How to Become a Psychologist in Japan

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Team College Learners

To get all the important details you need on how to become a psychologist in japan, Psychology Degrees, masters in psychology in japan Please keep on reading this post from college learners. Always ensure you come back for all the latest information that you need with zero stress.

As the scientific study of the human mind and how it shapes behavior, psychology encompasses many areas of inquiry. A psychology degree offers applications for a variety of career paths. Most psychology positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, although an associate degree can lead to entry-level roles in psychiatric, social, and human services.

Psychology graduates can expect an overall 14% increase in employment between 2018-2028, with even higher job growth rates for clinical, counseling, school, and industrial-organizational psychologists. This page provides an overview of the types of psychology degrees and the minimum educational levels required for careers in child psychology, clinical psychology, sports psychology, and other in-demand fields.

The Japanese term for psychologist is the word “seishin shinri sha” which literally means a person who studies mind science or mental science. Although this term may seem rather esoteric, it is simply a particle-less combination of the characters for “mind” and “theory”. Today psychologists in Japan have become a highly recognized and respected member of society with countless numbers practicing as clinical or counseling psychologists and psychotherapists in private practice, hospitals and government agencies.

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psychology in japan

Psychology Degrees

Long considered one of the most fascinating social sciences, psychology ranks among the nation’s top college majors. Students may pursue psychology degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

While each type of degree emphasizes skills that translate into different career paths, employment opportunities in the field vary considerably by specialty and minimum educational qualifications. The highest paying and most specialized positions require clinical and research training, increasing the demand for master’s, Ph.D., and Psy.D. degree-holders.

Associate Degree in PsychologyAn associate degree in psychology, which generally takes two years of full-time study, offers a quick entry into the workforce compared to other degree paths. Graduates find employment in an array of beginning or supporting roles in the social and human services and mental health fields. For many students, the 60-credit associate degree serves as a stepping stone toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with more advanced career opportunities. While most associate degrees consist primarily of general education requirements that emphasize verbal and written communication, math, and analytical skills, the psychology offerings introduce students to the discipline, covering the major theories and topics such as cognition, personality, and developmental approaches.

Bachelor’s Degree in PsychologyA bachelor’s degree offers the best pathway to a variety of psychology careers. Graduates may take positions in social and community services, human resources, and rehabilitation services or pursue employment in non-psychological fields such as business, criminal justice, and education. A bachelor’s also provides the academic foundation for a graduate degree required to enter more advanced positions in the field. Most bachelor’s programs consist of 160 credits completed over four years.While courses vary by program, most psychology majors take courses in theory and research methods, addictions, and developmental psychology. Clinical experiences make up an essential part of the psychology curriculum, providing students with practical career-focused training.

Master’s Degree in PsychologyAlthough a master’s degree in psychology generally requires two years of study beyond the bachelor’s, the benefits outweigh the time commitment and financial costs. This degree provides the minimal educational qualification for counseling, administrative, and research positions in a variety of settings, including social and community services, education, and mental healthcare. Master degree-holders often continue their studies in doctoral programs usually to prepare for positions as licensed clinical psychologists or researchers. The typical curriculum offers core psychology courses and clinical experiences. Depending on the program, students may choose from several specializations that reflect their personal and professional interests, in areas such as child psychology, forensic psychology, and sport psychology.

Ph.D. Degree in PsychologyAll states require professional psychologists to hold a doctoral degree, either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. While clinical psychologists who have earned either degree may obtain state licenses to practice, a Ph.D. provides the appropriate kind of training for students interested in teaching at the postsecondary level and conducting scientific research. A Ph.D. program, which can take 5-8 years to finish, places more emphasis on statistics and research methodology than clinical applications. Like the Psy.D. degree, the curriculum typically includes a year-long internship, approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). The dissertation requirement may prolong the length of time needed to complete a Ph.D. degree.

Psy.D. Degree in PsychologyUnlike the research-oriented Ph.D. degree, Psy.D. programs focus on clinical applications, assessment strategies, and intervention techniques with less emphasis on qualitative and quantitative methods. The Psy.D. curriculum usually offers specializations in clinical practice areas such as family and couples therapy, school psychology, counseling, and gerontology, requiring an APA-approved internship relating to the area of practice. Best suited for students seeking to enter clinical practice and administrative roles rather than teaching or research, a Psy.D. provides a more pragmatic approach to psychology. While some programs may require a dissertation or capstone research project, the degree typically takes less time to complete than a Ph.D., with most students finishing all requirements in 4-6 years.

