Psychologist - How to Become a Psychologist

Psychologist

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Psychologist Overview

 

Psychology studies the mind and behavior, embracing all aspects of the human experience. Its studies encompass everything from the functioning of the brain to the actions of nations, from the developmental stages of a child to care for the elderly. Understanding behavior is the purview of Psychologists, whether they are working in scientific research centers or mental health care service positions.

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Responsibilities

 

While a Psychologist will traditionally treat patients with mental or emotional issues, they may also serve as research scientists in the phenomenon of human and non-human behavior. Psychologists study how humans relate to each other and to the environment around them, including human relations to machines, and how these relationships are improved. Psychologists concentrate on behaviors that affect the mental health and emotional well-being, as well as mental functioning, of healthy human beings.

When doing research, Psychologists follow the scientific method, using careful observation, controlled experimentation and precise analysis. Their theories of human behavior are tested through their research. As new information is gleaned, Psychologists’ findings are incorporated into the body of knowledge that active practitioners call upon in their clinical work with patients and clients.

The field of Psychology is tremendously varied. Psychologists perform both basic and applied research, and serve as consultants to communities and organizations. They diagnose and treat patients with mental or emotional issues, test intelligence and personality traits. Some Psychologists choose to teach future Psychologists and other students. Psychologists are excellent resources for information needed to understand different cultures in an increasingly diverse population.

A Psychologist has many avenues open to him or her when it comes to deciding on a setting in which to practice. Some of the different career options available within the profession include:

  • Working with business executives, athletes and performers to improve performance and relieve stress.

  • Advising lawyers on jury selection

  • Collaborating with educators to design school reforms

  • Grief and trauma counseling, such as working with victims after a traumatic event such as a plane crash or a school shooting

  • Working with law enforcement to analyze the causes of certain events

  • Collaborating with public health officials to devise plans for coping with and preventing reoccurrence of disastrous events

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Skills

 

Since Psychologists encounter a wide range of people with a variety of problems, they must have a long list of skills that allows them to interact with people effectively and treat emotional and psychological issues. Along with professional skills, Psychologists need interpersonal skills, and to be ethical and stable people.

Their skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Empathy

Must be very compassionate and able to empathize with a patient's pain and other difficulties. They are able to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves and let people know they care.

Emotional Stability

Must be emotionally stable so they can help others who are not. Must be a solid foundation and be able to handle stress and separate personal emotion so as to stay objective and be effective in treatment.

Ethics

Psychologists must have a solid ethical code and keep sessions with patients confidential as they can greatly affect people's lives. Must know that there could be consequences for error.

Interpersonal

Must be able to work well with people and meet with them on an emotional level and interact with them effectively.

Open-Mindedness

Psychologists interact with a range of people from all walks of life, therefore they must be open-minded and tolerant of different cultures and circumstances. Since they are in a research field, they must be open to new studies and findings as to adapt with changing times.

Trustworthiness

People have to trust their psychologist. The job is all about inspiring patients to confide in you and trust you with their problems. If you aren't trustworthy, you will never make it as a Psychologist.

Patience

Psychologists need to be very patient due to long sessions with patients and the research needed to become a better professional. They must understand it takes time to see results and be willing to put in that time.

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Working Conditions

 

Independent practice is the preferred employment setting for many Psychologists. They may also work in collaboration with these professionals:

  • Physicians

  • Scientists

  • Lawyers

  • Computer experts

  • School personnel

  • Engineers

  • Policymakers

  • Managers

Psychologists commonly work in the following environments:

  • Hospitals

  • Laboratories

  • Courtrooms

  • Public and private schools

  • Colleges and universities

  • Community health centers

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Prisons

  • Corporate offices

Most Psychologists profess to be very satisfied with their work, citing the variety in daily tasks and the flexibility of their schedules as major pluses in favor of the profession. Their interest is fascinated by the exciting changes happening in the field, from adapting technology to work in conjunction with humans to psychologists working as part of a primary health care team.

Psychologists are working to find answers to research questions in such areas as perception, prevention and learning, helping educators train the next generations through the use of new technology and knowledge.

 


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How to Become a Psychologist:

 

To become a psychologist you will first need a bachelor's degree. This will teach you the fundamentals of Psychology. After that, you have to get a Master's Degree, which will qualify you to work in the field as a social worker, case manager, or employment specialist.

