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Are you an international student? Are you interested in learning more about Psychology? Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information you see online? If so, you need not search further because you will find the answer to that question in the article below.

To get more information on Psychology. You can also find up-to-date, related articles on Collegelearners.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychologists are actively involved in studying and understanding mental processes, brain functions, and behavior. The field of psychology is considered a “Hub Science” with strong connections to the medical sciences, social sciences, and education (Boyack, Klavans, & Borner, 2005).

At Ohio State, the Department of Psychology is organized into eight areas, working to investigate critical aspects of the brain and human behavior.

Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Factors influencing plasticity of brain and behavior through development and into adulthood
  • Hippocampal biology and function
  • Stress and the brain
  • Neurogenesis and brain plasticity across the life span
  • Sex-related differences in brain function
  • Endocrine and immune regulation of brain and behavior
  • The neurobiology of cognitive control

Clinical Psychology

  • The treatment of mood and personality disorders using cognitive behavioral therapies
  • Biobehavioral responses to cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Testing and dissemination of psychological treatments for cancer patients
  • Psychological and behavioral adaptation to chronic health problems
  • Effects of exercise on psychological and cognitive functioning
  • Neuroplasticity in healthy aging and neurological disorders
  • Mindfulness and cognitive functioning in older adults

Cognitive Psychology

  • Experimental, brain imaging, and model-based approaches to perception, memory, decision making, action, and language
  • Modeling decision processing in memory, perception, numeracy.
  • How our visual systems create our stable perception of the world
  • Neuroimaging (fMRI) studies examining how we value and choose things
  • The creation of biologically plausible network models of human cognition
  • How we control our attention in complex tasks
  • How the auditory system solves the challenges of understanding spoken language

Decision Science

  • How cognitive, affective, and social processes influence judgment and choice
  • How numeracy (numeric ability) affects real-world decisions
  • How the brain represents subjective values and beliefs
  • The role of attitudes in numeric judgment and choice
  • How to improve self-control
  • How information is interpreted and integrated in decision making
  • Modeling decision making in aging and cognitive decline

Developmental Psychology

  • Learning and developmental change in cognition, behavior, and the brain
  • Genetic and environmental influences on brain and behavior
  • Development of memory, categorization, and reasoning
  • Development of numerical cognition and mathematical thinking
  • How children learn language and use it to understand their world
  • How children grow beyond the superficial in their social and moral understanding How children grow beyond the superficial in their social and moral understanding

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

  • How to improve health and well-being in children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to best support family members of people with disabilities
  • How to impact the outcome and course of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to develop psychological instruments that measure core and associated features of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to treat behavior and emotional problems in children and adults who have intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders

Quantitative Psychology

  • Developing, evaluating and applying new quantitative methods for the analysis of psychological data
  • The application of statistical models to real world problems
  • Bayesean models of human cognition

Social Psychology

  • Automatic and deliberative attitudes: Influences on information processing, judgment, and behavior
  • Increasing women’s participation in STEM disciplines
  • How motivations in social interactions shape relationships, beliefs, well-being, and health
  • What motivates social behavior
  • Effects of the immune system and common anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Tylenol) on emotions, decisions, and social behavior
  • How similarity in brain activity across people underlies similarity in thoughts, attitudes and beliefs

How to Become a Psychologist

Americans suffer from many different kinds of depression, substance abuse, and other anxieties, phobias and mental health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of all U.S. adults have a mental illness in any given year, and 50 percent of us will develop one during our lifetime. Psychologists play a big role in helping people deal with these widespread problems.

Psychologists are non-medical doctors (as in PhD) who specialize in the study of the mind and human behavior. They help people overcome fears and anxiety, relate better to friends, family and colleagues, and generally lead better lives.

The field of psychology is vast, and once you finish your education and become a psychologist, your actual job duties will depend on your chosen specialty, theoretical orientation and the populations you choose to serve.

Psychologists practice in different ways. They do counseling or research, offer psychotherapy, conduct personality tests, and teach in colleges and universities. Clinical psychologists help people overcome problems that keep them from leading happy, more fulfilling lives, and improve the mental well being of their clients.

They may also practice forensic psychology and testify in court, help choose jurors, or determine competency to stand trial. The focus you choose is up to you.

What Are the Steps to Becoming a Psychologist?

To protect the public and make sure psychologists are highly trained professionals, all states require that you get a license to practice. Below are the steps for becoming a psychologist:

Steps To Becoming a Psychologist
  1. First, earn a bachelor’s degree: Psychologists often start by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Prerequisite courses include general psychology, experimental and developmental psychology, and statistics.
  2. It’s helpful to gain experience while you’re in school: If you’re interested in experimental psychology, help a professor with her research project. Work with handicapped children, if you’re interested in developmental psychology. Volunteer in a mental health clinic, if you’re interested in clinical or counseling psychology. If you get hands-on experience during your psychology degree, you may find it easier to find a job after school.
  3. Research graduate programs: Learn about the various programs to find the psychology master’s degree that’s best for you. The school you choose will depend on your interests and the specialties of the faculty at the schools you’re considering.
  4. Choose a degree and specialty: Which field is right for you, clinical psychology or counseling psychology? Research psychology or industrial-organizational psychology? Will you need a master’s degree, PsyD, PhD, EdD or EdS?
  5. Complete a doctorate in psychology: Most fields of psychology require a doctorate. Psychology graduate schools look for a competitive score on the GRE (1200 or more), a GPA of 3.3 or higher, and volunteer or paid experience in the field.
  6. Do a psychology internship: States normally require you to do a two-year supervised internship. This is a good idea for many reasons: you get on-the-job training, you learn whether a certain specialty is right for you, and you get the satisfaction of helping others. Internships in clinical and counseling psychology may need to be approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) because jobs in mental health sometimes require an APA-approved internship.
  7. Get licensed to practice psychology: All states require you to fulfill certain requirements before they’ll grant you a license. You must also pass a national exam and, in some cases, present a case study to a board of psychologists. Check your state’s requirements early.

