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What are the steps during grad school and after grad school one should take if they are interested in becoming a clinical professor (teaching/supervising practice).

How hard are these positions to get? How much research productivity is expected for someone with these aspirations?

Are these positions usually full time or most also have a practice of their own on the side? Opportunity for tenure? How are these faculty viewed/respected by the other (research) faculty?

Thanks!
 

erg923

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What are the steps during grad school and after grad school one should take if they are interested in becoming a clinical professor (teaching/supervising practice).

How hard are these positions to get? How much research productivity is expected for someone with these aspirations?

Are these positions usually full time or most also have a practice of their own on the side? Opportunity for tenure? How are these faculty viewed/respected by the other (research) faculty?

Thanks!
Various paths and institution dependent. Might want to narrow your questions some.

You may also want to clarify what you mean. I assume you know that full-time positions such as these are primarily clinical (so, yes, the productivity demands are often heavy), may or may not require research, may or may not carve out time for said research, may or may not have a tenure track, may or may not have a significant teaching and mentoring component.
 
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Ollie123

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Agree - I get the sense you have a specific type of position in mind, but there are many that fit what you describe. One could essentially be an "adjunct" in a psychology department providing supervision and teaching the occasional class. Relatively easy to do in the right place, but definitely something you do for fun and not for the money/respect. Many universities will have a "clinic director" if they have a training clinic. That person may or may not be appointed faculty, may or may not have teaching/research responsibilities, etc. There is also the whole AMC route where you will usually have relatively minimal teaching but abundant clinical and supervision responsibilities. Also probably a dozen others I'm not thinking of right now.
 

psych.meout

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Agree - I get the sense you have a specific type of position in mind, but there are many that fit what you describe. One could essentially be an "adjunct" in a psychology department providing supervision and teaching the occasional class. Relatively easy to do in the right place, but definitely something you do for fun and not for the money/respect. Many universities will have a "clinic director" if they have a training clinic. That person may or may not be appointed faculty, may or may not have teaching/research responsibilities, etc. There is also the whole AMC route where you will usually have relatively minimal teaching but abundant clinical and supervision responsibilities. Also probably a dozen others I'm not thinking of right now.
What are the research opportunities like at an AMC and what is the ratio of research to clinical work to supervision?
 

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What are the research opportunities like at an AMC and what is the ratio of research to clinical work to supervision?
There are typically a plethora of research opportunities at AMCs, though it's finding time that is the issue. There are ways to do research here and there, though it tends to be on your own time (read: still have 100% clinical expectations). You can get time bought out, though it varies by institution/position/etc. As clinical faculty you might get 10%-20% bought out if you are a collaborator on grant funded research, though it all depends on if your dept allows for buy-out time and it will last only as long as there is funding to cover it.

If you are an internship director or fellowship director you might be able to get 10%-25% of your time bought out for, "administrative duties"…some of which is supervision. If you have an internship or fellowship training program at your site, faculty members can have supervision responsibilities, though it is in addition to your clinical responsibilities.
 

psych.meout

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There are typically a plethora of research opportunities at AMCs, though it's finding time that is the issue. There are ways to do research here and there, though it tends to be on your own time (read: still have 100% clinical expectations). You can get time bought out, though it varies by institution/position/etc. As clinical faculty you might get 10%-20% bought out if you are a collaborator on grant funded research, though it all depends on if your dept allows for buy-out time and it will last only as long as there is funding to cover it.

If you are an internship director or fellowship director you might be able to get 10%-25% of your time bought out for, "administrative duties"…some of which is supervision. If you have an internship or fellowship training program at your site, faculty members can have supervision responsibilities, though it is in addition to your clinical responsibilities.
Thanks, that's interesting.

I ask about it, because I'm applying to grad school and want to properly articulate my long-term career goals in my personal statements. I really like research and clinical work, and teaching is fun as well, so I'm trying to figure out how to talk about what I'd like to do as a career and where I see myself in the long-term in an informed manner.
 
