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Guest Blog Post: Neuropsychology? Never Heard of it.

Updated: Feb 8

My name is Chioma; I am a 2nd year Clinical Psychology doctoral student and the creator of I am currently completing a neuropsychology-based externship at a pediatric hospital, where I am receiving high-level training and supervision in the field. My ultimate goal is to become a board-certified pediatric neuropsychologist. I specifically hope to work in underserved communities, as children in these communities often lack access to neuropsychological testing, which can be absolutely crucial for a child’s success. I was drawn to this field because of my passion for brain-behavior relationships and my desire to help others while doing something I love.

What is Neuropsychology?

To put it plainly, Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between the brain and human behavior. Neuropsychologists are trained to understand the complex systems of the brain and how issues within these systems can lead to abnormal behavior and functioning.

How Do I Become One?

The path to becoming a Neuropsychologist is not an easy (or short) one. To be a neuropsychologist, you should take the following steps (please note this process may differ slightly if you are studying in the UK):

- Get your bachelor’s degree (preferably in psychology, neuroscience, or a related field)

- Good news, you can skip the Master’s! Many doctoral programs grant students their master’s degree about halfway through the program

- Get into an APA-accredited Psy.D. or Ph.D. program in clinical psychology or neuropsychology

- During your Psy.D./Ph.D., it is best to pursue some neuropsychology-based practicums/externships

- In your final year, pursue a pre-doctoral APA-accredited internship in Neuropsychology (these are paid – not much – but paid nonetheless)

- Congrats, you’re a doctor! At this point, you are considered a clinical psychologist. But wait, there’s more…

- Complete a 2-year post-doc Neuropsychology Fellowship (these are also paid—again, not much, but more than the internship, yay!)

- Pass the EPPP & get licensed! You’re officially a licensed neuropsychologist!

* Not Required but absolutely Recommended: Take and pass the ABCN Board Exam. Now you’re a Board-Certified Neuropsychologist. Go you!*

Where Do They Work?

The work setting of a neuropsychologist can vary widely based on specialty.

Neuropsychologists who focus on clinical work with patients usually work in hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, or in their own private practice as clinicians or consultants.

Neuropsychologists who focus mainly on research may work in government facilities or universities (some also teach!)


- Pediatric Neuropsychologist – see children

- Adult Neuropsychologist – see adults

- Lifespan Neuropsychologist – see patients across the lifespan

- Forensic Neuropsychologist – conduct neuropsychological evaluations on criminals and civil litigants. They are often called to the stand as expert witnesses.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like?

This can also vary pretty widely. So, I’ll go off of my own experience as a neurospych extern. A typical day for a neuropsychologist who works in a hospital setting might start out by prepping a room to see their first (and only) patient for the day to conduct a neuropsychological evaluation. This evaluation is usually a battery of assessments that will be administered to the patient to provide some information, or answer some question, about their cognitive and/or emotional functioning. A battery is a series of assessments that the doctor picks based on the case. Typically, the doctor has already determined what tests will be included in the battery before the day of the evaluation. On the day of, they gather the materials needed to conduct the battery. A typical battery can take anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on a number of factors, including the patient’s presenting problem, what the doctor wants to know about the patient, how experienced the doctor is, how the patient performs/behaves, and so on. Once testing is over, the neuropsychologist scores all the tests, some electronically and some by hand, and then writes a report to sum up their conclusions. In this report, they include their diagnosis and recommendations for the patient moving forward. Neuropsychologists also conduct clinical interviews and consultations (usually on a day prior to the assessment) and may work closely with other doctors, such as neurologists. While physicians can provide scans of the brain, these don’t always give the full picture. A neuropsychological evaluation allows one to physically observe and assess how the brain is working in real time.

What Type of Disorders do They Treat?

Neuropsychologists treat a number of disorders that result from brain and nervous system dysfunction. These can show up as cognitive, emotional, behavioral, memory problems, and so forth.

Common disorders they treat include ADHD, concussion, traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, learning disabilities, brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.

A career in neuropsychology can be very rewarding, but it is not for everyone. If you enjoy putting together pieces of data to solve a case, critical thinking, working with people, and are interested in the brain and behavior, this may be the career for you! But it is very important to do your research before pursuing this field because it requires the investment of a lot of time, energy, and resources.

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