. Some neuropsychologists say this is the most interesting part of the job.
Evaluations include language assessments, mental exams, personality tests, and other cognitive tests. They help measure a patient's intelligence, memory, perception, attention, or personality.
Most neuropsychologists specialize in working with a particular age group, like children or older adults. But some prefer to work with all ages.
Patients see neuropsychologists for various reasons. They could have suffered a head injury that affects their cognitive functions. They could be dealing with an undiagnosed learning disability. They could be experiencing the initial symptoms of dementia.
Neuropsychologists often collaborate with other medical professionals like neurologists, physicians, psychiatrists, and neurosurgeons to ensure patients receive proper treatment.
Another part of a neuropsychologist's job is to read current literature, attend conferences, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations. These activities help keep them up to date on developments in the industry.
Skills and Competencies
Becoming a neuropsychologist takes dedication and determination. You will spend a decade or more in pursuit of this profession.
Although the responsibilities of a neuropsychologist differ from a clinical psychologist, many of the necessary skills, competencies, and personality traits align.
You will often interact with patients that may have recently suffered trauma or are in the beginning stages of developing a neurological disorder. This can be an emotional experience for patients and their families, so the ability to empathize is important for this role.
At the same time, you must avoid becoming overwhelmed by what you may witness day-to-day. Like an emergency room doctor or a hospice nurse, your goal is to strike the balance of being caring and resilient. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the distress of others, you may need to reconsider this career or develop coping mechanisms to avoid burnout.
Neuropsychologists must also possess strong analytical skills. Much of their job consists of matching patients' symptoms with potential causes and interpreting test results.
Frequently Asked Questions About Neuropsychologists
Is a neuropsychologist a doctor?
Neuropsychologists are not medical doctors, but they do hold doctoral degrees and can be addressed as "doctor." However, they do not attend medical school.
What is the difference between a neuropsychologist and a neurologist?
Unlike neuropsychologists, neurologists are medical doctors that can prescribe medication. They do more hands-on work, such as performing procedures. Neurologists and neuropsychologists often work together to diagnose and treat patients.
Do you need to get board certification to become a neuropsychologist?
No. The ABCN offers a special certification for neuropsychologists, but it's not required to practice.Where do neuropsychologists work?
Most work in clinics, laboratories, universities, hospitals, mental health facilities, or research offices at pharmaceutical companies.
Neuropsychology Resources and Professional Organizations
Featured Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What is the future outlook for neuropsychologist? ›
Land your next job, faster.
Vacancies for this career have increased by 117.13 percent nationwide in that time, with an average growth of 7.32 percent per year. Demand for Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists is expected to go up, with an expected 6,130 new jobs filled by 2029.
What is the Job Outlook for Neuropsychologists ? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide estimates of job growth specifically for neuropsychology. However, the agency predicts that the overall field of psychology will grow at an average rate of 6% through 2031.What is the path to become a neuropsychologist? ›
Neuropsychologists usually need a doctoral degree in psychology with a neuropsychology concentration, plus a year or more at an internship (depending on the state). To practice clinically, you also need to apply for a state license and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).Do neuropsychologists make a lot of money? ›
Most neuropsychologists earn between $105,000 and $154,500. Earning a salary of this level almost always requires a doctoral degree and at least seven years of work experience.Is it hard to get into neuropsychology? ›
Neuropsychology is a tough specialization to get into, and even tougher to master. Clinical neuropsychology is recognized as one of the American Psychological Association's (APA) specialty fields. That means that the required expertise for the area is beyond what the average psychologist is expected to have.What is the best major for neuropsychology? ›
Bachelor's Degrees for Neuropsychologists
Most clinical neuropsychologists study premedicine, biology, or neuroscience as an undergraduate. More commonly, they study psychology. Then, they specialize in neuropsychology during their doctoral studies.
Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale.How many years does it take to be a neuropsychologist? ›
Becoming a neuropsychologist takes at least 10 to 15 years of education and training after high school. Board licensing requires professionals to have completed a PhD or PsyD and at least two years of internship hours.Is neuropsychology a good career choice? ›
The demand for neuropsychologists has increased in recent times in India as well as neuropsychologist salary is also at a good pay. The arena has a lot of career scope for a neuropsychologist. Here are some of the fields or neuropsychologist career scope which can choose to work in.What state pays neuropsychologist the most? ›
|Total Neuropsychologist Jobs:||15|
|Average Annual Salary:||$100,274|
|Lowest 10 Percent Earn:||$65,000|
|Highest 10 Percent Earn:||$153,000|
What is a typical day for a neuropsychologist? ›
Neuropsychologist responsibilities include running cognitive tests of patients, evaluating patient needs and diagnosing and treating brain-based disorders. Ultimately, you will work directly with patients to diagnose their brain-related disorders and oversee the treatment of patients as needed.Which is better neuropsychology or clinical psychology? ›
Psychologists focus more on emotions, while neuropsychologists focus on neurobehavioral disorders, cognitive processes, and brain disorders. Neuropsychology is driven more by research, and psychology hones in on the individual. Anyone can seek the services of, and benefit from, a clinical psychologist.What pays more clinical psychology or neuropsychology? ›
Since neuropsychologists have a greater level of specialization and often have additional requirements for training and education than clinical psychologists, they may earn a higher average salary.How much does a private neuropsychologist make? ›
'—the average salary of a neuropsychologist in the UK ranges between £19,051 and £61,052 per year, depending on the individual's role and experience.Are neuropsychologists rich? ›
Neuropsychology is a specialized field that requires dedicated study, often for many years on end. But it's a rewarding career, not only in terms of satisfaction but financially as well. A neuropsychologist earns an average salary of ₹496,647 per year.What is the best school for neuropsychology? ›
- Harvard University.
- University of California San Francisco.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Stanford University.
- Johns Hopkins University.
- University of Pennsylvania.
- University College London.
- Columbia University.
The field of neuropsychology is highly specialized, which means that continuing education must continue even after degree completion. For most, this means postdoctoral work in the specific field of neuropsychology. Degree programs in neuropsychology are extremely competitive.Do you need math for neuropsychology? ›
Education goes beyond high school to become a neuropsychologist, so be sure to enroll in college preparatory courses. Classes should include mathematics (algebra, geometry, and calculus, physics), biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, English courses, and computer science.What are the benefits of being a neuropsychologist? ›
Healthline mentions that neuropsychologists spend time helping people with numerous conditions, including dementia and psychoses, so this could lead to a rewarding career. They might treat ADHD, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism and similar ailments existing in children and teenagers.What skills do you need to be a neuropsychologist? ›
These professionals should possess excellent analytical, research, communication, and interpersonal skills and have a broad knowledge of human physiology and psychology. Most neuropsychologists have an advanced degree such as a master's or Ph. D. in psychology, medicine, biology, or neuroscience.
What qualifications do you need to study neuropsychology? ›
Accessing neuropsychology training
In order to undertake any neuropsychology courses, you'll need one of the following: a doctorate in clinical or counselling psychology. an equivalent qualification recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
- Vocational/Career Counselor. ...
- School Psychologist. ...
- Family Marriage Counselor. ...
- Engineering Psychologist. ...
- Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychologist. ...
- Clinical Psychologist. ...
- Forensic Psychologist. ...
- Marriage and Family Therapists.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologists.
- Rehabilitation Counselors.
- Psychology Instructors.
- Forensic Psychologists.
Popular psychology careers include clinical psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, private counseling, or organizational psychology. BLS data also projects a 14% increase in demand for psychologists in general through 2026, so students in the field can anticipate generous job availability upon graduation.What can I do with a PHD in neuropsychology? ›
- Clinical neuropsychologist. ...
- Clinical pediatric neuropsychologist. ...
- Neuropsychology researcher. ...
- Neuropsychology professor. ...
- Rehabilitation director. ...
- Forensic neuropsychologist. ...
- Cognitive Neuropsychologist.