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Ollie123

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What are the research opportunities like at an AMC and what is the ratio of research to clinical work to supervision?
Impossible to answer. Depends on the circumstances. There are plenty of faculty in AMCs who are 100% research (tons of places have basic scientists who are not even clinicians - let alone licensed), 0% research and everything in between. It depends on the institution, individual, department, etc.
 
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psych.meout

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Impossible to answer. Depends on the circumstances. There are plenty of faculty in AMCs who are 100% research (tons of places have basic scientists who are not even clinicians - let alone licensed), 0% research and everything in between. It depends on the institution, individual, department, etc.
Interesting. So, it seems like there's substantial flexibility in how much research one would be able to do at an AMC, depending on other factors, like the institution and department, correct?
 

erg923

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Interesting. So, it seems like there's substantial flexibility in how much research one would be able to do at an AMC, depending on other factors, like the institution and department, correct?
Last year I interviewed for a Assistant prof position my city's university medical school, in the psychiatry department. Research was completely on your own time. Beyond teaching a therapy class twice per year, and doing didactics and ground rounds, it was essentially a 100% clinical position. By the end of the interview I pretty much decided that I would prefer to stay at the VA.
 
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psych.meout

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Last year I interviewed for a Assistant prof position my city's university medical school, in the psychiatry department. Research was completely on your own time. Beyond teaching a therapy class twice per year, and doing didactics and ground rounds, it was essentially a 100% clinical position. By the end of the interview I pretty much decided that I would prefer to stay at the VA.
Does your VA position provide more research opportunities, outside of working on them on your own time?
 

erg923

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Does your VA position provide more research opportunities, outside of working on them on your own time?
no. But im not willing to do data analysis on Saturday nights.
 
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psych.meout

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So, what are the career prospects for being able to consistently do both research and clinical practice, besides what seem to be the variable AMCs?

Just faculty at a clinical program or med school?
 

erg923

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So, what are the career prospects for being able to consistently do both research and clinical practice, besides what seem to be the variable AMCs?

Just faculty at a clinical program or med school?
clinical trials/pharm industry, medical device R&D, private practice with good collaborative connections within, or with someone, in academia or industry.
 

psych.meout

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clinical trials/pharm industry, medical device R&D, private practice with good collaborative connections within, or with someone, in academia or industry.
Are these common or are they more outliers compared to being faculty at universities and strictly clinical roles at AMCs, VAs, and private practice?
 

erg923

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Are these common or are they more outliers compared to being faculty at universities and strictly clinical roles at AMCs and private practice?
opps for psychologists (phds mostly, although not exclusively) are abundant in pharm and clinical trials work. I also interviewed for one of these not too long ago. medical device stuff less so. most PP people don't do any research of course, but it can be done if one wants to work for free (not me) and maintains good connections.
 

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The challenge with research is that unless it is granted funded…it is most likely done on your own time because an employer will rarely credit you time to do it w/o some type of funding to cover the cost of your time. There can be internal funding options within a department, but that tends to be very limited funding and usually just seed money to do a pilot and/or prepare to apply for larger external funding. You can do outcome research connected to your clinical work, which isn't a ton of extra effort if prudently designed. Doing internal improvement projects can also be "research-y", though not typically something you'd go on to publish.

Collaborative opportunities are how most clinicians keep involved in research, which typically involves either "on your own time" work or possibly a small % of bought out time from grant funding allocated to the research. I am clinical track faculty with research buy-out time of 0-20% (depending on the year, current grant(s)/other funding options). I chose this route because while I enjoy research, it is *really* hard to consistently cover your costs (salary/benefits/etc) as a part-time researcher. Relying on other people's grants to cover your research time is also not a great idea, unless you are a wiz at stats and are the "go to" person in your dept/division.

I primarily collaborate on large multi-site grants (in my niche area), mix in a few interdepartmental groups (mix of clinical and non-clinical research), and then have my research efforts (when I can get grant funded). It's a lot of balls to keep in the air and publications and overall research efforts take longer because most of the projects are secondary areas of work for us, but it's a way to stay involved without having to chase research $'s while trying to keep up an 80%-100% clinical caseload.
 
