How To Become A Licensed Psychologist

What Do Psychologists Do?

Psychologists are licensed mental health professionals who help others cope with life and mental health issues. These individuals can hold doctorates, but are not required to. After years of education and training, they are qualified to help people with a wide range of problems using a variety of techniques. A psychologist may help you: overcome an addiction, manage your depression, cope with anxiety, etc. While talk-therapy is the most well-known, a psychologist will use styles that match their patient’s particular needs.

How Much Do They Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income of a psychologist is about $80,370 per year. Depending on the type of psychologist you become, this number could look different. However, there is expected to be a 3% increase in jobs between 2019-2029 (according to the BLS). Take some time to compare the different job opportunities and salaries before choosing your specialty.

How Long Does It Take?

Becoming a psychologist does not happen overnight. Traditionally, it can take between 8-12 years to officially earn this title. Obtaining your degree and completing training takes time, so be sure you are very passionate about this career path before you choose to go through with it. You can choose to only complete undergraduate education or go as far as obtaining a masters degree. This choice is yours, but there are many pros and cons to consider.

The Four Steps to Becoming A Psychologist

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Your degree does not have to be in a particular subject, but you may consider choosing one that is related to psychology (social work, sociology, psychology, etc).

2. Get a Master's Degree or Ph.D

Depending on the path you take, you may be required to obtain your MA or Ph.D. However, you may decide you would rather obtain an MS, PsyD, EdD, or EdS. Be sure to check this information with your local and state guidelines.

3. Do an Internship or Postdoctoral

This is required before you go into the field. You will be able to work along with psychologists in order to get hands-on experience and training. Be prepared to complete between 1,500-2,000 hours of training and then 1-2 years of supervised professional experience.

4. Obtain a License

Finally, you will be eligible to receive your license to practice. The requirements vary by state. Once you successfully complete the educational requirements, you will be required to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

After you have obtained your license, you will have to consider:

  • Finding a Psychologist Position

This could come from a place you observed or completed your training at. Try to find entry-level positions within the industries you want to be a part of.

  • Maintaining Your Certification

Many positions will require you to receive certification and then maintain it. This could be by continuing education and paying a renewal fee or reaching a certain amount of hours of additional training. One perk of receiving certification is the ability to set higher rates and increase your salary.

In order to become a psychologist, you will need to go through substantial training and education. This can be a very difficult, but rewarding career path for most people. Like with any career, make sure this is where you want to focus your time and resources. There are many options when it comes to mental health professionals (psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, etc). If being a psychologist still sounds like the plan for you, then congratulations! You now have all of the information you need to plan your future career path; there’s no better time to get started.

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