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How to Become A Psychologist

Although a master’s degree in psychology is good enough for some entry-level positions, most individuals choose to complete a doctoral program in psychology before entering the field.

Psychologists carry out scientific research on brain functions and human behavior. There are various types of psychologists such as:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Developmental psychologists
  • Health psychologists
  • Counseling psychologists
  • Forensic psychologists
  • School psychologists
  • Organizational or industrial psychologists
  • Social psychologists


How to Become a Psychologist?

Most research, clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctoral degree. Typically, candidates complete a one-year professional internship during their curriculum.

School psychologists normally need an advanced degree such as an ED.S. degree or a state license to practice.

Individuals who successfully complete a master’s degree in psychology may be able to work as industrial psychologists or as psychological assistants in various clinical and research settings, under the direction of a PhD psychologist.

Admission requirements for a doctoral program in psychology may vary from university to university, but typically include the following prerequisites:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited university or college
  • A GPA of 3.0 is preferable
  • Official transcripts of all previous academic institutions attended
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent
  • CV or resume
  • Interview
  • Proof of proficiency in the English language in some cases, such as in the case of international students
Earn a college degree in psychology and help people suffering from psychological disorders.
How to Become A Psychologist

Some universities or colleges may give preference to students with previous coursework or degrees in psychology or work experience in the field, during the admission process.

The curriculum is rigorous and research-based. It provides in-depth knowledge to the students about theories of psychology, human behavior and various psychological functions of the human mind.

Coursework may vary from university to university but normally includes the following core courses:

  • Psychology and statistical methods
  • Correlation analysis and design
  • Psychometric theory
  • Intellectual disabilities and development
  • Emotional disorders in children and teenagers
  • Social psychology
  • Foundations of neuropsychology
  • Psychology and fundamentals of affect and cognition

The curriculum may also include an internship, externship and a doctoral residency, instead of a dissertation project.

An externship normally requires the student to complete a specific number of hours in research-based settings, while an internship requires completion of professional experience under the supervision of a practicing psychologist in a hospital or a clinic.

During a doctoral residency, a student is involved in conducting research under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist.

Certifications and Licensure

Almost all states, require an individual to obtain a license before practicing as or using the title ‘psychologist ‘.  To acquire a state license, an individual has to fulfill the state’s criteria, which may include passing a written examination, years of professional experience and academic requirements.

Most states also require psychologists to undertake continuing education courses in order to retain their license.

Very few hospitals and clinics may require a psychologist to have acquired certifications; certifications may otherwise display professional competency. The American Board of Professional Psychology provides several certifications in various sub-fields of psychology, such as rehabilitation and clinical health.

Training

Psychologists get most of their professional training during the doctoral program, when they complete internships and externships.

Other Useful Resources

 

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Q:How to become a clinical psychologist?

A:Clinical psychologists must have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a professional license issued by the state’s licensing board. The first step to becoming a clinical psychologist is completing a bachelor and masters degree in the field. You can then enroll in a doctoral program that will take 5-7 years to complete. After completing your post-graduate degree, you must complete a 1-2 year professional internship program and pass the Licensing Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:I can choose to become a psychologist in which different specialty areas?

A:There are many different career-paths to choose from in the field of psychology. You can specialize in areas such as the following: child psychology, family psychology, cognitive and behavioral psychology, police and public safety psychology, forensic psychology, group psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and school psychology. (Source: The American Board of Professional Psychology ABPP)

Q:How to become a forensic psychologist?

A:You must follow the educational steps and fulfill the licensing requirements in your state. To practice as a forensic psychologist, you will need to complete a bachelor, masters, and doctoral degree in the field. These programs will help build a strong foundation of knowledge and will equip you with advanced skills. Before you can apply for a license, you may have to complete an internship program and gather work experience according to your state’s requirements. To improve your career prospects, you can also apply for professional certification in forensic psychology offered by The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). (Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and The American Board of Professional Psychology ABPP) .

Q:After completing the educational steps to becoming a psychologist, how do I get a license?

A:After you have completed an advanced degree in psychology, the next step is to apply for a professional license. The requirements for professional licensing vary from state to state. In most states, individuals must have 1-2 years of professional experience to qualify for a license. You must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology conducted by the state’s licensing board. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How to become a criminal psychologist?

A:You will need to complete a bachelor, masters, and doctoral degree in criminal psychology. These degree programs will equip you with skill and knowledge about criminal behavior. With an advanced degree in this field, you can continue your pursuit of becoming a criminal psychologist by completing an internship program and applying for a license in your state. (Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How to become a sports psychologist?

A:Most states require psychologists to hold a doctoral degree in psychology. However, in some states, a masters degree in sports psychology will qualify your for a professional license. Sports psychology programs will provide you with advanced knowledge of sports and kinesiology. You may also have to complete an internship program before applying for a license or certification in your state. (Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:After becoming a clinical psychologist, what will my job be like?

A:Clinical psychologists are licensed professionals who counsel and help patients. These professionals diagnose various psychological disorders among patients and develop treatment plans. Common psychological disorders include depression, anxiety, and stress. The tasks of clinical psychologists may also include conducting scientific studies, conducting surveys, and collecting information. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How to become a school psychologist?

