If you are interested in neuropsychology as a field of study, you will want to know how to get a neuropsychology degree: what are the requirements? Neuropsychology is a highly specialized field of psychological study that examines how the brain’s structure and functions are linked to psychiatric and neurological disorders. Clinical neuropsychologists are well qualified individuals who are interested in brain function and psychology, and in order to gain a degree or higher qualification in neuropsychology, a student will typically have a background in psychology or biology.
The career path towards a degree in neuropsychology requires an early interest and aptitude in maths and sciences. In high school, you should consider taking maths and sciences with a view to gaining the necessary qualifications for a place at university to study medicine or psychology.
There are several ways of working towards a degree in neuropsychology and potential career paths may vary according to your country of study. In the US and UK, students will normally complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology followed by a post graduate qualification such as a master’s degree in neuropsychology or a doctoral degree in neuropsychology. It is also possible to study medicine before specializing in neuropsychology in your final year.
Once a master’s or doctoral degree in neuropsychology has been acquired, the student will be expected to gain experience working in the field of neuropsychology while continuing to study brain function and the effect of disease and injury on the brain. Experience is commonly gained via an internship with an established neuropsychologist, but relevant experience can also be gained from research posts and post graduate teaching courses.
Postgraduate degree training in the field of neuropsychology would normally last between two and four years, although it may take longer, and will typically include a combination of work evaluations, clinical case studies, and examinations before you are fully certified in the field of neuropsychology. In the US, in order to practice as a qualified neuropsychologist, you will have to be certified by the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology or the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. Certification is not necessarily required in order to work in the field of neuropsychology, but gaining certification will certainly help your career advancement and earning potential.
What are your options with a Neuropsychology degree?
Once you have acquired a degree in neuropsychology, there are a number of different job areas open to you. Neuropsychologists can work in clinical neuropsychology, experimental neuropsychology, or paediatric neuropsychology.
Clinical neuropsychologists work in hospitals and mental health clinics. They help people with a wide variety of mental health disorders and brain injuries, including those who are recovering from strokes, and successful neuropsychologists with the appropriate certification who go on to develop well established practices can earn a great deal of money. Neuropsychologists can also work in research laboratories, or in the field of education. Many pharmaceutical companies also employ neuropsychologists to test the effects of new drugs on the central nervous system.