How to Become a Neuropsychologist

Those who graduate from an accredited psychology degree program can become a neuropsychologist. These professionals study the relationship between the function of the brain and both behavior and psychological processes. This work is primarily founded in scientific research and methodology. It shares several similarities with the field of cognitive psychology. In addition, those who are neuropsychologists are also closely linked to clinical and forensic psychologists. Some of the key responsibilities of neuropsychologists include forensically assessing individuals for neurological disorders, consulting on pharmaceutical drug trials where the medication may impact a person’s central nervous system, providing expert witness testimony for court cases, and administering neuropsychological tests, brain scans, and electrophysiological measures for monitoring neuro-cognitive processes.

What degree is required to become a neuropsychologist?

Those pursuing a career in neuropsychology are encouraged to first complete their undergraduate bachelor’s in psychology, biology, or any other major that incorporates pre-med course work in order to be competitive and prepared for a doctoral program in neuropsychology. Although some masters degree in psychology programs focus on neuropsychology, it is more common for a candidate to complete a doctoral degree in neuropsychology or clinical neuropsychology, or to complete a post-graduate certification in order to become a neuropsychologist.

Although it is not required by law to become certified in order for an individual to become a neuropsychologist, some employers require or prefer such certification. Some individuals may wish to become certified by the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) and become a member of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN). The ABCN is a member board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), which offers certification exams that cover competency in a variety of areas, including assessment, intervention, consultation, and ethical issues.

How long does it take to become a neuropsychologist?

A person who wishes to become a neuropsychologist may begin to prepare as early as their high school years by taking advanced mathematics and science course work. This can help in preparing for college course work such as anatomy and other studies of the brain. Other ways that one can start preparing early include taking composition classes, debate, and public speaking. This could prove helpful in building the communication skills that are necessary in this profession.

In many cases, the completion of a doctoral degree in psychology can take anywhere from four to seven years. The exact time frame will depend upon whether a student opts to attend their educational program on a full-time or a part-time basis. There may also be a time factor involved with the completion of the individual’s dissertation, as well as a period of time that must be spent fulfilling clinical and/or internship requirements. In addition to on-campus learning, there are many online psychology programs that may help in fulfilling a student’s degree requirements. These programs could help an individual to obtain their degree in psychology faster, as the time allotted for course work and study may be more flexible. Time should also be allotted for becoming certified, should one’s employer require it.

What is a neuropsychologist’s salary?

Overall, for psychologists across the board in May 2010, the median annual salary was $68,640, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This, however, is just an average. The salary can differ a great deal depending on the job that a psychologist is performing, as well as the demographic area in which they work. The average annual salary for a neuropsychologist is $83,000 per year.