Psychology Schools

online-psych-program

There are accredited psychology schools at the bachelor’s, masters and doctoral level in every state, and the one you choose depends on a lot of factors.

You may also choose a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program because of its faculty (psychology professors you want to study with and who can help you when you decide to do your master’s work or doctoral dissertation), or because of other considerations such as tuition and location.

There are also online psychology schools that can help you get the education you need. The school you choose is up to you, and it’ll depend on your needs, career goals, and many other factors.

Differences Between PhD, PsyD, EdS, and EdD Degrees

  • PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is the traditional psychology degree which places an equal emphasis on research and clinical training. PhDs in psychology are offered by traditional universities and are highly competitive.
  • PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) is a practical degree offered by professional schools of psychology, and it will emphasize clinical practice with only a minimum of emphasis on research. Entrance into PsyD programs is less competitive than for PhD programs, and if you want to help people with counseling or psychotherapy, this is the degree for you.
  • Many students pursue an EdD in psychology to increase their skills (and their pay) if they work in schools, while others use it to change careers and work as professors, in hospitals or in private practice.
  • The EdS is a unique degree, and is normally offered by university departments of education. It’s the only non-doctoral degree you can get that will let you practice psychology, and it leads to jobs in school psychology.

Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist

psychologist-vs-psychiatrist

Psychologists and psychiatrists are doctoral-level clinicians, but psychiatrists are medical doctors and only they can prescribe medications. These medications help their clients deal with depression and PTSD, overcome substance abuse, and more.

Commonly, patients will see psychiatrists to discuss how their medications are affecting them (and adjust dosage or change medications, if needed), while also attending therapy sessions with a counselor, therapist or psychologist.
Psychiatrists do most of their training in medical school and spend the last three years learning about mental health during a psychiatry residency.

If you choose to become a psychologist, you’ll spend your entire graduate education learning about mental health (typically 5-to-7 years), followed by a supervised internship.
Psychologists and psychiatrists both help people deal with emotional issues, but licensed clinical and counseling psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology, which requires 5-to-7 years of postgraduate work.

By point of comparison, most licensed therapists and counselors have a master’s degree, which requires 2-to-3 years of postgraduate work.

The Benefits of a Psychology Degree

start-career-psychologist

There are many good reasons to get a psychology degree. First of all, it’s required to practice psychology. It’s also one of the most popular undergraduate degrees in the country.

Not everyone who studies psychology ends up working as a psychologist, but a psychology degree can open up many doors and pave the way for any number of careers in companies and organizations across the U.S.

However, the main benefit of a psychology degree is that it will allow you to either do the kind of research you’re interested in or directly help people lead happier, more satisfying lives.

In your practice, you’ll learn new things every day, challenge your beliefs, and get to exercise your problem-solving skills to help others. What could be more rewarding than that?

How to Start Your Career in Psychology

To start a psychology career, you’ll need to get at least a master’s degree (for school psychology) or a doctorate to practice in other specialties.

To get licensed to practice psychology, you’ll need to earn the required degree, pass a state and/or national exam, and fulfill other licensing requirements.

But your practice of psychology really starts during your supervised internship. Internship requirements vary, but it generally takes two years to complete your supervised practice (about 3,500 hours), at least one year of which is done after receiving your doctorate. Working under a mentor takes some of the pressure off, and he or she can advise you when you have questions or work with hard-to-treat clients.

Once you’ve successfully finished your internship, you can apply for a license, and begin practicing on your own.

Different Types of Therapists and Counselors

clinical
  • Clinical Psychologists are trained in psychological theories and treatment methods.
  • Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors with a specialty in psychiatry. Their emphasis is on the biological causes of mental disorders, and they treat patients by prescribing medication.
  • School Psychologists are trained in psychology with an emphasis on education and child development.
  • Psychoanalysts delve into the unconscious mind and may have any number of theoretical orientations: cognitive, behaviorist, existential, and more. Psychoanalysis is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Licensed Social Workers help people gain access to the support they need, and they have supervised internship requirements similar to psychologists.
  • Marriage, Family, and Child Counselors study psychology, therapy, counseling or social work, and they help couples, families, and parents and children improve their relationships, find strategies to overcome problems, and work together for the good of the family.

Where Do Psychologists Work?

Once you’ve finished your psychology degree and done your internship, you’ll need to think about where you want to work. Psychologists work in many different environments, including the following:

  • Government agencies
  • Hospitals and clinics (including VA hospitals)
  • Management consulting firms
  • Marketing research firms and other businesses
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools and universities
  • Social service organizations

Approximately two-thirds of all psychologists are self-employed and maintain a private practice.

Psychologist Salaries

Psychologists make a good salary for the work they do.

But just how much can you make as a psychologist? This really depends on where you work (including in which city and industry) and the kind of psychology work you do. Below are median salaries for three top psychology specialties.

Psychology SpecialtyMedian Annual Salary
School Psychologist$79,820
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist$96,270
Clinical Psychologist$79,820

What Are the Four Types of Psychology?