Students majoring in neuropsychology must complete a minimum of 128 credits and satisfy the University's Discovery Program, and complete 56 credits in the major with a minimum of C- in each course and a 2.0 overall grade-point average in all major requirements.What is a disadvantage of neuropsychology? ›
No one specific neuropsychological test or measure can accurately predict how an individual who has sustained a brain insult will function in everyday or vocational settings.How high is the demand for neuropsychologists? ›
Job outlook for neuropsychologists
The overall field of psychology is expected to grow at a rate of 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the 5 percent average for all occupations. Demand is expected to grow as more people turn to psychologists for help with their problems.
Clinical neuropsychologists work with people with brain disease or injury, usually in a medical facility. Cognitive neuropsychologists work in academic fields or research.How competitive is clinical neuropsychology? ›
Admission to PhD programs in clinical psychology is very competitive. Ratios of 300 applicants to 8 positions are common (though perhaps 10-15 people would have to be accepted to fill the 8 slots; some who are accepted decide to go elsewhere, or enter a different kind of graduate or professional program ).
What are the happiest careers in psychology? ›
Of all psychologists, neuropsychologists are among the happiest in their careers. More than 65% of them feel they are contributing to a better world in some way, which makes the long hours worth it.Do neuropsychologists study sleep? ›
Overall, neuropsychologists must be alert to sleep problems in their clients, so that sleep interventions, or referrals, are put in place in the rehabilitation plan of individuals with cognitive dysfunctions. Recommendations also include routine screening of sleep as part of cognitive assessment.What type of therapy makes the most money? ›
Psychiatry is one of the highest-paying fields tied to psychology. However, salaries can vary considerably within this field depending upon your specialty area, where you are employed, and the type of work you perform.Which country is best for neuropsychologist? ›
Canada is one of the best countries to study neuropsychology. It has a long history of scientific research in the field, and it has some of the most advanced and knowledgeable professionals in this field.What is the highest paying occupation? ›
Here are the highest paying jobs of 2023:
- Anesthesiologist: $208,000.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: $208,000.
- Obstetrician and Gynecologist: $208,000.
- Surgeon: $208,000.
- Orthodontist: $208,000.
- Physician: $208,000.
- Psychiatrist: $208,000.
Neuropsychology assessments typically include:
Tests of intellectual functioning, attention, learning and memory, reasoning and problem-solving, visuospatial skills, and language, as well as mood and personality. An interview with the patient and a family member or friend, if possible.
Typically, a bachelor's degree in a psychology or health related field is obtained prior to completing graduate school at the doctoral level at an accredited institution that offers specialized training in clinical neuropsychology. Many universities require completion of a master's degree prior to doctoral training.What is the job outlook for the next 10 years in psychology? ›
Psychologist Job Outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations." The BLS also lists the median salary of psychologists at $105,780 per year.
|Quick Facts: Psychologists|
|Number of Jobs, 2021||181,600|
|Job Outlook, 2021-31||6% (As fast as average)|
|Employment Change, 2021-31||11,300|
Psychiatrists prescribe medications for patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale. A psychiatrist should be licensed as a board-certified psychiatrist.
Is psychology a stable career? ›
“This field is not stagnant; there's so many new and innovative ways to approach treating the mental health issues,” Scheinfeld says. “You can start in one place and end in another place. I love that flexibility.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 2.8% employment growth for psychologists between 2021 and 2031.What jobs will be relevant 10 years from now? ›
- Data Scientist.
- Data Analyst.
- Blockchain Developer.
- Digital Marketer.
- Cloud Computing Professional.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Expert.
- Manager (MBA)
- Software Developer.
The field comprises of two main types of neuropsychology: cognitive and clinical. Cognitive neuropsychologists conduct research that helps further the field.What is the most common career path in psychology? ›
What are the most popular types of psychology jobs? With a graduate psychology degree, you can work as a counseling psychologist, school psychologist, therapist, or counselor. A master's in psychology can also prepare you for in-demand jobs or doctoral programs.What are the pros and cons of being a psychologist? ›
- PRO: It offers great job satisfaction. ...
- CON: It can be emotionally demanding. ...
- PRO: It provides multiple employment opportunities. ...
- CON: It takes time and hard work. ...
- PRO: It can be well paid. ...
- CON: Setting up your own practice is challenging. ...
- PRO: You can have flexible work hours.