Exploring the Field of Neuropsychology: Education, Careers, and Opportunities

Neuropsychology is a fascinating field that examines the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is a discipline that is concerned with understanding how the nervous system affects human behavior, emotions, and cognition.

Neuropsychologists work in clinical and research settings to diagnose and treat neurological disorders, conduct research on the brain and behavior, and develop new treatments and therapies.

For those interested in pursuing a career in neuropsychology, this guide provides an overview of the educational and training requirements needed to become a neuropsychologist.

It covers topics such as degrees in neuropsychology, online psychology master’s programs, frequently asked questions about neuropsychology, and what a neuropsychologist does.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to advance your career, this guide will help you understand what it takes to become a neuropsychologist.

Key Takeaways

  • Neuropsychology is a field that examines the relationship between the brain and behavior.
  • Neuropsychologists work in clinical and research settings to diagnose and treat neurological disorders, conduct research on the brain and behavior, and develop new treatments and therapies.
  • Pursuing a career in neuropsychology requires a degree in neuropsychology, completing an online psychology master’s program, and understanding what a neuropsychologist does.

Degrees in Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology is a specialized field that requires a doctorate to practice. However, before pursuing a doctorate, students must complete their undergraduate degree.

Some students may opt to pursue a master’s degree before entering a doctoral program. Here are the three main degrees in Neuropsychology.

Bachelor’s Degree in Neuropsychology

To pursue a career in Neuropsychology, students typically begin by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology, biology, or neuroscience.

Undergraduate programs that focus solely on Neuropsychology are rare. However, students can obtain a strong foundation in Neuropsychology by taking neuroscience, neuroanatomy, and psychological research courses.

Completing an internship can also prepare students for graduate programs.

If students are looking for a more flexible alternative to a campus-based undergraduate program, they can pursue an online bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.

Master’s Degree in Neuropsychology

Most aspiring Neuropsychologists go straight from their bachelor’s degree to a doctoral program in Neuropsychology. However, some students earn a master’s degree in Neuropsychology, clinical psychology, or a related field as a next step.

A master’s degree can help students decide if Neuropsychology is the right career for them. This degree can also help students boost their competitive edge when applying to selective doctoral programs.

Students take courses in areas such as learning and cognition, memory and the brain, and neuroscience, along with required clinical hours, internships, and research experiences, which can help prepare them for the demands of rigorous doctoral study.

If students decide to pursue a master’s degree in psychology but need to maintain work or personal commitments, they can find several programs available in convenient online or hybrid formats.

Doctorate in Neuropsychology

To practice Neuropsychology, individuals must hold a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.). The Psy.D. focuses on clinical training, while the Ph.D. emphasizes scientific research.

During doctoral studies, students complete advanced coursework in neuroanatomy, biopsychology, neuropsychological assessment, and research methods.

They also have to complete an internship and a dissertation based on independent research.

In addition to clinical hours and internships completed during their Neuropsychological degree, students should expect to spend 1-2 years in a postdoctoral fellowship to qualify for licensure and certification.

To qualify for a state license, they need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

Neuropsychologists often earn board certification through the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) or the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology (ABPN).

Online Psychology Master’s Programs

Several accredited schools offer online psychology master’s programs. Consider one of these top programs to discover their value today.

  • Programs focus on various areas such as clinical psychology, neuropsychology, and mental health counseling.
  • Coursework includes topics like assessment, research methods, and evidence-based psychotherapy.
  • Tuition ranges from $10,000 to $60,000 per academic year depending on the program and the university.
  • Public universities in the U.S. typically charge in-state residents $5,000 to $25,000 per academic year and out-of-state residents $10,000 to $50,000.
  • Private universities generally charge higher tuition fees.

Frequently Asked Questions About Neuropsychology

What is the Difference Between a Psychologist and a Neuropsychologist?

Psychologists and neuropsychologists both study human behavior and mental processes. However, neuropsychologists specialize in how the brain and nervous system influence cognitive processes, emotions, and behavior.

They use a combination of psychological and neurological assessments to diagnose and treat neurological conditions that affect behavior, cognition, and emotion.

Do Neuropsychologists Deal with Mental Disorders?

Neuropsychologists have the training to diagnose and treat behavioral and mental disorders associated with cognitive impairment, including conditions such as dementia, memory loss, and attention disorders.

They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists and neurologists, to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address the patient’s specific needs.