There are many ways to classify the study of psychology, which is the study of human mind and behavior. One school of thought is that there are four major areas: 

  1. Clinical psychology
  2. Cognitive psychology
  3. Behavioral psychology
  4. Biopsychology

Clinical psychology 

Clinical psychology is a specialty that provides counseling services for mental and behavioral health care for individuals and families. Clinical psychologists evaluate, diagnose, and treat many different types of mental illness. Many practitioners are also involved in research and teaching. 

Clinical psychology applications can include: 

  • Adult counseling
  • Childhood counseling
  • School psychologists
  • Family therapy 
  • Neuropsychology

Clinical psychologists may have a general practice, or they may specialize in certain age groups such as children or the elderly, or certain mental health disorders such as eating disorders, chronic illness, depression, or phobias. 

Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology is the study of the mental processes related to perception, language, attention, thinking, memory, and consciousness. It can help people understand and overcome problem behaviors and ways of thinking. It can help people change distorted thought patterns and behaviors into functional ones. 

Cognitive psychology can be used to address wide range of problems such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Health-related problems
  • Academic performance
  • Relationship problems
  • Trauma
  • Stress management
  • Problems in daily living

Behavioral psychology

Behavioral psychology is based on the theory that all behaviors are derived from conditioning, that is, our habitual responses to our environments. It is an attempt to get at the root of why people think and act as they do. 

There are two main types of conditioning in behavioral psychology:

  • Classical conditioning 
    • A technique used in behavioral training in which a neutral stimulus is paired with a naturally occurring stimulus 
    • Eventually, the neutral stimulus triggers the same response as the naturally occurring stimulus, even without the presence of the natural stimulus 
      • Pavlov’s experiments with dogs are an example of this: a neutral stimulus (a lab assistant) is associated with an unconditioned stimulus (dog food) to trigger a response (salivating)
      • The neutral stimulus becomes the conditioned stimulus and the learned response is called a conditioned response
  • Operant conditioning (also called instrumental conditioning) 
    • Learning that occurs through reinforcements (rewards) and punishments
    • An association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior
    • If a desirable consequence follows a behavior (a reward) that behavior is more likely to occur again in the future
    • If an undesirable response (punishment) follows a behavior, behavior is less likely to occur again

Biopsychology

Biopsychology involves research on the brain, behavior, and evolution. It aims to explain human behavior from a biological standpoint.  Research is often focused on non-human mammals and may involve:

  • Sensory processes
  • Learning and memory
  • Motivation and excitement
  • Cognition

Biopsychology studies aspects of behavior including decision-making, reward processes, memory, emotion, motivation, attention, mating, reproduction, aggression, and affiliation. 

Top Psychology Careers

Students should research specialties within psychology careers before committing to a degree program. This can impact not only one’s course of study, but also their necessary terminal degrees and career options down the road. Many psychology students begin with a bachelor’s degree in general psychology and select specialties at the master’s level; others choose a more specialized program from the start. In either case, one can typically choose a more permanent track as graduate students. The following psychology career specializations demonstrate the range of options.

Biopsychologist

Biopsychology stands at the juncture of biology and psychology. Similar to neuroscientists, biopsychologists research the neural mechanisms of psychological processes in the central nervous system, but their scope of study can encompass subjects’ biology, physiology and physical environment. Undergraduate biopsychology curricula typically integrate psychology basics with more advanced courses covering topics like neuropsychiatric disorders and developmental psychobiology. Careers in this area include psychiatry, psychopharmaceutic testing and behavioral research.

Child & Adolescent Psychologist

Child and developmental psychologists deliver psychological services to infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents-patients whose needs change over time. Child psychology courses might cover topics like cognition, perception, and language; culture, ethnicity, and development; and emotion and stress from the youth perspective. Graduates can work in private practices, in hospitals, or for agencies. These professionals must be licensed to practice and may be certified by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists provide mental and behavioral health care to individuals and families. Career options are broad as professionals can work with many different types of patients or participate in research activities. Clinical psychology curricula topics might include psychopathology and psychopharmacology, mental health diagnosis and treatment, and intervention. Professionals generally hold a doctoral degree, state licensure, and certification through the APA or ABPP.

Cognitive Psychologist

Cognitive psychology takes a research-based, experimental-clinical approach to studying human learning and development and adapt theories of cognitive processing to promote meaningful change in negative thinking and behavior. Coursework includes special knowledge in applied behavioral analysis and therapies. Graduates will be prepared to treat patients with anxiety, personality disorders, depression, substance abuse and serious mental illness., or to engage in research. Licensure isn’t required unless one is working in a clinical role.

Counseling Psychologist

Counseling psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat patients with emotional, social, occupational, educational, and physical challenges that impact mental health. First, however, rising counseling psychologists must study development across all stages of life, environmental factors that contribute to psychological well-being, and the role career, education and domestic stresses play in our lives. Counseling psychologists often work in private practices or public health organizations. Licensing is essential.

Developmental Psychologist

According to the American Psychological Association, developmental psychologists study human psychological development across the lifespan. While developmental psychologists were once akin to child psychologists, today’s professionals also study aging, especially as our life expectancy increases. Coursework focuses on age-specific development among children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Developmental psychologists must typically hold doctoral degrees and state licensure to work in direct patient care.

Educational Psychologist

Educational psychologists study and assess human learning, cognitive abilities and motivations with a particular focus on social and cultural differences in the classroom. An educational psychologist may work with children with dyslexia or social anxiety, or with those facing challenges at home. Educational psychologists work in schools or research facilities like universities. Licensure is required.

Engineering Psychologist

Engineering psychologists are an excellent example of highly-specialized mental health professionals with highly-specialized training. Professionals focus primarily on the relationship between humans and machines to improve technological efficiency and safety. One example of this from the APA is studying how to design computers to combat eye strain.