Studying the scientific mechanisms of the mind.

Psychology is scientific study for explaining the mechanisms of the human mind. As an example, when people in their daily lives feel down and experience symptoms such as a loss of appetite, if they go for a hike up a mountain they feel refreshed. Psychology involves thinking about the mutual effects the mind and body, and the individual and their environment have on one another. The resulting human mindset and behavior is then scientifically researched. Psychology is divided into many smaller fields according to the objectives and targets of research. There are many applications of psychology in the field, including social psychology (the research of social behavior of groups and members of those groups), clinical psychology (research for counseling and psychiatric treatment), and criminal psychology (the research of crime and the criminal mind). Research in collaboration with fields such as engineering and medicine has also progressed as new fields of study that aim to solve the new problems that are arising in our ever-changing society.

A Career in Teaching and Learning Psychology

how to become a psychologist in japan

Clinical Psychologist in Tokyo

How To Become a Clinical Psychologist in Japan

Many people inquire on how to become a clinical psychologist in Japan. The Meguro Counseling Center can provide the following information, however, please note that this information may be incomplete or change so that you would need to confirm the latest criteria on your own from the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists.

Career counseling is also available through the Meguro Counseling Center with fees requested similar to counseling sessions.

You need to be a Japan Certified Clinical Psychologist to work as a clinical psychologist and get malpractice insurance in Japan. There are two main routes to this certificate:

  • 1.) One route to this certification is to receive a Master’s degree from a clinical psychology program at a Japanese university. Naturally, you need to speak, read, and write fluent Japanese to get these degrees.
  • 2.) If you have a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from an overseas university it is still possible to take the Japan Clinical Psychology Certification test (in Japanese) after you have two-years of work in Japan as a counselor employed by a facility recognized by the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists (the Meguro Counseling Center does not have a plan to hire counselors). This also requires you speak, read, and write fluent Japanese to work in this setting. If you are a non-Japanese, you are likely to have a language issue and face significant resistance on the part of a Japanese facility to consider that a non-Japanese can function effectively as a member of their staff so that there is the conundrum on how to get started to do a job that provides malpractice insurance for which you need experience that you can not easily get.

While the route to become a clinical psychologist in Japan requires clear and intense dedication to one of the courses noted above, there are a few Western non-Japanese persons who have overcome these hurdles over the years. So while difficult, it is not impossible if you have adequate language skills and can find the correct set of circumstances in Japan.

Unfortunately, the Meguro Counseling Center can not reply to each individual inquiry on how to obtain the Clinical Psychology Certificate for Japan.

Psychology: Definitions, branches, history, and how to become one

Clinical Psychology: MA, Japan

Master’s Level Practitioners
The goal of the Clinical Psychology Master of Arts program in Japan is to develop master’s-level practitioners who are capable of applying psychological knowledge to their work in a wide variety of settings serving children and families in Japan. These settings may include private practice, mental health clinics, community mental health centers, inpatient mental health facilities, medical settings, educational settings, and workplace settings, among others.The goals of this program are to train students who have successful psychotherapeutic intervention skills with a special focus on children and their families; who are able to conduct appropriate and accurate assessments; and who are able to integrate and adapt western psychological interventions to appropriate Japanese cultural contexts.This program is an innovative training program that uses traditional face-to-face teaching methods, as well as online educational approaches, and, with a few exceptions, is taught primarily in Japanese. Admission requirements are written and oral fluency in Japanese; possession of a bachelor’s degree; written recommendations; a personal essay; a brief essay on topics chosen by the program; and an interview with the admissions committee. Classes are provided in Tokyo, in the U.S., and online by psychological professionals from both Japan and the United States. The program requires 48 semester credit units, which includes practicum experience as well as completion of a master’s thesis. The program administration is headquartered at the San Francisco campus with a satellite campus in Tokyo.Learning Outcomes1. Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of major theoretical approaches for evidence-based psychological intervention.
2. Recognize and utilize the appropriate sources of information necessary for evidence-based psychological intervention.
3. Formulate a case and devise integrated treatment plans that include a diagnostic formulation and specific intervention techniques.
4. Demonstrate skills in ethical reasoning, and follow professional ethical standards when providing psychological services.
5. Demonstrate professional attitude pertaining to professional ethics, self-awareness, openness, and responsiveness to critical feedback.
6. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of multicultural/diversity implications in developing a case formulation and appropriate intervention plans.
CourseworkA total of 48 semester units are required for the degree of Master of Arts for this Clinical Psychology program. Curriculum requirements are subject to change. More information about specific course requirements can be obtained by visiting the Japan program website at

