How to Become a Psychologist
What does a Psychologist do?
A psychologist carries out surveys, observations and interviews to conduct studies on human behavior. By collecting information, they are able to identify psychological and behavioral issues and diagnose disorders. They research and test for emotional patterns in order to understand behavior. They are tasked with sharing their findings through reports, research papers and articles.
They use methods such as psychoanalysis and lab experiments to evaluate and understand behavior, thoughts and feelings of their patients. A psychologist will then discuss treatment plans with clients after making a diagnosis.
Types of Psychologists
There are various types of psychologists as stated below:
- Clinical Psychologists:they assess patients and diagnose mental, behavioral and emotional disorders. When the treatment they suggest involves medication, they usually partner with other health care professionals to provide the best treatment.
- Counseling Psychologists:they help patients to comprehend, manage and deal with personal problems and issues at work or in the community.
- Developmental Psychologists:they study the psychological processes and development of humans from young age to old age. They also study the process of aging and problems that older adults face.
- Forensic Psychologists:they work as expert witnesses in civil, criminal and family cases. Their work is to help legal specialists understand the psychological aspects of cases.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologists:they help management in their work place with matters policy planning and organizational development. They also observe employee morale and productivity then apply psychological principles to solve these issues.
- Social Psychologists:they study how social interactions may influence the behavior and mindset of people. They may study individual and group interactions and suggest ways that might improve interactions.
- School Psychologists:they counsel students, address learning and behavioral problems, suggest improvements on administrative and teaching strategies and evaluate performances.
Steps to becoming a Psychologist
RESEARCH PSYCHOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE AND CAREER
Through research, you can become aware of the diverse field of psychology, the various career paths available to those who choose the discipline, academic requirements and duties of a psychologist.
ENROLL IN AN ACCREDITED PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM
Anyone who wishes to practice psychology is required to enroll for at least a master’s program then proceed to doctorate level of study. Graduates of a master’s in psychology may find work in counseling, clinical and research settings, acting as assistants to psychologists. They may also work as industrial-organizational psychologists.
Earning a Ph.D. in Psychology or Doctor of Psychology degree guarantees you the opportunity to practice as a licensed psychologist.
AIM AT GAINING EXPERIENCE WHILE EARNING YOUR DEGREE
There are several ways you can gain experience. You may start by volunteering in a clinical setting or in social work. You may also help out someone who is doing a research project. Alternatively, you can do an internship. The experience you get will help you choose a concentration or path that you believe will be beneficial to you.
GET YOUR LICENSE TO PRACTICE
In order to be considered a psychologist, one needs to complete their doctorate studies, and work for at least 2 years under supervision. You will proceed to sit for the licensure examination, after which you will be granted your license. In some states, you will be required to present a case study to the licensing board before acquiring your license.
Psychology related Licensures
- Certification in Neuropsychology:it’s granted by the American Board of Neuropsychology (ABN) to candidates who already have a doctorate in Psychology.
- The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP):this board issues licensures to professionals in 15 areas of specialty including rehabilitation and clinical health.
Important Skills for a Psychologist
- Analytical Skills:these will help them examine, understand and make use of the information they collect during research and interviews.
- Observational Skills:because their job entails watching people, they must be able to read into and understand behavior such as facial expressions, attitude and body positions.
- People Skills:psychologists are required to have excellent people skills because their work involves interactions with patients, families and professionals.
- Patience:this is an important attribute for every psychologist. Sometimes, treatments may take longer and this will require someone who is patient enough to see through.
- Trustworthiness:they are required to maintain confidentiality before and after treating patients.
- Communication Skills:because of the nature of their work, psychologists must have strong communication skills. This will help them listen keenly and speak efficiently with their patients.
- Problem-solving skills:these skills will help them prepare treatment plans or find solutions to behavioral and mental challenges.
How Psychologists Median Pay Compare with other similar Occupations020,00040,00060,00080,000100,000120,000140,000160,000180,000200,000PsychologistsMental Health Counselors and Marriage andFamily TherapistsSchool and Career CounselorsSurvey ResearchersSpecial Education TeachersAnthropologists and ArcheologistsMarket Research AnalystsPostsecondary TeachersSociologistsPhysicians and SurgeonsMedian Pay ($)Similar Occupations
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||39,980|
|Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists||43,190|
|School and Career Counselors||53,660|
|Special Education Teachers||56,800|
|Anthropologists and Archeologists||61,220|
|Market Research Analysts||62,150|
|Physicians and Surgeons||187,200|