Environmental Psychologist

Environmental psychologists study the impact one’s environment may have on their thinking and behavior. The environment in which a person works can affect them both positively and adversely, for instance. The field of environmental psychology broad and may deal extensively with subconscious feelings and the philosophical basis of evaluation. Only environmental scientists working in research or the academia must earn doctoral degrees, otherwise master’s degree are sufficient.

Evolutionary Psychologist

Evolutionary psychologists are concerned with evolutionary processes and how they affect human thought, feeling and behavior. Topics like mutation, selective fitness, survival and adaptation are of great interest. For example, how did our psychology adapt to solve survival and reproductive problems faced many years ago? Because evolutionary psychologists tend to work in research or teach at universities, a doctoral degree is often required.

Experimental Psychologist

Experimental psychologists are research-oriented professionals: they collect data through observation and seek to understand cognitive processes, learning and conditioning in humans and animals. Academics and researchers usually hold PhDs. Experimental psychologists working in other environments, like zoos or businesses, may get by with master’s degrees.

Family Psychologist

As their title suggests, family psychologists study familial systems theory and human behavior. They focus on the psychological health of individuals within the family context, and of that context within the larger social structure. Topics for coursework might include developmental psychology, personality theory, group dynamics or communication theories. Marriage and Family Therapy professionals must hold master’s or doctoral degrees to practice. Family psychology degree programs combine coursework in family counseling with practical experience through internships. Many family psychologists work in private practice, hospitals, and advocacy or policy groups.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology is an ideal specialization for students interested in the relationship between human psychology and crime. In practice, forensic psychologists might study human behavior as it relates to the law and provide expert testimony in cases dealing with child custody or a defendant’s mental health status, or relating to witness and jury behavior. A good understanding of courts and the legal system is paramount, as is the ability to understand family systems and mental illness. Doctorates are a must.

Geropsychologist

A division of gerontology, geropsychologists study and assess the health and safety of people who are older and aging. Specialized knowledge for this field includes adult development, family care models, and mood and cognition. A geropsychologist deals with specifics like dementia and its associated life changes, grief and loss, and chronic illness management. Geropsychologists may work in hospitals, care facilities, policy-making, or advocacy groups. A doctoral degree is required.

Health Psychologist

Health psychologists strive to understand how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and wellness. Specialists may study how people react to illness, and devise plans in conjunction with other healthcare professionals to improve recovery times. Health psychologists work in hospitals or private practice, and in advocacy settings to help with high-risk behaviors like substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and poor health habits. A clinical doctoral PhD or PsyD is likely required.

Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

These specialists, also called I/O psychologists, work to improve the quality of life in the workplace to increase employee and management productivity, efficiency and motivation. In other words, they apply psychological principles to business and organizations to develop and maintain a healthy work structure. This subsection of psychology doesn’t require a doctoral degree unless one is interested in research, teaching and academia. I/O psychologists often work for companies as management consultants or human resource officers. A master’s degree is typically sufficient outside of research settings.

Neuropsychologist & Behavioral Neuropsychologist

Often compared with biopsychologists, these specialists examine how the brain influences behavior. They study memory, perception, and behavior, as well as the effect of injury to the brain. Some neuropsychologists are also clinical psychologists who work with patients and determine their long-term care. Specialists work in research and development, in hospitals, and at universities. Doctoral degrees required.

Psychoanalyst

Psychoanalysts work to create structural change in human personalities and behavioral modifications. The field can include dream analysis, awareness of the subconscious and poor patterns of emotion and behavior; and free association. Psychoanalysts complete years of postdoctoral study to practice, and accrue several more years of work experience to become sole practitioners.

Quantitative & Measurement Psychologist

Quantitative psychologists work to improve the methods by which psychologists analyze and collect data. They might design experiments and assess programs and treatments within the field. Key understandings among these experts include the empirical method, research strategies, and data analysis. Because of the research involved in quantitative psychology, doctoral degrees are required.

Rehabilitation Psychologist

Rehabilitation psychologists work directly to improve the lives of people affected by disability, retardation, or severe physical or emotional injury. Rehabilitation psychology coursework addresses human development, coping skills and communication. Rehabilitation psychologists work in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, as well as in policy-making to advocate for their patients’ care. Doctoral degrees and state licensure are a must.

School Psychologist

School psychologists work to psychological practices in schools to address family issues, learning disabilities or emotional problems among students. Many school districts across the country employ full-time school psychologists at each institution, though others might employ one for the whole district. These experts must understand child and adolescent development, family structures, and behavioral and mental disorder. A doctoral degree and state license are required.

Psychology as a Career: How to study, specialisations, jobs and future scope

Psychology, psychology as a career, psychology jobs, scope of psychology, why study psychology

Psychology is a vital field now because of the increasing focus on mental health and wellbeing. If you want to take up psychology as a career, check out how you can study it, various specialisations, and the job opportunities and scope in this field.

Psychology, as a discipline, studies human behavior and mental processes from diverse perspectives. It employs scientific methods to understand human perception, learning, emotions and reactions to situations

Psychology is an interdisciplinary discipline since it shares its boundaries with several other disciplines like social sciences, life sciences and artificial intelligence. Needless to say, the scopes of psychology, as a career, are huge.

A psychologist has a future in diverse fields, including Clinical Psychology, Industrial Psychology and Organization Behavior, School Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Sports Psychology, Rehabilitation, Cognitive Neuroscience and many more. Moreover, teaching and research in all these assorted fields assure a promising future for the students of psychology.

