One of the most competitive professions is the one of psychologist. Acceptance on graduate programs is highly sought and competitive. This profession requires certain degree of education, training, knowledge, as well as personality traits.
Working as a psychologist requires an advanced degree, although undergraduate psychology degrees have many other applications outside the practice of psychology, such as business and marketing. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Psychologists study human and animal behavior, mental processes, and analyze, interpret and record their observations to be able to better understand the subject. They will perform individual and group studies as part of the process to collect information, which will help them formulate theories, and explanations that will help understand certain behaviors and reactions; they are social scientists. They utilize different methods and techniques to be able to collect the information needed to assist their clients, whether these clients are human or on the other side of the animal kingdom. They will use experimental techniques, laboratory studies, and other techniques such as interview, observation, biofeedback, questionnaires and tests, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, as well as clinical studies and surveys.
The job settings in this area are vast and they could be in the private or government sector. Psychologists can also have their own private practice, if they choose to work that way. They can work in hospitals and clinics, universities, schools, private industry and businesses, government agencies, jails, non-profit organizations, and many others. There specialization may include different areas such as business and management, education, law, health, sports, human services, retail and product development. There are many branches under this profession such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial psychology, school psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, research psychology, and forensic psychology.
There are many subdivisions of those areas as well, which indicates that this field is wide and the opportunities cover many areas of employment. This will determine the kind of work setting and hours of practice. Private practice psychologists have the flexibility of working their own schedule in order to accommodate clients as best as they can, which may include late and weekend hours. Government agencies traditionally work on a Monday-Friday schedule with weekends and holidays off. The private sector may vary in the scheduling of work hours. Some psychologists decide to teach in universities and colleges and have a private practice on the side. Many professionals decide to form teams and open a practice as a group. The possibilities for this career are many.
Training and Education Requirements
This career requires much study and training. Most positions require a master or doctoral degree, and a license to practice. The higher the degree the more qualifications and opportunities in the job sector. A Ph.D. or Psy.D. (Doctor in psychology) qualifies a candidate to most positions in various industries. To obtain a PhD an individual must complete five years of graduate study (full-time) and a dissertation of his/her own research. For a Psy.D. a candidate must complete practical work and examinations, and not necessarily a dissertation. An additional year of post-doctoral supervised work applies in some cases, such as clinical, school, and counseling psychology.
A school psychologist may need additional training to obtain an Ed.S. – A specialization degree in school psychology. For this degree, a candidate must complete a minimum of 2 years of graduate study full-time, and a year of full-time internship, which will be on the third year.
A person considering a master in psychology will be able to work in settings such as industrial-organizational and assisting doctors in psychology. The requirements are two years of graduate study, the completion of a thesis, and practical experience.
A bachelor’s degree in psychology qualifies a candidate to work as an assistant under direct supervision of a doctor, or as administrative assistants for doctors in psychology. They can work under supervision in places such as correctional facilities, vocational facilities, mental health centers in the community, and other settings such as service, retail, or management.
In some states, clinical psychologists who prescribe medications are required to complete a master’s degree (post doctoral) in clinical psychopharmacology. They also have to pass a test that is approved by the State Board of Examiners of psychologists.
Besides education and practical work, psychologists have to be licensed in order to practice. The requirements for licensing may vary depending on the state a person will practice. They will also need to pass a state exam approved by the State Licensing Board.
Schools have to be accredited by the APA (American Psychological Association) for their programs to be valid. The National Association of School Psychologists and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education help with the accreditation of programs in school psychology, which are advanced.
Salary and Wages
Depending on the education, specialty, experience, degrees, certifications, and job setting, salary ranges from the lowest $37,000+ to $149,000+ as the highest.* The Salary of a Psychologist has generally been improving since 2000!
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Besides, all the educational degrees and licensing, there are other certifications such as the NCSP designation (Nationally Certified School Psychologist) awarded by the NASP (National Association of School Psychologists). The ABPP (American Board of Professional Psychology) awards certifications in thirteen different areas of psychology. Additional recommendations, education, training, practice, and endorsements may be required in addition to pass an examination.
Professional associations will depend on state requirements as well as employer requirements. Also, depending on specialization, and job type. Membership requirements may apply to degrees and licensing.
Employment in this area is expected to increase, but opportunities will be better for professionals who have a higher degree of education. However, the variety of job settings for this profession is a big plus.