Psychologists study the social, emotional and cognitive processes by recording, interpreting and observing how people interact with each other and their environments. These professionals aim to improve the overall lifestyles and behaviors of their patients.
There are several kinds of psychologists; these include Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists, School Psychologists, Rehabilitation Psychologists and Community Psychologists. If you are fascinated by the functioning of the brain, then we would advise you to read this article.
Job Duties of a Psychologist
Psychologists are responsible for carrying out scientific studies of human behavior, researching and identifying emotional and behavioral patterns, conducting diagnostic tests and creating and implementing therapeutic processes and treatment plans.
If you are interested in helping others improve their mental wellbeing, then a career in this field is ideal for you. Read this article to understand how long it takes to become a psychologist in the US.
Requirements to Become a Psychologist in the US
Becoming a psychologist is by no means a simple process. There are many requirements that the aspiring psychologists have to meet in order to achieve their professional goals. These requirements can be categorized into the following three sections:
- Education Requirements
The first step is to obtain a relevant degree; students can enroll in a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Psychology), after completing their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While the PsyD program is targeted at students who are interested in straightforward practice of psychology, the PhD in psychology program is broader and is targeted at students who are not just interested in clinical practice, but also in research and academia. Therefore, a PsyD program focuses less on research courses while the PhD in psychology program focuses more on such courses.
So it depends entirely on your career goals – if you want to work directly with patients, then a PsyD program is ideal for you. And if you want to work in teaching or forensic/scientific research, then a PhD in psychology is ideal for you.
- Training Requirements:
Gaining pre and post-doctoral experience is a must if you aim to become a psychologist. This can include professional internship experiences, which enable students to gain a better understanding of their field. In most cases, individuals have to complete an internship in order to become licensed. The number of hours of internship usually varies from one state to another; therefore it is advised that you check your state pages to keep yourself updated.
- Certification And Licensing Requirements:
In order to practice as a psychologist, you need to be licensed by your respective state. Again, licensing laws vary between states and also depend on the field of psychology you want to pursue. You can also consult the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards to get relevant information about licensure requirements and procedures.
Steps Involved in Becoming a Psychologist in the US
- Obtain a Bachelor’s degree:
After completing your high school diploma, you can opt for a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Different schools will have different credit hour requirements for you to complete in order to graduate. It is very important for you to do conduct proper research on the schools you apply to because this degree will be the first step in your journey to become a psychologist.
- Obtain a Master’s degree:
After completing a Bachelor’s degree, students are advised to enroll in a Master of Science (M.S) in Psychology. This program is offered at many schools and students will have to study a variety of modules such as Developmental Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, and Social Issues in Psychology among others.
- Complete a Doctorate Program And Get The Required Training:
Students can top their Master’s degree with a doctorate program, such as a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD in Psychology). After completing the doctorate degree, individuals will then have to complete the training requirements as specified by the state.
- Obtain a License:
The licensing laws differ from one state to another, so it is recommended that you check with your state pages to understand more about the licensing requirements. Once you meet those requirements, you will be able to practice as a psychologist. This is one of the most important steps in the entire process because without a proper license, you will not be qualified to practice as a licensed psychologist.
Salary Data and Job Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that psychologists made a yearly median salary of $79,010 in 2018. Job outlook data suggests that employment opportunities in this field will grow by 14% from 2018 to 2028.