Then, in most cases, you need to earn a doctoral degree. Depending on the career path you choose, you will need either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD). Many states also require post-doctoral training which takes about 1 year of work.

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

This is your first step to becoming a psychologist. Usually, your undergrad should be in psychology to better prepare you for the advanced classes you will need. A Bachelor's in Psychology will give you all the prerequisites you will need to advance through your Ph.D or PsyD.

Here's what your course load might look like:

Grade Level Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • Introduction to Psychology,
  • English Literature
  • Speech
  • Math
  • Life Science (Biology, Botany, etc.)
  • Developmental Psychology
  • History

Sophomore Year

  • Personality Psychology,
  • Abnormal Psychology,
  • Government
  • Electives.
  • Psychological testing and measurement
  • Biopsychology
  • Statistics 
  • General Education Courses.

Junior Year

 

  • Psychology of Learning
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Electives
  • Social Psychology
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Ethical Issues in Psychology

Senior Year

  • History of Psychology
  • Senior Seminar Courses
  • Research Courses
  • Remaining General Education
  • Psychology Electives
  • Advanced Level Topics
  • Clinical Practicum Courses

  

2. Earn a Master's Degree (2 Years)

 

A big question psychology students want to know is, "Do I need a master's to get my doctorate?" The answer is no. But if you want to get your master's degree, you can. It can help you decide what areas you want to focus on, or if you really want to further your psychology career.

Many Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs do not require a master's degree, and you can begin these programs after completing your bachelor's degree. 

There are many avenues for a master's degree you can go down, if you so choose:

  • M.A. or M.S. in Experimental Psychology
  • M.A. or M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • M.A. or M.S. in Forensic Psychology
  • M.A. or M.S. in Clinical Psychology
  • M.A. or M.S. in Social Psychology
  • M.A. or M.S. in Child Development

 

3. Earn a Doctoral Degree (4 - 6 Years)

 

You must earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology in order to be a Psychologist. According to the American Psychological Association, there are accredited doctoral programs in the following areas:

  • Clinical Psychology

  • Counseling Psychology

  • School Psychology

  • Combined Professional-Scientific Psychology

Students working toward a Psychology Degree in traditional programs can expect to study both normal as well as abnormal functioning. Their studies will be focused on the interaction of two critical relationships: the relationship between brain function and behavior, and the relationship between behavior and the environment.

 

4. Earn the Required License & Certification

 

After all the schooling and hard work, you still need to get a license to practice. To get your license you must work under the supervision of a professional--takes 1 to 2 years. Then you must pass the board exams. Finally, you must present your case to the board of your state and get your license. After all of this, you can finally practice and call yourself a licensed psychologist. 