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The days of staying uber late, taking work home, and spending weekends at work…not anymore. An AMC (and other settings) will take every second you are willing to give…and it'll still want more. Don't fall for the hype. It can still be a great gig, but knowing how to navigate the flotsam and only spend time on the worthwhile things is probably one of the best skills you can develop if you work at an AMC. There will always be, "one more thing…" or "one more meeting…", so learning to say No is important.
 

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Positions between and within AMCs vary greatly in terms of clinical/research/teaching compositions that it is hard to give any one answer. However, from my experience, it is almost impossible to keep a 50/50 research/clinical position going in any type of meaningful way. Research positions are all soft money and you need the time to apply for grants (on top of running your current projects and clinical duties). What I have found is that folks either 1) eventually go to full on clinical positions or mostly clinical funded by some time consulting (10-25% time on others grants, or 2) go full on 100% research entirely funded through grants.
 
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I should also note that the term "clinical professor" can be confusing. Some institutions (mine included) call a "clinical professor" a non-tenure track, non-research focused professor who does mostly teaching. It's a contract position with more stability (with some promotion options) than adjuncting. This term is used all over the university, and has nothing to do with therapy or clinical work the way the term is used in psychology. So, for example, a "clinical assistant professor" of nursing might teach classes and supervise, but not do research. Not sure if that's what the OP meant, but it's a point that hasn't been raised yet so I just wanted to throw that out there. My grad institution didn't have that title, but some universities do.
 
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psych.meout

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Positions between and within AMCs vary greatly in terms of clinical/research/teaching compositions that it is hard to give any one answer. However, from my experience, it is almost impossible to keep a 50/50 research/clinical position going in any type of meaningful way. Research positions are all soft money and you need the time to apply for grants (on top of running your current projects and clinical duties). What I have found is that folks either 1) eventually go to full on clinical positions or mostly clinical funded by some time consulting (10-25% time on others grants, or 2) go full on 100% research entirely funded through grants.
Interesting. I genuinely love both research and clinical work and I really enjoy my current position which involves assisting psychologists/neuropsychologists with clinical work more than doing research (which seems somewhat to my detriment as to making myself more competitive for grad school), so I wouldn't mind doing something similar for a career as a psychologist. I also understand that my interests and lifestyle might dictate a different arrangement further on in my career, so I wouldn't mind shifting more one way or the other, and I don't really need to have them evenly splitting my time 50-50.

More specifically, I'm just a little unsure of how to apply this to getting into grad school. I worry about shooting myself in the foot if I mention clinical work at all, depending on who the audience is. On interviews I had last time, most students talked about clinical work in the context of practica and internships, not as future career options. And these were not even clinical science programs.

How should I talk about this in my personal statements and interviews for programs? I know I'm definitely not one of those "eww, research/stats" people, I really find it invigorating. I just feel that mentioning anything other than "research, research, research" as my interest and anything but a primarily/solely research job might hurt my changes. I honestly don't know where I'd like to work in the long-term, just what stuff I like to do and where my research interests lie, and I feel like this might be bad for my personal statements and interviews.
 

entitlement

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The short answer if you are applying to PhDs - never, ever mention wanting to do clinical work, whether that be in your materials or on interview. It is implied if you are applying to clinical/counseling/school PhDs that you would want to do clinical work, but what is much harder to find are folks genuinely interested in research. I've seen far too many applications get kicked out because they mentioned wanting to go into clinical careers, or applicants not get an offer because they focused too much on clinical interests in their interviews. It doesn't mean you can't later, even among the R1 institutions, lots of people (most? I think someone posted the stats on here before) still go on to pursue clinical work and not research. Its just that the name of the game is pretending that isn't going to happen, haha.
 
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entitlement

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Let me clarify that by mentioning "clinical work" I mean implying (or worse, being explicit) in your materials that you want to pursue a clinical career.
 

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The short answer if you are applying to PhDs - never, ever mention wanting to do clinical work, whether that be in your materials or on interview. It is implied if you are applying to clinical/counseling/school PhDs that you would want to do clinical work, but what is much harder to find are folks genuinely interested in research. I've seen far too many applications get kicked out because they mentioned wanting to go into clinical careers, or applicants not get an offer because they focused too much on clinical interests in their interviews. It doesn't mean you can't later, even among the R1 institutions, lots of people (most? I think someone posted the stats on here before) still go on to pursue clinical work and not research. Its just that the name of the game is pretending that isn't going to happen, haha.
This is not the case at balanced programs. Plenty of students can talk about how they would like a primarily clinical job, informed by research, or maintaining some research as an adjunct to clinical work.
 
