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Becoming a Psychologist

Many people interested in becoming psychologists are unaware that they will have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments, including schools, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and more. There are also a number of specializations available within the field of psychology itself: clinical, industrial, educational, consumer, health, environmental, forensic, experimental, etc. To learn more about becoming a psychologist, click on the links offered below. You will receive complimentary information from the schools and programs of your choice.

Psychologist Career Facts

- A doctoral degree is usually required in order to be a clinical or counseling Psychologist 
- 4 out of 10 Psychologists are self employed

Psychologist Career Description

Being a Psychologist differs from other areas of social science because they must be familiar with the human mind and human behavior. However they do plenty of research and test their hypotheses for validity like any other scientist. Psychologists might gather information through field or controlled lab experiments. This however totally depends on their specialization and research interest. Most have a specialty which leads them to a specific field in which to provide mental health care.

Psychologist Career Details

The majority of specialists are in fact Clinical Psychologists. They usually work in counseling in places such as schools, hospitals, and clinics. Their purpose is to conduct interviews and give diagnostic tests. The tests help them develop other behavior programs which advance the field of knowledge and may help them better understand human behavior. Psychologists may also help people with severe injuries as such an experience can cause mental anguish. Another clinical area involves helping patients deal with a personal crises in their lives. Such a crisis may include divorce, unexpected loss of a loved one, or some other tragedy. 

Aside from the clinical psychologists, there are psychologists that actually counsel people. They also use tests and interviews, but their purpose is angled towards advising people how to deal with everyday problems. Others focus areas include school psychologists, who work at secondary and elementary schools. They work with teachers and try to improve the curriculum and deal with any potential problem students. Industrial psychologists can be found at the workplace improving productivity and stability or as consultants working side by side with management. There are also specializations such as Developmental, Social, and Experimental Psychology.

Programs to Consider:

Psychologist Career Specializations

Clinical Psychologists can specialize in health psychology, neuropsychology, and geropsychology. Those inclined towards health promote it through programs that counsel the individual and their respective needs. Neropsychologists usually work with head injury programs as they study the relationship between the brain and the patient's behavior. Lastly, geropsychologists deal with the elderly and the problems they face as they get along in the years.

Psychologist Career Working Environment

The working conditions of psychologists depend on their place of employment. Some may work shifts, while others make their own hours. Clinical and school psychologists often make their own schedule, but will often set aside night and weekend hours to accommodate their clients. Those involved with universities switch between teaching and research. Also of note is that more and more psychologists find themselves working in large groups of others like them to promote learning and consulting with other professionals. This naturally involves a lot of traveling.

Psychologist Career Required Training

In order to become licensed for employment as a clinical or counseling psychologist, you usually need a doctorate. Yet once you get that Ph.D. you qualify for a wide range of working opportunities that cover the majority of the specializations. Those with an MA may become industrial psychologists, or find work under the supervision of other doctorate holding members of the field. Those with a BA may work with the community and assist professionals. 

A BA may also qualify you to work for the government, but these jobs are competitive. A Ph.D. usually takes between 5-7 years of course work. Courses will cover research methods, and statistics, which are of the utmost importance. Most students will also need to intern for at least a year to complete the doctoral requirements. The masters requires about 2 years of coursework. Students will have to get practical experience in the field and complete an original research project. This, of course, is on top of attending class full time.

Psychologist Career Coursework

Coursework usually depends on the goals of the individual. Most students and aspiring Psychologists can expect to take courses that will train them to communicate effectively with people as well as to handle stress. They will also learn about various research methods and how to implement them in a computer based analysis.

Psychologist Career Future Job Outlook

Psychology is projected to grow in leaps and bounds in the next ten years. Those involved in healthcare can expect to see the most growth, mental and substance abuse clinics are expanding. Schools and companies will also need a fair share of experience and educated psychologists. PhD holders will have the most opportunity, but graduates with an MA should also have a decent outlook. Unfortunately, very few psychology-related jobs will be available for BA holders, as they usually qualify for assistant positions.

Psychologist Salary

Median salary for 2011 $68,640

Career Info Counseling