How to become a psychologist

  • 10+2 level with or without Psychology as one of the subjects
  • Graduation degree in Psychology Honours
  • Post Graduation degree in Psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology/industrial psychology and organizational behavior/school or education psychology/health psychology/cognitive psychology/social psychology/experimental psychology
  • Optional PG Diploma courses in specialized areas of psychology
  • Optional M.Phil degree in Clinical Psychology
  • Doctorate degree in a specialized area of Psychology

Specialized areas in Psychology

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Industrial Psychology and Organization Behavior
  • Sports Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Educational Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Defence Psychology
  • Psychometry
  • Positive Psychology
  • Environmental Psychology

Why study Psychology?

1. Psychology as an interdisciplinary science: Psychology is the shining star discipline that shares its boundary with almost all possible disciplines. Hence, the application of psychological principles is also diverse and constitutes different interdisciplinary emerging fields.

2. Psychology allows both quantitative and qualitative approaches to study behaviour: Human behavior can be studied through quantified measurements as well as through qualitative methods involving subjective interpretations. Thus, students from the diverse backgrounds can opt for a career in psychology.

3. Increasing mental health concerns: In the last couple of decades, awareness of the general mass about mental health has quadrupled, owing to the increasing complexities of our lifestyle.

People, in today’s world, understand and acknowledge the need to understand human behavior in every aspect of life. Needless to say, every organization is in a dire need of a psychologist!

4. Highly paid jobs: A consultant psychologist with expertise in a specialized area is in high demand in most organizations. Such jobs are mostly high salaried and respectful.

Scopes and job opportunities in diverse areas of psychology

  • Clinical Psychology/ Rehabilitation and Counselling Psychology: Work as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Government and private hospitals, NGOs, private clinics, freelancers.
  • Industrial Psychology & Organization Behavior: Work as I/O Psychologist, Consultant at organizations, Selection and recruitment.
  • Forensic Psychology: Work as a consultant in police departments, crime branches, Defense/army, Legal firms, Investigation Bureau etc.
  • School Psychology: Work as a School Psychologist at public and private schools, universities, mental health centres, community-based treatment centres, residential clinics and hospitals, juvenile justice programs, and in private clinics.
  • Sports Psychology: Work as Sports Psychologist for school/college/university sports teams, professional teams, Sports Rehabilitation Specialist, Sports Research Specialist and Consultants
  • Psychometry: Work as a Professional Test Developer and Psychometrician for Government and Private organizations, Consultant and Researcher.

Psychology is central to understand how society works. The day is not far off when every single field of study will incorporate psychology and every organization will mandatorily need a psychologist.

Thus, 21st century will undoubtedly, witness an upsurge in job prospects and greater scopes in the field of psychology. The future awaits such great heights a career in psychology can bring.

Here’s How Much Money Psychologists Make In Every State

  1. California average psychologist salary: $108,350
  2. Oregon average psychologist salary: $103,870
  3. New Jersey average psychologist salary: $98,470
  4. Hawaii average psychologist salary: $94,550
  5. New York average psychologist salary: $94,140
  6. Alaska average psychologist salary: $91,450
  7. Connecticut average psychologist salary: $90,870
  8. Georgia average psychologist salary: $89,190
  9. North Dakota average psychologist salary: $87,090
  10. Louisiana average psychologist salary: $86,630

California has a very high median household income compared to the U.S. overall, so seeing that state pay psychologists the most isn’t surprising. What is surprising is seeing a state like Louisiana among the top-10 states for psychologist salaries because, with most other occupations, Louisiana tends to rank toward the bottom. The average psychologist salary in Oregon grew a robust 48% in the last five years, from $71,910 in 2013 to $103,870 in 2018.

10 States Where Psychologists Earn the Least Money

The bottom-10 states where psychologists make the least money are geographically mixed, though patterns are apparent. The U.S. South, Upper Midwest and Mountain division of the West comprise the list of the states where psychologist salaries are the lowest. In the worst-paying state for psychologists, West Virginia, the average psychologist salary is over $26,00 less than the U.S. average salary. Here’s a look at the 10 worst states for psychologist’s salaries

  1. West Virginia average psychologist salary: $59,200
  2. Oklahoma average psychologist salary: $60,760
  3. South Carolina average psychologist salary: $63,050
  4. Montana average psychologist salary: $63,720
  5. Idaho average psychologist salary: $64,270
  6. Kentucky average psychologist salary: $64,330
  7. Kansas average psychologist salary: $65,320
  8. Arizona average psychologist salary: $66,040
  9. Nebraska average psychologist salary: $66,510
  10. Mississippi average psychologist salary: $67,570

Growth rates in psychologist salaries are middling to below-average in these 10 states. South Carolina, for instance, has experienced healthy growth of 20.8%, with psychologist salaries increasing from $52,190 in 2013 to $63,050 in 2018. In Idaho, on the other hand, salaries have outright fallen by 1.2%.

How Much Do Psychologists Make in Each State

Below you’ll find the average annual wage for psychologists in all 50 states from 2013 to 2018. Oregon has experienced the largest growth (48%) in its average psychologist salary, followed by North Dakota (40.8%), Alaska (40.2%), Georgia (37.2%) and California (34.7%).

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist?

When considering a career in psychology, you will likely wonder how much time it will take to become licensed and what type of degrees you’ll need to attain. The answer is not always so cut-and-dry. The amount of time it takes to complete your college education depends largely on your specialty area and career interests.

In most cases, becoming a licensed psychologist can take as little as eight years or as long as 12 years.

If you are considering a career in psychology, it is important to be aware of all of the educational and training requirements it takes to become a licensed psychologist. Take the time to research all of your options and carefully examine your goals before you decide if this is the right career for you.

