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Clinical psychologists undergo many hours of graduate training—usually four to six years post-Bachelors—in order to gain demonstrable competence and experience. About half of all clinical psychology graduate students are being trained in Ph.D. programs—a model that emphasizes research—with the other half in Psy.D. programs, which has more focus on practice (similar to professional degrees for medicine and law). Both models are accredited by the American Psychological Association and many other English-speaking psychological societies. A smaller number of schools offer accredited programs in clinical psychology resulting in a Masters degree, which usually take two to three years post-bachelors.
In the U.K., clinical psychologists nearly always undertake a D.Clin.Psychol./Clin.Psy.D, which is a practitioner doctorate with both clinical and research components. This is a three-year full-time salaried program sponsored by the National Health Service (N.H.S.) and based in universities and the N.H.S. Entry into these programs is highly competitive, and requires at least a three-year undergraduate degree in psychology approved by the British Psychological Society or an approved conversion course, plus some form of experience, usually in either the NHS as an Assistant Psychologist or in academia as a Research Assistant. It is not unusual for applicants to apply several times before being accepted onto a training course as only about one-fifth of applicants are accepted each year.
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