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How to Become a Psychologist


How to Become a Psychologist

A psychologist studies the human mind and behavior. People typically assume that the sole task of the psychologists is to converse with patients in therapy. There are a number of specialty areas in psychology; which includes school psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, organizational and industrial psychology, forensic psychology, social psychology and research/experimental psychology.

What Do Psychologists Do?

A psychologist studies human behavior, mentality and action through observation, recording and analysis. They communicate with their patients to gain a better understanding of their emotions and feelings. They determine a person’s behavior through intelligence tests, controlled experiments, psychoanalysis and hypnosis.

They also have the duty to interview, question, and analyze individuals who are likely to have mental illness. They have to keep any information regarding the patient confidential. They have to improve the level of thinking of their patients and to inspire them to be more optimistic. They are responsible for finding innovative means of helping treat mentally ill people.

Patience is an essential quality of every psychologist. It will definitely take a lot of time to establish rapport with patients, to handle their unexpected behaviors and to establish progress. Psychologists are different from psychiatrists. Psychiatrists hold a medical degree and they are licensed to prescribe medication. On the other hand psychologists hold a PhD. They can’t prescribe medication. In addition, successful psychologists require having flexible working hours. If an individual is interested in this career and they want regular steady working hours, then they can consider working in corporations or the government.

How to Become a Psychologist

The initial educational requirement for psychologists is to hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Examples of courses in the program include experimental psychology, statistics and general psychology. Aside from that, it is also important for an individual to have experience. A way to achieve that is to help in research projects conducted by their professor. If one is interested in applying for graduate school, they will need strong letters of recommendation, and ones coming from research experience are one of the better letters to submit.

Graduate education is very important for a psychologist, that is if one wants an interesting and meaningful career. The graduate program involves researching in a number of programs. There are a variety of specialties to choose. They can also choose a PsyD, PhD or EdD degree. An applicant to a graduate program must be competitive. Be sure to have high grades. It’s also required for psychologists to complete an internship; which involves going to work in mental health centers, hospitals and clinics. To freely practice this career, one must be able to pass the licensure examination.

Depending on the specialty, a psychologist has a variety of career opportunities. For instance, clinical psychologists work in hospital or clinics. They help patients cope with emotional concerns or face having injuries, disabilities or loss of a loved one.

As counselors, psychologists help patients by motivating them to be more productive and optimistic. Their workplaces include hospitals, educational or career counseling centers and group practices.

School psychologists often deal with children and teenagers, as well as their parents.

Industrial or organizational psychologists provide their services in the workplace. Their objective is to improve the quality of life of employees and enhance company productivity.

In developmental psychology the focus is directed on physiological, social and cognitive changes that people undergo throughout the different stages of life.

Social psychologists specialize in the way people interact with society and their surroundings.

Research or experimental psychology focuses on learning the behavior of humans and animals. They usually work in universities, centers, non-profit organizations, corporations and the government.

Psychologist Salary

The average salary of a psychologist depends on their degree, area of specialty, and employment sector. The average annual earnings of psychologists are $64,140, as of the year 2008. The lowest income per year is below $37,900. On the other hand, the highest salary earned by psychologists is more than $106,840. As of 2009, industrial-organizational psychologists receive a mean average income of $83,260. School psychologists are paid an average of $66,040 per annum.