Educational Requirements

At a minimum, you will want to earn your undergraduate degree in psychology or in a related field such as sociology, education, anthropology, or social work. Then, you will want to decide if you want to earn a doctorate-level degree.

The reason you should make a decision at this point is due to the fact that many programs do not offer a terminal master’s degree in psychology. In such cases, you will enroll in a graduate program after earning your bachelor’s degree and then spend four to seven years working on your doctorate.

To become a clinical psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree (four to five years of college) plus a doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school). For this specialty area, most people will spend between eight to 12 years in higher education.

Of course, there are other career options in psychology that do not require as many years of college. For example, you could become a licensed marriage and family therapist with a master’s degree, which would require two to three years of graduate study.

If you decide not to pursue a doctorate at this point, you should start looking at different master’s degree programs in psychology or in related fields such as counseling or social work.

Bachelor’s Degree

You might want to begin by earning your undergraduate degree in psychology, but some people choose to pursue a degree in a related social science field. While it depends upon the requirements of the individual graduate school you attend, some programs also accept students who have undergraduate degrees in a subject unrelated to psychology or social science.

If you have a degree in a different field and want to become a psychologist, you may need to complete a number of prerequisites before you would be accepted into a graduate program.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree can be a great way to delve deeper into a specific field of interest. However, a master’s degree is not always necessary. If you are interested in what is known as a terminal master’s degree in a field such as counseling, social work, or school psychology, you can often enter the workforce immediately after earning your degree.

In other cases, you might use your master’s degree as a stepping stone toward a doctorate, or you might choose to forgo a master’s program and go directly into a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program immediately after earning your bachelor’s degree. The path you take depends largely on your career goals as well as the graduate offerings at the school you choose to attend.

Doctorate Degree

The length of your doctoral program depends on many factors, including the specialty area you are pursuing as well as whether or not you already earned a master’s degree. In order to become a licensed psychologist, you will need to earn either a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology).

As with your master’s degree, the doctorate degree you pursue really depends on your career goals. If you are interested in a career in research, a Ph.D. might be the best choice. Ph.D. programs place greater emphasis on research, experimental methods, and training graduates to work as scientists.

If you are more interested in starting a private therapy practice, consider a Psy.D. The Psy.D. option tends to be more centered on professional practice and clinical work, preparing graduates to enter careers in mental health.1

The American Psychological Association recommends that you enroll in an accredited program. Accreditation provides public notification that an institution or program meets certain standards of quality.2

In addition to your doctorate, you will be required to complete a year-long postdoctoral training period before you can be fully licensed to practice in your state.3

Degree Requirements

Becoming a licensed psychologist working in the field of mental health is certainly not the only career option if you are interested in working in the field of psychology. Licensing requirements for psychologists vary by state and specialty. Careers in forensic or sports psychology, for example, have differing requirements.

Please note that these represent the minimum educational requirements in these fields. Job opportunities and pay are generally greater with advanced training. Learn about different degree options and requirements for various careers in psychology.

  • Social worker: Bachelor’s degree (four to five years of undergraduate school)
  • Licensed counselor: Master’s degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • Sports psychologist: Master’s degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • Industrial-organizational psychologist: Master’s degree (two to three years of graduate school)
  • School psychologist: Varies by state (generally two to three years of graduate school)
  • Forensic psychologist: Master’s degree (two to three years of graduate school, ideally with a doctorate degree)
  • Criminal psychologist: Master’s degree (two to three years of graduate school, ideally with a doctoral degree)
  • Clinical psychologist: Doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school)
  • Health psychologist: Doctorate degree (four to seven years of graduate school)
  • Social psychologist: Doctoral degree (five to seven years of graduate school)
  • Child psychologist: Doctoral degree (five to seven years of graduate school)

Career Options With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Common Career PathsThe majority of students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology go on to work in human or social services. Some typical jobs in this field of work are: career counselor, psychiatric technician, rehabilitation specialist, and case manager. These jobs all require skills which a bachelor’s degree in psychology provides, such as the ability to evaluate the needs of a client, to keep accurate and organized records, to express empathy and compassion, and to work towards the best interests of your client.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology provides training in a number of skills which can be applied to many occupations and disciplines. As you search for a job, it would be helpful to make a list of these skills which potential employers may find attractive. For example, throughout your schooling you have most likely done a good deal of academic writing and research. This skill would make you a viable candidate for many positions, such as business manager, library assistant, probation officer, and many others. Take inventory of your strengths, and consider how they might be of value in a range of occupations.

Interestingly, about three quarters of students who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology do not pursue a graduate degree in psychology. In fact, only about a quarter of psychology undergraduates actually end up working in psychology, or a closely related field. Notwithstanding, psychology undergraduates can become some of the most successful professionals.