A:To become a school psychologist, you may have to complete a bachelor, masters and doctoral degree in psychology. In some states, a masters degree qualifies an individual for a professional license in school psychology. You must also complete training or an internship program to acquire hands-on experience. This branch of psychology deals with treating and helping school-going children who suffer from psychological and developmental issues. The American Board of Professional Psychology offers certification in school psychology. You will need to compete at least 1500 hours of doctoral internship approved by the APA or CPA and must have at least 2 years of professional experience to receive a certification. Source: (US Bureau of Labor Statistics and The American Board of Professional Psychology ABPP)

Q:Do I need a certification for becoming a child psychologist?

A:Most states require psychologists to have a license and a professional certification. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is a leading organization that offers certification in different specialty areas of psychology. To qualify for a child psychology certification from ABPP, you must have a doctoral degree in clinical child psychology accredited by the APA, completion of a 1-2 year internship program, 2 year post-internship experience, and must demonstrate self identification as a clinical child psychologist. (Sources: The American Board of Professional Psychology ABPP)

Q:How many years does it take to become a psychologist?

A:After completing your high school diploma, it may take you another 8-12 years of higher education to become a psychologist. The duration will depend upon the academic route you choose and the field of psychology you wish to specialize in. For most clinical psychology careers, you must have a four 4 undergraduate degree, a 2 year graduate degree, and a doctoral degree which can take 5-7 years to complete. You will also have to gain at least 1-2 years of professional experience before you can apply for a professional license and take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What is the minimum schooling to become a psychologist?

A:In most states, psychologists are required to have an advanced degree in psychology along with a professional license. Individuals who want to become clinical and research psychologists will need to earn a bachelor, masters, and doctoral degree. There are a number of schools offering psychology degree programs in different specializations such as child psychology, criminal psychology, and behavioral psychology. Psychology degree programs will equip you with knowledge and skills needed for this career. Make sure you check with your state’s licensing authority to find out what level of degree you need to qualify for a professional license. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:How do you become a psychologist?

A:To become a psychologist, you must have an advanced degree in psychology. Most branches of psychology require a post-graduate qualification that can be pursued after the completion of a bachelor and masters degree. A number of states require psychologists to have a PhD degree to practice independently. On the other hand, a masters degree in psychology can qualify you for a career as a industrial or school psychologist. You can check with your state’s licensing authority to learn more about the minimum educational and licensing requirements for various psychology careers. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:Should i become a psychologist?

A:Psychologists are professionals who diagnose and treat various mental and emotional disorders. This career could be a suitable choice if you wish to help people in need and make a positive difference in their lives. The career can be challenging and will give you the opportunity to help people tackle emotional/mental issues. Psychology is a vast field and offers different employment opportunities. You can pursue a specialization according to your interest. On the other hand, the growth rate for this profession is 12% and is expected to increase by the year 2022. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What does it take to become a psychologist? Can you tell me about the skills I need?

A:To become a psychologist, you must have professional knowledge about the field along with a diverse skill set. The career can be challenging in many ways as you will have to help patients suffering from different psychological disorders. You must demonstrate strong communication skills, listening skills, critical thinking skills, complex problem-solving skills, judgment skills, and decision-making skills. (Source: O*Net Online)

Q:Can you tell me how to become A psychologist?

A:In order to become a psychologist you need to complete extensive training and education. Most psychologists need a doctoral degree to practice. After finishing your education, you will also need to obtain a license in order to practice from the state in which you plan to work in. To get a license, candidates must have completed either a residency, internship, or a supervised pre or post doctoral program. The American Board of Professional Psychology awards certifications in 13 different fields of psychology.

Q:How to become a psychologist without a psychology degree?

A:You cannot become a practicing psychologist without a psychology degree. You will have to study psychology at graduate and post-graduate level. Advanced psychology degrees are being offered by many renowned schools. These programs will equip you with in-depth knowledge about the field. Apart from education, you must also acquire a license and meet the minimum requirements of the state.

Q:How to become a psychotherapist?

A:Requirements for becoming a psychotherapist might vary on some aspects, but on the whole, every state requires a graduate degree, typically a doctorate, in clinical psychology, clinical social work or counseling, with emphasis on psychotherapy. Once you have completed the education requirements, you will need to take the Examinations for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Every state requires psychotherapists to obtain a state license before they can practice.

Q:How to become a therapist?

A:There are many degree paths that lead to the career of a therapist. The first step is to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. However, students with degrees in other majors might be accepted into graduate training programs if they have completed the prerequisite coursework. A more advanced degree in psychology opens up a wider variety of career options. You could go for a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in Psychology, which will take nearly four to eight years beyond your undergraduate. You could also go for other degrees such as a master's in psychology, a master's in counseling, or a master's in social work.

Q:Can you give me information on how to become a psychologist in a hospital?

A:In order to become a psychologist in a hospital, you must acquire training and specialized education. You must first complete a bachelor's and master's degree in the field of psychology. After that, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, complete a 1-2 year professional internship program and then pass the Licensing Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. The field also requires you to obtain a license from the state.

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