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I should also note that the term "clinical professor" can be confusing. Some institutions (mine included) call a "clinical professor" a non-tenure track, non-research focused professor who does mostly teaching. It's a contract position with more stability (with some promotion options) than adjuncting. This term is used all over the university, and has nothing to do with therapy or clinical work the way the term is used in psychology. So, for example, a "clinical assistant professor" of nursing might teach classes and supervise, but not do research. Not sure if that's what the OP meant, but it's a point that hasn't been raised yet so I just wanted to throw that out there. My grad institution didn't have that title, but some universities do.
My original post did mean this actually, but I appreciate learning about the different positions as well! So in this definition of the term "clinical professor" -- I'm wondering what the best prep is. Be a stellar clinician in practicum and internship? Or do people usually find themselves in these positions because they can't get a tenure track position and don't want to just adjunct?
 

erg923

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My original post did mean this actually, but I appreciate learning about the different positions as well! So in this definition of the term "clinical professor" -- I'm wondering what the best prep is. Be a stellar clinician in practicum and internship? Or do people usually find themselves in these positions because they can't get a tenure track position and don't want to just adjunct?
Ones rep, appeal, and learning doesn't stop at internship. I am 5 years post phd and at this point, no one cares what I did in grad school or internship anymore.
 
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Ones rep, appeal, and learning doesn't stop at internship. I am 5 years post phd and at this point, no one cares what I did in grad school or internship anymore.
Understood. So what would you do during those following years to prep for such a position? A clinical postdoc?
 

erg923

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Understood. So what would you do during those following years to prep for such a position? A clinical postdoc?
Clinical post-docs wouldn't hurt. But again, I think you are thinking a bit too concretely about all this.

Knowing the right people, or lots of people, helps more than anything. All my jobs have been heavily facilitated by connections, and frankly, some degree of good timing and happenstance.
 
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Ollie123

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Marry a researcher? I say that semi-jokingly, but most of the people in the official "Clinical professor" positions that I have met were spousal hires that had the position created for them.

I agree with erg that you are thinking about this a little too concretely. Its not a linear A > B > C path. Go to grad school and focus on clinical skills and do some teaching (ideally in clinically-oriented classes). Supervise if you get the opportunity. Network with people who do what you want to do. There's not an instruction manual for finding these jobs.

For what its worth, my general impression is that these sorts of positions are MUCH easier to find than traditional tenure-track research gigs.
 
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Also, the way I referring to it, a "clinical professor" is actually a TEACHING position, not a clinical one. So from that perspective, you'd want to get a lot of good teaching experience (which can happen in a multitude of ways, and it's not like clinical work doesn't have didactic components....). If you're really talking about more clinical supervision, then the clinic director idea makes some sense (some of clinic directors are tenure track faculty, some are standalone positions, some have teaching responsibilities and others do not--TONS of variability here).
 
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Doctor-S

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Also, the way I referring to it, a "clinical professor" is actually a TEACHING position, not a clinical one. So from that perspective, you'd want to get a lot of good teaching experience (which can happen in a multitude of ways, and it's not like clinical work doesn't have didactic components....). If you're really talking about more clinical supervision, then the clinic director idea makes some sense (some of clinic directors are tenure track faculty, some are standalone positions, some have teaching responsibilities and others do not--TONS of variability here).
Agree with @EmotRegulation and @Ollie123.

For instance, at my university, nearly any non-tenured individual who is licensed and who is hired to teach a clinical class can apply for an initial teaching appointment as a "clinical instructor." From there, the clinical instructor can move up through the ranks, and eventually become listed as a "clinical professor." It's straightforward and not complicated. Most clinical instructors/clinical professors maintain their own private practices, separate from the university, with separate malpractice policies, separate office space, separate telephone number, etc.