The following are just a few of the common career paths for individuals who complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

  • Advertising Agents
    Advertising careers often involve developing persuasive advertisements and researching a target audience to create product messaging. Psychology graduates are a good fit for just about any advertising career as the science of persuasion and research are major topics of this undergraduate major.
  • Career Counselor
    A career counselor your goal is to help career oriented students and job seekers discover their potential. Working as a career counselor you’ll assist people perform self assessments, find careers, make career changes or in vocational rehabilitiation. Not only is being a career counselor fulfilling, psychology graduates are uniquely qualified to help individuals in the career discovery process – since some much of career discoverly involves self discovery.
  • Case Manager
    Case managers, also referred to as social and human service assistants, provide advice and counseling to people in difficult situations. They help develop treatment and recovery plans, identify service providers, monitor client progress, and coordinate with other health and human service providers. Not only should case managers have a compassionate heart, they need to be critical thinkers and understand human nature and behavior. Individuals who complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology are well qualified to excel as case managers.
  • Child Care Worker
    Earning a degree in psychology allows graduates to work directly in psychology by becoming a partial care worker in a mental health setting such as child care. Childcare workers work in daycare, after-school programs and other child care settings.
  • Laboratory Assistant
    Pursuing a career as a laboratory assistant is a great way to put a bachelor’s degree in psychology to good use. Laboratory assistants are heavily involved in research and experimental psychology, two subjects covered in my undergraduate psychology programs. Psychology lab assistants often work in government agencies, university psychology programs, and private sector business that studies human behavior.
  • Market Researcher
    Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology is great preparation for a career as a market reseacher. Psychology students are well versed in statistical analysis and scientific methodologies – useful skills when it comes to performing research tasks including collecting and analyzing data, conducting interviews and performing opinion polls.
  • Psychiatric Technician
    While an undergraduate degree in psychology does not qualify graduates for a career as a psychologist, it does prepare them to work in the field of mental health and human services. A few job positions available to undergraduate psychology majors include mental health technician, social work assistant and psychiatric technician.
  • Probation and Parole Officer
    Psychology majors are also well qualified to pursue careers in criminal justice. In fact, psychology graduates are well suited for careers as probation and parole officers. Probation and parole officers supervise and work with individuals convicted of crimes. They monitor convicts, track behaviors, coordinate with other professionals or therapists, and make recommendations to the courts.
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
    Rehabilitation specialists assist people struggling with physical and mental disabilities reintegrate into society, become self sufficient and live on their own. While this position often requires a master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is also adequate preparation for this career.
  • Sales Representative
    Not surprisingly, many psychology undergrads find successful careers in sales. A bachelor’s degree in psychology helps students acquire a variety of interpersonal communication skills that uniquely qualify them for both sales and marketing positions. Prospective employers like the fact that many psychology graduates are well spoken and are able to communicate effectively. They also have a good understanding of human behavior, which is an essential quality of top sales representatives.
  • Social Service Specialists
    Social service is a hot spot for psychology graduates seeking career opportunities. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in psychology can find jobs in various social service sectors including non-profit organizations and government agencies. Those who pursue a career in social service provide community support, direct client counseling and various case management services.
  • Teachers
    Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a teaching certificate is a great combination for becoming a teacher. Psychology undergraduates can find jobs teaching at elementary schools, middle schools or high schools. They may teach various subject matters, including psychology.
  • Writer
    Completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology typically requires a lot of writing. In fact, psychology is one of the most writing intensive majors next to English. Psychology graduates are well prepared for a number of writing careers including technical writer, newspaper reporter, and advertising copywriters.

Psychology is a Versatile Bachelor’s DegreeThere is a common misconception floating around in our collective consciousness. It states that a bachelor’s degree in psychology by itself is practically useless; a bachelor’s degree in psychology is only useful as a prerequisite for a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology. This simply isn’t true. It is correct that a bachelor’s degree in psychology can be a great stepping stone toward a graduate degree, but it can be applied to several other career paths than psychology. In fact, it’s estimated that 40% of psychology majors go on to study at law school or business school. However, a bachelor’s degree in psychology can certainly carry some value of its own.

Bachelor’s degrees in psychology are versatile. They can be applied to a large number of disciplines, and students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology go on to work in a variety of professions. The most common occupations which employ individuals with these particular degrees include: upper- and middle-management/administration, sales, social work, labor-relations, real estate, insurance, and marketing.

Optimizing Your Degree’s PotentialUndergraduate psychology degrees can certainly be useful in unrelated fields, but if you hope to become a licensed psychologist, you’ll need to pursue a graduate degree in psychology (a Ph.D or Psy.D). As far as undergraduate degrees go, psychology is one of the most commonly pursued options at colleges and universities worldwide, which is why job opportunities for those with only a bachelor’s degree are more limited within the field of psychology. In fact, less than 25% of those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find jobs related to their major.

Despite this competitive job market, there are ways to optimize your degree’s potential, as well as your own employability. As you work your way through your degree, consider which classes will provide useful skills which you can use to market yourself to employers. Any classes which strengthen your understanding of human behavior and decision-making, your writing and communication skills, and your organizational skills will be of particular value further down the road.

The Major Goals of Psychology

One of the first goals of psychology is simply to describe behavior. Through describing the behavior of humans and other animals, we are better able to understand it and gain a better perspective on what is considered normal and abnormal.

Psychology researchers utilize a range of research methods to help describe behavior including naturalistic observation, case studies, correlational studies, surveys, and self-report inventories.

Researchers might start by observing human behavior and then describing a problem. By understanding what is happening, psychologists can then work on learning more about why the behavior happens and even how to change it.

Imagine that researchers want to learn more about consumer behavior. They might use market research surveys, direct observation, and other data collection methods to gather information on what people are doing when they shop. This gives researchers greater insight into what is really happening in a particular population.

Explain

Some theories focus on just a small aspect of human behavior (known as mini-theories) while others serve as all-encompassing theories designed to explain all of human psychology (known as grand theories)

In the previous example, researchers collected data to understand what consumers are purchasing. Psychologists would then conduct research to understand why consumers purchase certain items. certain things are happening. They might ask questions about why people purchase certain items or what factors motivate them to make certain purchases.