First Year

  • PSY 6115 – Developmental Psychology (3 units)
  • PSY 6005 – Research Methodologies and Statistics (3 units)
  • PSY 6203 – Psychopathology (1.5 units)
  • PSY 6204 – Psychopathology (1.5 units)
  • PSY 6141 – Clinical Psychology Foundation (2 units)
  • PSY 6142 – Clinical Psychology Foundation (2 units)
  • PSY 6557 – Professional Development and Group Approaches (First Year) (0.5 units)
  • PSY 6558 – Professional Development and Group Approaches (First Year) (0.5 units)
  • PSY 7539 – Family and Couples Psychotherapy (3 units)

Second Year

  • PSY 6527 – Personality Theories (3 units)
  • PSY 6221 – Professional Ethics (2 units)
  • PSY 6214 – Clinical Interviewing (2 units)
  • PSY 6213 – Clinical Interviewing (2 units)
  • PSY 6581 – Clinical Assessment (2 units)
  • PSY 6582 – Clinical Assessment (2 units)
  • PSY 6516 – Psychotherapy Techniques – Child Emphasis (3 units)
  • PSY 7557 – Professional Development and Group Approaches (Second Year) (0.5 unit)
  • PSY 7558 – Professional Development and Group Approaches (Second Year) (0.5 unit)

masters in psychology in japan

Master’s Program in Psychology

Department Website (Japanese Only)

We offer two courses for MA degree in Psychology: General Psychology Course and Clinical Psychology Course. The General Psychology Course consists of the three tracks, perceptual and cognitive psychology, educational and developmental psychology, and social psychology. In the Clinical Psychology Course, we offer two tracks, the Clinical psychology, and Developmental Clinical Psychology. These two courses are accredited as one of primary level graduate programs by Japanese certification board for clinical psychologist and students complete this course is eligible to apply for the certification.

Some specific examples of careers that students graduated from this program might pursue include certified clinical psychologists of Japan, research associates in research laboratories, and government officials, in addition to going on to school of the doctoral program. We work closely with Kansei-Cognitive Brain Science Specialty, and Human Development Specialty. On completion, we offer a master’s degree in psychology.

Educational Policy

This program offers advanced education and training in a wide range of courses in psychology that are basic and practical. Students will acquire the skills in research methodology that may contribute to society in their career.
In the General Psychology course, it is emphasized on developing advanced skills in research methodology and prepares students to apply psychological principles to the analysis of various problems, and the implementation of intervention strategies for addressing these problems.
In the Clinical Psychology course, educations in this course prepares students to be a scientist-practitioner who integrates science and practice in everyday clinical work. The course is committed to training clinical psychologists with a broad range of research, clinical and professional skills.


  • [First Year]
  • Methodologies on Psychology
  • Lectures and Seminars related with General Psychology,
  • Lectures, Seminars, and Practices related with Clinical Psychology
  • [Second Year]
  • Basic Research on Psychology (Supervision on writing master thesis)
  • Presentation and Joint Supervision on Master Thesis (three times)
  • Special Research on Psychology (Lectures about the newest psychological research)

Type of degree

MA in Psychology

 The largest cities offering Bachelor programs in Psychology in Japan

Higher education statistics for the largest cities in Japan

CityUniversitiesAverage fees

That’s all there is to becoming a psychologist in Japan. As you can see, it’s not too complicated a process and it doesn’t require you to speak Japanese. You just need to obtain the right documents, study the culture and understand how everything works. To help guide you along the way, we’ve included everything you’ll need to know on becoming a psychologist in Japan below. Keep reading!

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