How to Become a Psychologist

To become a Psychologist you’ll often need to determine how people deal with stress, death, divorce, chemical imbalances and many other mental health issues.

The field of psychology is vast, and once you finish your education and become a psychologist, your actual job duties will depend on your chosen specialty, theoretical orientation and the populations you choose to serve. Psychologists make a good salary for the work they do. To discover if this career path is something for you, you are welcome to take one of this website’s free career aptitude tests.

Psychologist Salary

  • Average Salary: $68,120
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,802,500

Psychologist – Education and Training

Quite a few graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in psychology are working in other professional fields, for example sales, business administration, or education. School psychologists are required to have an advanced degree in psychology and must hold certification or a license to perform their tasks. Interested to find out if you are fit for this profession? Take an entirely free career test here.

The majority of Psychology Master’s degree programs are not requiring students to have undergraduate degree in psychology, but want applicants to take prerequisite courses introductory psychology, statistics, and experimental psychology. There are doctoral degree programs that require students to hold a master’s degree in psychology, while others are accepting candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree as well as a major in psychology.

Those who want to work as industrial-organizational psychologists must hold their master’s degree, and master’s graduates may additionally work as psychological assistants in research, clinical, or counseling settings when they do their work under the supervision and guidance of a doctoral psychologist. Master’s degree academic programs in psychology usually have coursework in statistics, industrial-organizational psychology, and research development and design. Becoming a psychologist is challenging.

Practically all clinical, research, or counseling psychologists are required to hold a doctoral degree. They may have a Ph.D. in psychology, or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. (in psychology) is actually a research degree which requires passing a very comprehensive examination as well as presenting a dissertation about original research work. As part of their doctoral program, students must complete an internship of one year in a clinical, school, counseling, or healthcare setting. The Psy.D. degree is a clinical degree that usually required practical work experience, research. and examinations instead of a dissertation.

Usually, this advanced Ed.S. degree requires a at least sixty graduate semester hours, a supervised internship of at least 1.200 hours, and a master’s or doctoral degree in school psychology. The training of a school psychologist includes psychology and education coursework because their position comes with work that includes both mental health and education components related to a student’s development.

Psychologist – The Job

Psychologists are seeking to understand and explain human behavior, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They study cognitive, social, and emotional processes as well as human behavior through observing, recording, and interpreting in what way people are relating to each other and their environment.

Psychologists may, depending on their specific study topic, be using various techniques, for example observations, experimentation, or assessments, in order to develop possible theories about how and to what extent feelings and beliefs influence humans and their actions. Psychologists usually are collecting required information via observations, surveys, interviews, or other techniques and methods, and they will conduct a wide variety of scientific studies to learn about human brain functions and behavior.

They typically are researching and identifying emotional and behavioral patterns, and develop and test various patterns to be able to better understand or predict human behavior.

Psychologists typically collect information to assess and evaluate human behavior via controlled laboratory experiments, psychotherapy, or psychoanalysis, and they often also conduct personality or performance tests, as well as intelligence or quizs. They are usually looking for patterns of behavior relationships between certain events, and they will use this information when they are treating patients or testing specific theories while doing their research. We can distinguish between a variety of specializations in this interesting field.

Counseling psychologists are helping patients understand a variety of problems. These may include issues at the workplace, at home, or in their communities. Counseling psychologists usually work with their patients to find resources or their strengths so they will be able to deal with and manage their problems. For more information, see the profiles on mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, and social workers.
Then there are

Developmental psychologists who are studying the psychological processes that occur throughout life. They often concentrate on children or adolescents, but there are also who study issues related to the elderly.

Clinical psychologists are specialists who research, diagnose and treat individuals who suffer from short-term or chronic emotional, mental, or behavioral disorders. Clinical psychologists are specialists who will apply various approaches to support people. Clinical psychologists may concentrate on specific demographics for example the elderly or children or they can be health psychologists (who instruct medical staff as well as patients on psychological topics and healthy-living strategies), or neuropsychologists (who typically are working with patients after they have sustained brainjury).

Forensic psychologists are using psychological principles and theories in the world of legal and criminal justice. They are assisting judges, police, or attorneys or other legal specialists in their efforts to understand psychological sides of a specific case. These specialists frequently need to make court appearances and testify as expert witnesses. Forensic psychologists often are specialized in civil court, family court, or criminal court.

There are also those who are specialized as Industrial-organizational psychologists. These specialists are applying general psychology to workplaces and use psychological theories, principles, and research techniques to deal with work-related problems and also to improve working conditions. They typically are researching and studying issues like workplace productivity, employee morale, and employee or management operating styles. They work with the corporate management on issues such as organizational development, employee screening and/or training, and policy planning.

School psychologists typically are applying psychological theories, principles, and techniques to address developmental and education-related issues. They usually deal with behavioral problems, and will counsel students and their families. They additionally can come up with suggestions to improve learning, teaching, or administrative strategies.
We also can distinguish

Social psychologists. They research and study in what way the mindset and behavior of individuals or groups are determined and shaped by various social interactions. These professionals examine and investigate different ways to enhance negative human interactions.

Licensure and certification

In practically all states, psychologists need to be licensed and hold certification. In every state (including DC) independently practicing psychologists need to be licensed, though licensing laws and requirements vary by position and by state.

To become licensed, in practically all states counseling and clinical psychologists must hold a doctorate in psychology, have had an internship, hold no less than a few years of professional experience, and they must take and pass the EPPP (the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology).

In most states, practicing and licensed psychologists are required to take part in continuing education programs to remain licensed. The ABPP (the American Board of Professional Psychology) provides certification in 13 specialization fields of psychology, for example in psychoanalysis, in clinical health, or in rehabilitation. The American Board of Professional Neuropsychology (ABNP) additionally provides certification in the field of neuropsychology.

Job outlook and earnings potential

Over the coming decade, the employment options of psychologists will grow with more than ten percent, but there are sectors that perform better than others. A great demand for psychological services can be found in hospitals, schools, mental health centers, and social services organizations. Demand for counseling and clinical psychologists is expected to increase because more people will require help to manage or solve their problems.

Job options and demand for industrial-organizational psychologists are predicted to grow faster than in other fields, as more of the specialist psychologists are needed to help select and retain employees, to increase the workforce’s productivity, and to boost office morale. In 2014, the average yearly income for psychologists was around $68,120, though those with a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree will usually make considerably more.

Where psychologists work

In 2014, there were some 160,000 professional psychologists active in the US, and around 60 percent were employed in education, healthcare and social assistance environments. Just over 30 percent of all psychologists are self-employed. Psychologists may be working alone, performing patient counseling or independent research, while others are working in a team of healthcare providers where they collaborate with, for example, social workers, physicians, or some other professionals to promote and enhance overall wellness.

Typical workplaces for psychologists that work in a team are hospitals, clinics, hospitals, community centers, rehabilitation facilities, and mental health centers. The majority of research psychologists are working in universities and colleges, private research institutions, or government agencies.