Predict

Not surprisingly, another primary goal of psychology is to make predictions about how we think and act. Once we understand more about what happens and why it happens, we can use that information to make predictions about when, why, and how it might happen again in the future

Successfully predicting behavior is also one of the best ways to know if we understand the underlying causes of our actions.

Prediction also allows psychologists to make guesses about human behavior without necessarily understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomena.

For example, if researchers notice that scores on a particular aptitude test predict high school dropout rates, they can use that information to estimate how many students might drop out of school each year.

In the previous example looking at consumer behavior, psychologists would use the information they collected to try to predict what consumers will purchase next. Businesses and marketers often employ consumer psychologists to make such predictions so that they can create products that will appeal to buyers.

Change

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, psychology strives to change, influence, or control behavior to make constructive and lasting changes in people’s lives.

In our previous example, researchers might take what they know about the link between scores on an aptitude test and dropout rates and use the information to develop programs designed to help students stay in school.

From treating mental illness to enhancing human well-being, changing human behavior is a huge focus of psychology.

Marketers and businesses often use the understanding gained from psychological research to try to influence and persuade buyers to behave in certain ways. For example, they might design advertising campaigns designed to make a message appeal to a target audience. By tailoring their messaging to specifically appeal to a certain type of buyer, those individuals are often more likely to respond.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Psychologist

The Advantages1. The reward of helping people overcome their challenges.
One of the top reasons psychologists cite that they enjoy their careers is that they’re able to help other people improve the quality of their lives. Many people throughout the world struggle with disabling mental disorders and disabilities. Pyschologists help these individuals learn to cope with their disorders and disabilities and overcome mental and emotional challenges. While being a psychologist can be stressful it times, it’s also a very gratifying and fulfilling occupation.

2. Flexible work schedules.
While many psychologists pull long hours, once you’ve established your own practice your schedule becomes very flexible. You’re able to set your own hours, come and go when you want and have ample vacation time. Most psychologists report one of the aspects of their job they enjoy the most is the ability to spend time with their family and friends. Even though psychologists working in hospitals and clinics don’t have a much flexibility in their work schedule, they still report having a lot of control over their schedules and plenty of time to dedicate to their family and personal activites.

3. High earning potential.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average psychologists working full-time earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. Those who work part-time obviously earn less but they still earn a respectable amount. Psychologists who are able to run a successful private practice can earn up to $200,000 a year and psychiatrists (a field closely related to psychology) average between $150,000 and $200,000 a year. Of course, money alone shouldn’t be your motivation for becoming a psychologist but earning a descent living is an attractive benefit.

4. Ability to work for yourself.
Becoming a psychologist is a great career choice for those with an entreprenuerial spirit. Many psychologists go on to establish their own private therapy practices once they get a little experience under their belt and have proven themselves as competent professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 35 percent of psychologists are self-employed – many of these owning and running their own practices. While being self-employed isn’t for everyone, it give you complete control over your time and your earning potential.

5. Opportunity to work with new people every day.
As a psychologist you’ll work with clients from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds. You’ll help a large variety of people overcome mental and emotion obstacles. And while you’ll face setbacks, the reward of help children, adults and couples achieve their full potential will outweigh any challenges you may face.

The DisadvantagesIt’s true, psychology can be a very satisfying and rewarding careers but no career is perfect – and psychology’s no exception. The following are a few potential disadvantages that anyone thinking about a career in psychology should thoughtfully consider.

1. Dealing with clients can be stressful and draining.
The biggest reward of being a psychologist is often the biggest challenge of being a psychologist – helping people overcome and deal with their mental and emotional struggles. The fact of the matter is, dealing other people’s problems on a daily basis is difficult. Most of us have a hard enough time wrapping our mind around our own problems, let alone everyone elses. Psychologists have to learn how to help their clients find effective and productive methods for dealing with their struggles without taking them on themselves. Successful psychologists must learn to separate their work life and personal life and practice effective stress management techniques

2. Not on is your schedules flexible, it can also be quite erractic.
One of the advantages of being a psychologist is that your schedule can be quite flexible, especially if you run your own practice. At the same time, psychologists are often on call and must deal with client issues that arrise at the most inconvenient times. It’s not uncommon for psychologists to meet in evenings with clients who work all day and can’t meet during normal business hours, or be called out of bed to help a client that’s facing a crisis situation.

3. Having to set up your own practice.
Over a third of psychologists are self employed. Many of these own and operate their own practices. Launching a psychology practice is a daunting task, and keeping it going is also challenging. In addition to finding an office, acquiring necessary equipment and finding clients, psychologists must also purchase malpractice insurance, deal with business taxes, set up a reliable document management system, and deal with never ending billing issues.

4. Dealing with billing issues.
All psychologists, regardless of whether they work as employee of an organization or run their own practice, have to deal with billing issues. These include processing and collecting payments from insurance companies, dealing with piles of paperwork, the unpleasant experience of sending clients who don’t pay their bills to collections, and various other billing issues. Dealing with insurance companies in and of itself can be a very trying process, especially if you have your own practice.

5. Constantly drumming up new business.
Many psychologist get into the business to practice psychology – not to become a sales professional. Notwithstandy, if you plan on being self-employed and owning your own practice you’ll need to get used to the idea of prospecting for new clients on an ongoing basis. Finding new clients requires time, money and resources and is key to having a successful practice. One of the most effective ways to find new clients is networking. Build relationships with other industry professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, etc.) and mental health providers that can refer clients to your practice. Conducting free seminars and support group meetings is also an effective method for building your clientele base. And last, but not least, take advantage of some good old fashion advertising in industry publications. While some psychologists really enjoy the business development aspect of operating a private practice, others would rather focus exclusively on therapy work.