Do Neuropsychologists Go to Med School?

Licensed neuropsychologists have either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree. They do not hold medical degrees and cannot administer medications.

However, they receive extensive training in neuroanatomy, neuropathology, and neurophysiology as part of their education and clinical internship.

How Much Do Neuropsychologists Earn?

According to Payscale, neuropsychologists earn an average base salary of $105,240 as of March 2024.

Several factors impact salaries, including work experience, specializations, and employment setting.

Neuropsychologists who work in research or public policy may earn less than those who work in private practice or clinical settings. However, with experience and advanced training, neuropsychologists may earn higher salaries.

What Does a Neuropsychologist Do?

Neuropsychologists assess and treat a variety of disorders related to changes in cognitive functioning, such as traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, stroke, ADHD, or Alzheimer’s disease. They work with people of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and collaborate with other healthcare providers, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, and psychiatrists, to administer language assessments, personality tests, mental exams, and other diagnostic tools.

Based on these evaluations, they prepare a detailed report for patients and their healthcare team to guide treatment decisions.

Clinical Work

Clinical neuropsychologists work with patients in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practice.

They conduct neuropsychological assessments to evaluate cognitive functions, such as memory, language, attention, concentration, reasoning, and thinking.

They also assess brain-behavior relationships and neurological functioning to diagnose and treat disorders affecting the central nervous system.

Neuropsychologists use a variety of techniques to assess cognitive functions, including standardized tests, interviews, observations, and medical records.


Cognitive neuropsychologists mainly work as researchers with no direct patient interaction.

They typically work in academic and research institutions, conducting studies and developing new evaluation tools to advance the field.

Neuropsychologists with research interests may study a wide range of topics, including autism, epilepsy, stroke, cognitive aging, genetics, and brain and behavior.

What Else Can I Do With a Neuropsychology Degree?

A doctorate in neuropsychology can expand professional career options beyond clinical practice into other areas, including teaching, research, and consulting. A doctorate is generally required for teaching positions at the postsecondary level.

Neuropsychologists may find research positions at universities, academic medical centers, or government agencies.

They may also move into private practice or start their own consulting and research firms.

Neuropsychologists with clinical experiences often advance into supervisory positions as directors or department heads in hospitals and clinics.

Voluntary certifications like those offered through the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) can advance career opportunities.

Neuropsychologists who want to specialize in the care of children may pursue board certification in pediatric neuropsychology, available through the ABCN or the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology (AAPdN).

Frequently Asked Questions

Admission Requirements for Neuropsychology PhD Programs

To be admitted to a neuropsychology PhD program, applicants typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. Some programs may also require a master’s degree.

Additionally, applicants are usually required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining their research interests and career goals.

Duration of Neuropsychology PhD Programs

The typical duration of a neuropsychology PhD program is 5-7 years. This can vary depending on the program and the student’s research interests and progress.

Some programs may offer accelerated tracks or part-time options, but these are less common.

Career Paths After Completing a PhD in Neuropsychology

Graduates of neuropsychology PhD programs can pursue a variety of career paths.

Many become academic researchers or professors, while others work in clinical settings as neuropsychologists or in related fields such as neurology, psychiatry, or rehabilitation.

Some graduates may also work in industry or government positions.

Difference Between Clinical Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology PhD Programs

Clinical neuropsychology PhD programs focus on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neurological disorders and injuries.

Cognitive neuropsychology PhD programs, on the other hand, focus on the cognitive and neural processes underlying behavior, with an emphasis on understanding how brain damage affects these processes.

While there is some overlap between these two fields, they have distinct research and clinical focuses.

Funding Opportunities for Students in Neuropsychology PhD Programs

Many neuropsychology PhD programs offer funding opportunities for students, such as research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships.

These opportunities may provide a stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance.

Additionally, students may be eligible for external funding opportunities, such as grants from the National Institutes of Health or private foundations.

Difference Between a PhD in Neuroscience and a PhD in Neuropsychology in Terms of Career Prospects

Both neuroscience and neuropsychology PhD programs focus on the brain and behavior. However, they have different research and career focuses.

Neuropsychology PhD programs typically focus on the assessment and treatment of neurological disorders and injuries. Meanwhile, neuroscience PhD programs focus on understanding the basic mechanisms underlying brain function.

Graduates of both programs can pursue careers in academia, industry, or government. But, the specific career paths may differ.