A psychologist is one who depends on psychotherapy and behavioural interventions to treat mental disorders. They work hand in hand with a psychiatrist to help a patient become better.
So what does it take to become a psychologist and how long does it take? These are the questions which brought you here, but if you stay with us, at the end you would have a good picture of what lies ahead of your ambition.
Here are the steps to becoming a psychologist. Note that you can get off at any step of the way, depending on what you want. There are diverse career options aside being a clinical psychologist.
First step: You need a bachelor's degree in psychology, which takes about four to five years. However, length of study differs, depending on the specialization, such as industrial psychology, industrial organizational psychology, and business psychology, amongst other specializations.
A bachelor’s degree will equip you with knowledge about human learning, emotions, and behavioural patterns. This degree will earn you employment in nonprofit organizations, government, social services, etc.
Second step: After a bachelor's degree, you can also proceed for a master's degree in psychology. This often takes up two to three years to complete. Here, you are exposed to a wider scope of the field of psychology. This also prepares you for a doctorate program or for positions in government, mental health care, human services and even advertising.
Third step: This is where you enroll for a doctorate program, if your goal is to be licensed as a clinical psychologist. You can either opt for a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). While the former is more clinical oriented, the latter is research oriented. What you choose to do, would depend on your career goals. This takes between four to seven years to complete.
The salary range makes up for all the years spent schooling, as people with these professional degrees command higher salaries than their counterparts who stopped at the bachelor's level or the master's level.
Final step: This is the final step, where you get licensed to practice psychology. Most countries require a minimum of a doctorate degree from an accredited private institution or a government chartered institution, to be licensed.
There are boards in every country, who are in charge for licensing, and they all have their different requirements. One common thing with licensing is that an internship for at least one to two years is needed, in addition to academic qualifications.
Want to pursue a career in psychology? This is the information you need. Whatever you choose to do, be sure it is in line with your career goals.