Should I Become a Geropsychologist?
|Education Required||Doctoral degree|
|Key Skills||Analytical Skills, Integrity, Communication Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Observational Skills, Problem-Solving Skills and Patience.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019)||$98,230 (Psychologists, All Other)|
|Job Outlook (2018-28)||14% (Psychologists)|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Geropsychology deals with older people and their families. People who are interested in dealing with ageing patients can pursue this as a specialization. They are usually required to work at a hospital or a clinical setting as elderly people are hospitalized more often. These professionals play an essential role in the society as they deal with a sensitive age group.
Employment opportunities for psychologists are expected to grow 14% as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for the services of psychologists is expected to increase in the future. Social service agencies, schools, hospitals and mental health centers will require their services more than ever. Psychologists will also help an ageing population deal with mental and physical changes.
Steps to Become a Geropsychologist
- Get an Undergraduate Degree
Students have to get an undergraduate degree to begin the process. A degree in psychology or gerontology provides a strong foundation and fulfills most of the requirements of a doctoral program. During this program, students study topics like abnormal psychology, behavioral statistics, problem-solving methods and counseling techniques, etc.
- Get a Doctoral Degree
During the Doctoral program, students specialize in Geropsychology or take elective courses. Those who want to practice, pursue a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree, while those who choose to stay in an academic setting go for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. Cognition in ageing patients, clinical assessments, intervention techniques and how aging effects the mind and body are some of the courses offered during a doctoral program. Students also work with a professional during this program.
With a Doctoral degree, students can also teach Geropsychology as a university professor or conduct independent study in the field.
- Get Training
Students have to complete the required training in Geropsychology to gain professional experience. During this program, they work individually and in groups under the administration of the management. They also develop specialized skills and gain exposure in their chosen field.
- Get Licensed
Aspiring Geropsychologist have to get licensed to practice. To gain licensure, candidates need professional work experience and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) which has an oral and a written component. Each state has a different requirement and once all the requirements are fulfilled, candidates receive their licensure from the state board. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) offers certificates in 15 different specialties and Geropsychology is one of them. An exam is conducted by The American Board of Geropsychology (ABGERO) for those want to specialize in Geropsychology.
Once they obtain licensure, they can start practicing and assessing patients’ physical, mental and emotional health. Geropsychologists also create treatment and rehabilitation plans with other medical professionals.
- Continuing Education
Continuing education is required in some of the states as a criterion to get the licensed renewed. For this purpose, students have to take advanced courses and attend seminars, etc.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Geropsychologist?
Aspiring psychologists have to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by a doctoral degree. After completing the education requirements, students have to gain professional experience and apply for licensure.
What Are the Requirements to Become a Geropsychologist?
Following are the requirements to become a psychologist:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree
- Get a doctoral degree
- Get the required professional experience
- Pass the EPPP
How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Geropsychologist?
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of people working as “Psychologists, All Other” in the US was $98,230 in 2019.