psychology is a highly detailed study of emotions, thoughts, and behavior. it seeks to explain the reason people act in particular ways. this profession requires individuals to undertake extensive research projects and studies aimed at highlighting particular patterns. the insights are valuable to a large cross-section of industries, from marketing to human resource management to simply helping patients in the rehabilitation process. if you are interested in learning how to become a psychologist, read our guide to help you make a more well-informed decision.
what do psychologists do?
as stated, psychologists are primarily involved in undertaking studies and research to understand the facets of human behavior, thought, and emotions. academics will use laboratory research and observation as a means of gathering data, in addition to speaking directly with patients and helping psychiatrists identify illnesses. there are multiple specialties available within the realm of psychology. clinical psychologists will be interested in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses in patients, using a combination of psychotherapy and possibly medication. they are concerned with modifying erratic behavior.
counseling psychologists will advise people on the best ways to deal with their problems, and become better at coping with their stress. school psychologists will work with school administrations to assess the coursework, and help develop strategies to facilitate learning for students with behavioral disorders or mental conditions. needless to say, the scope for psychology is wide open and the field is highly applicable across the board.
how to become a psychologist education
depending on the specialty you wish to enter, the degree requirements vary. those interested in entering clinical or research psychology will need at least a doctoral degree to be considered qualified. individuals can either obtain a ph.d. in psychology or a doctor of psychology (psy.d.) degree. the former is a research based degree which requires candidates to complete a dissertation and comprehensive exam; the latter places higher emphasis on clinical experience.
if you want to be involved in the education sector, you will need to obtain a master's degree with a specialization, such as the ed.s. degree. you will be required to complete a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours, and programs will vary in duration depending on whether you join as a full-time or a part-time student. having an undergraduate degree in psychology, while not a blanket requirement, is definitely advantageous to gaining admission into graduate programs. online degree programs from accredited institutions are available for students to enroll into if attending on-campus programs is not possible.
it is imperative that you are licensed by the correct board before you decide to practice your profession. the national association of school psychologists provides licenses to all those who wish to work in education, whereas the american board of professional psychology awards certifications in 13 other areas. becoming certified requires you to have a significant experience in research, academia, or in clinical expertise.
pay and job outlook
psychology is quickly gaining importance, with overall employment expected to grow 22 percent between 2010 and 2020. the median salary for the profession was $68,640 in 2010, with the highest earning professionals raking in $111,810 annually.