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.05.2016
Qualified Psychologist for Riverbend Medical Group.
12.05.2016
The team members number one job responsibility is to deliver the most remarkable patient experience, in every dimension, every time, and understand how he or she contributes to the health systems vision of achieving that commitment to patients...
12.05.2016
The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient service line. Psychologists on our teams have been able to pursue and develop their practices around personal areas of interest and...
12.05.2016
Support Carilion's hallmarks of service excellence and quality for all job responsibilities. Provides assessment and therapeutic services to patients. These services include, but are not limited to, extensive psychological evaluations,...
12.05.2016
The Pain Clinic Psychologist will carry out psycho-diagnostic and psycho-therapeutic activities for the Anesthesia Pain Medicine Service. The Psychologist will develop psychological assessments and cognitive treatments in parallel with other...
12.05.2016
PhD PAY RANGE: 31.88 - 48.10 JOB SUMMARY: The Clinical Psychologist provides psychological testing, therapy and consultation services to promote the mental health of Mercy Medical Center inpatients and outpatients and of the Mercy Medical...
12.05.2016
The psychologist performs culturally sensitive recovery oriented, short-term treatment for Spanish-speaking patients by incorporating existing evidence-based treatment methods. Essential Responsibilities: Conducts initial psychological...
12.05.2016
The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) is dedicated to improving the health and independence of people with disabilities and creating a life with opportunities for everyone. As a multi-disciplinary center of excellence, The CDD...
12.05.2016
The Coordinator Pain Psychologist Services is responsible for planning, prioritizing, and implementing behavioral health and integrated care services in the Neuro Pain Clinic. Provides administrative direction and lead efforts to build the...
12.07.2016
Department: Psychiatry & PsychologyA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea & Austin, Minnesota is seeking a full-time Clinical Psychologist to join our team in Albert Lea, MN. The Clinical...
12.05.2016
The Department of Psychiatry in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is seeking a clinical health psychologist to join our faculty. Appointment will be on the non-tenure clinical...
12.05.2016
Eating Disorder Specialist The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient service line. Our outpatient department is divided into three service areas and are all in one location at...
12.05.2016
Summary Responsible for the daily function and overall operations of PBH Intermediate Services and PBH inpatient mental health programming. Plans and directs the provision of psychological services and monitors the clinical direction in the...
12.07.2016
Sexual and Gender Medicine Psychologist The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient services. Psychologists on our teams have been able to pursue and develop their practices around...
12.07.2016
Department: Psychology-Pain Rehabilitation CenterA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: Mayos PRC program gave me my life back! Thank you for helping me reach goals that were beyond my expectations!Do you want to join a program that changes...
  1. PSYCHOLOGIST Springfield, MA Sisters of Providence Health System
    Qualified Psychologist for Riverbend Medical Group.
  2. Psychologist Winston-Salem, NC Novant Health
    The team members number one job responsibility is to deliver the most remarkable patient experience, in every dimension, every time, and understand how he or she contributes to the health systems vision of achieving that commitment to patients...
  3. Psychologist St. Cloud, MN CentraCare Health
    The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient service line. Psychologists on our teams have been able to pursue and develop their practices around personal areas of interest and...
  4. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST Roanoke, VA Carilion Clinic
    Support Carilion's hallmarks of service excellence and quality for all job responsibilities. Provides assessment and therapeutic services to patients. These services include, but are not limited to, extensive psychological evaluations,...
  5. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The Pain Clinic Psychologist will carry out psycho-diagnostic and psycho-therapeutic activities for the Anesthesia Pain Medicine Service. The Psychologist will develop psychological assessments and cognitive treatments in parallel with other...
  6. Clinical Psychologist Mason City, IA Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa
    PhD PAY RANGE: 31.88 - 48.10 JOB SUMMARY: The Clinical Psychologist provides psychological testing, therapy and consultation services to promote the mental health of Mercy Medical Center inpatients and outpatients and of the Mercy Medical...
  7. Staff Psychologist Boston, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    The psychologist performs culturally sensitive recovery oriented, short-term treatment for Spanish-speaking patients by incorporating existing evidence-based treatment methods. Essential Responsibilities: Conducts initial psychological...
  8. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) is dedicated to improving the health and independence of people with disabilities and creating a life with opportunities for everyone. As a multi-disciplinary center of excellence, The CDD...
  9. Pain Psychologist (Coordinator) St. Cloud, MN CentraCare Health
    The Coordinator Pain Psychologist Services is responsible for planning, prioritizing, and implementing behavioral health and integrated care services in the Neuro Pain Clinic. Provides administrative direction and lead efforts to build the...
  10. Clinical Psychologist Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: Psychiatry & PsychologyA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea & Austin, Minnesota is seeking a full-time Clinical Psychologist to join our team in Albert Lea, MN. The Clinical...
  11. CLINICAL HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The Department of Psychiatry in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is seeking a clinical health psychologist to join our faculty. Appointment will be on the non-tenure clinical...
  12. Psychologist- Eating Disorder Specialist St. Cloud, MN CentraCare Health
    Eating Disorder Specialist The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient service line. Our outpatient department is divided into three service areas and are all in one location at...
  13. PBH Psychologist Supervisor Fort Wayne, IN Parkview Health
    Summary Responsible for the daily function and overall operations of PBH Intermediate Services and PBH inpatient mental health programming. Plans and directs the provision of psychological services and monitors the clinical direction in the...
  14. Psychologist- Sexual Gender Medicine St. Cloud, MN CentraCare Health
    Sexual and Gender Medicine Psychologist The CentraCare Health Behavioral Health Department is seeking to fill numerous positions in our outpatient services. Psychologists on our teams have been able to pursue and develop their practices around...
  15. PSYCHOLOGIST-MASTERS LVL Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: Psychology-Pain Rehabilitation CenterA Life-Changing CareerPosition Summary: Mayos PRC program gave me my life back! Thank you for helping me reach goals that were beyond my expectations!Do you want to join a program that changes...