What is a Clinical Sports Psychologist?

Clinical sports psychologists are highly trained professionals who work with athletes and athletic teams by providing them with training, counseling and coaching. For an athlete to perform at his or her maximum potential, the athlete must be in good physical and mental condition. A clinical sports psychologist studies the lifestyle and performance of athletes and analyzes any areas in which the athletes may need help. Based on the clinical sports psychologist’s analysis, the psychologist will come up with an effective plan for the athlete. Here is an overview of clinical sports psychologists.

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What is a Clinical Sports Psychologist?

Clinical sports psychologists may work in an office with other psychologists, may see athletic clients in own practice or may travel with athletes. They understand that athletes must be in excellent condition to perform well. They observe athletes to determine what motivates them and what they need to perform better. Through research and counseling sessions with the athletes, they’re able to determine problem areas and how best to fix the issues.

Clinical sports psychologists may work independently with one athlete or with groups of athletes. Clinical sports psychologists have various treatment methods, including counseling, visualization techniques or exercise regimens. The treatment is usually customized for the athlete.

How to Become a Clinical Sports Psychologist

Clinical sports psychologists must be highly educated to work in their careers. CareersinPsychology.org reports that clinical sports psychologists should have a graduate degree. Their entire educational path can take 8 to 10 years to complete. This includes earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology followed by a master’s degree in psychology and a doctoral degree in psychology. Clinical sports psychologists should obtain an education in both psychology and physical education.

Most clinical sports psychologists begin their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees in either physical education or psychology. However, a career as a clinical sports psychologist is not possible with just an undergraduate degree; most advance their education and earn graduate degrees with specializations in clinical sports psychology. The candidate must also obtain certification and licensure, although licensure requirements vary from state to state.

Career Outlook for Clinical Sports Psychologists

The career outlook for psychologists in general looks very good for the 2018-2028 decade based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increasing demand for clinical psychologists in hospitals, schools and athletic agencies has made the career outlook very good for clinical sports psychologists. Clinical psychologists should see job growth of 14 percent between 2018 and 2028. Another factor putting clinical sports psychologists in high demand is a large number of athletes in need of clinical psychology services to improve their play.

The American Psychological Association (APA) also reports that clinical sports psychologists are in high demand in the military with the United States. Army being the largest employer of these professionals. Clinical sports psychologists also have the potential to earn high wages. The place of employment can play a part in wage potential. While some clinical sports psychologists earn average wages of $60,000 to $80,000, others may earn $100,000 or more.

Considering that sporting events are at an all-time high in terms of popularity and that the United States sports industry is a $400 billion industry, it’s not surprising that clinical sports psychologists are very much in demand. This can result in not just excellent career opportunities and very good wages but also a very fulfilling career. Some clinical sports psychologists may also have the advantage of working with big-name athletes.

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