Psychologists are professionals who help patients work through different kinds of mental health problems through therapy and behavior adjustments. They study emotional, social and cognitive processes through observations and interpretations, to provide solutions to their patients.

To become a psychologist, you will have to meet an extensive list of requirements. To understand these, you are advised to go through the following guide.

Requirements to Become a Psychologist in the US

The requirements for becoming a psychologist in the US can be divided into three main sections. These are as follows:

    1. Education Requirements:

The education requirements for aspiring psychologists are largely dependent on the branch of psychology you opt for. Students may complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. The Ph.D. in Psychology is a research degree, that requires the completion of a wide-ranging exam. It also needs a dissertation of a student’s original research. The Psy. D. degree on the other hand, is a clinical degree based on practical work and exams, as opposed to a dissertation. This degree would also require the completion of a 1-year internship.

School psychologists would need an education focused degree, such as an Ed.S. along with a doctoral program in psychology. These programs involve coursework relating to education and psychology both.

Industrial-organizational psychologists usually require only a master’s degree, with courses such as statistics and research design.


    1. License and Certification Requirements:

To be able to use the title ‘psychologist,’ most states would require a license. All states require independent psychologists to be licensed in the area of their work. Licensing laws differ by state and type of position. For instance, if you intend to become a clinical or counseling psychologist, you will need an internship and at least 1 to 2 years of experience in a supervised setting. For state specific information regarding licensing requirements, you are advised to check with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board. Many states would also require continuing education credits.

Certification is not a mandatory concern for most psychologists. However, some clinics and hospitals might need certification. In such cases, students will be required to have a doctoral degree in psychology, along with a state license and certification.

    1. Training Requirements:
Aspiring psychologists are required to complete a pre- or postdoctoral training session, which includes an internship. This is a mandatory concern if the candidate wishes to qualify for licensure.

How Much Can I Make as a Psychologist in the US

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2018 median pay of psychologists in the US was $79,010 per year. This roughly translates to $37.99 per hour. The growth in this field is expected to be much faster than the average, at 14%, with an addition of 26,100 new jobs expected by 2028.