10 Things You Can Do With a Degree in Psychology
With a career in psychology, you will have a direct impact on the mental health of individuals, as well as their well-being. You are faced with numerous career options with rewarding goals. You could choose to work with children, adults, couples, individuals with mental disabilities, and so on. You could also choose to focus on research, teaching, and system designs.
How to Become a Psychologist
Becoming a psychologist is one dream you may be glad to accomplish. A psychologist helps people to manage difficulties posed by life as well as find better ways to cope with their mental health issues. As an individual interested in studying psychology, it is good you don’t stop at the bachelor’s level. Earning a doctoral degree in the course will avail you of better opportunities, though you can also work to acquire your license with a master’s degree in psychology.
At the end of your first degree as a psychologist, you are expected to complete an internship that takes you at least one year before you are qualified to be a psychologist. Additionally, you can apply for a master’s in psychology with your undergraduate degree. When this is done, you will be qualified to apply for your license. With the license and also the state’s statutory requirements for practice, you are qualified to give counseling and psychotherapy and also test and treat mental disorders. You should understand that you are not a medical doctor and have no license to prescribe medication. However, you can work alongside medical doctors who are in the right positions to prescribe treatments.
With the above, it could be said that there are four steps to becoming a psychologist and they include:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree: Actually, this could be in any field, though must be closely related to psychology.
- Earn a master’s and/or doctorate: Here, you could focus on any branch of psychology like child psychology, marriage and family therapy, or social work. After earning the degree, you can apply for your license. If you wish to go for your doctoral degree, there are three options available for you. You could go for a PsyD (a practical degree for would-be counselors), a Ph.D. (which is research-oriented), an EdD (Doctor of Education), or an EdS (an education specialist).
- Complete an internship or postdoctoral programme: This is obtained after you complete your master’s or doctoral programme. You can work alongside a licensed psychologist to gain more practical training in your preferred field of interest.
- Obtain a license in psychology: Each state has its own licensing requirements. You may have to contact your state board for more information. After meeting the state’s professional requirement, you will be required to pass the examination for professional practice and it is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
Choosing a Career Path in Psychology
There are broad varieties of career options in psychology. They differ in terms of degree required (e.g., EdD and PhD), the clientele to be served (e.g., marriage and family therapist), and the kind of work to be done (e.g., researcher or educationist). Your interest in a major field of psychology could be one of the guidelines in selecting your area of specialty. Below is the range of career options available to you:
- Clinical psychology
- Counseling psychology
- Developmental psychology
- Environmental psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Health psychology
- Rehabilitation psychology
- School psychology and
- Social psychology.
Non-Psychology Counselling Career Paths
There are quite a number of careers in counseling that do not involve a degree in psychology, though having a degree is very good. Here’s some of them:
- Career counselor: A career counselor helps people to attain their career goals. You will need a master’s degree in counseling. Acquiring an internship experience will also be of good help.
- Substance abuse counselor: This professional focuses on drug addicts to recover from addiction and also find their feet back to life. It requires a master’s degree in substance addiction and an internship experience.
- Marriage and family therapist: A marriage and family therapist focuses on couples, families, and individuals who are experiencing some interpersonal issues in their marriages or lives to help them resolve their issues, using some coping mechanisms to improve their general well-being. To obtain a license, the therapist requires a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.
- Social worker: A social worker is trained to provide social services to underprivileged communities. They also work in school settings, non-profits, and healthcare systems. A bachelor’s degree in a related field and a master’s degree in social work will be very helpful.
Where You can Work as a Psychologist
Places where psychologists can work are very numerous and some of them are enumerated below:
- Schools including universities and colleges, high schools and primary school
- Medical schools
- Hospitals and healthcare institutions
- Business or non-profits
- Government establishments, especially medical centres
- Independent practice
Salaries of Psychologists
The average salary of a psychologist as of May 2018, according to data obtained from the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) is approximately $79 000 per annum. The least paid is about $44 000 and the highest paid is above $129 000 per annum. Most of the best-paid psychologists work in government healthcare institutions and hospitals and ambulatory healthcare services.
The job of psychologists is expected to rise to 14% between 2018 and 2028. This is also in accordance with the data from BLS in May 2018.
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Career Path to Choose as a Psychologist
With a degree in psychology, you are sure to pursue a career in both arts and scientific fields. This is to say that many options are available in psychology, depending on your preference. The following options are available for you:
- Psychology in education: You may choose the path of teaching or just working in other departments at any level of institutions. You could also choose to work within the community to support learning among members. The prison may also need you to help young and juvenile offenders to get back on track. An additional teaching qualification may be needed for you to be grounded in this area.
- Research: You may find a job within research agencies, universities, or public or private institutions. If you are to become a professor, you may joggle between teaching and researching. In other sectors, you may contribute to the development or any particular issue of importance within the organization. Non-profits may need you to work as a charity where you could research issues like a speech impediment, brain damage, the impact of substance abuse, and other health-related issues.
- Human resource and communication: Understanding people and the ways they think is what psychology entails. Human resource and communication may be a connection to work with people in other fields. You are going to play roles that would ensure customer satisfaction, recruitment, training, development, internal communications, among the rest.
- Business and management: Psychologists who choose to pitch a career in business and management did not choose wrongly. However, this might require further training to fit into broader roles. Your job could be within business consultancy, advertisement, marketing, sales, or related roles. This would enable you to easily climb the ladder up the organization.
- Media and advertisement: This is not always easy for a psychology graduate. But it is possible. With insights into human behavior, problem-solving, and listening skills, you may be able to hone your career in this field. The roles you could play include management, production, scheduling, and writing. Obtaining a certification in any of these roles could give you an edge within the organization and beyond.
- Psychotherapist: A psychotherapist has broad roles to play within the field. He could work with children, adults, families, mentally challenged, and so on, to assist them in overcoming their challenges and devise better-coping strategies. Psychotherapists use several methods like cognitive behavioral methods, psychoanalytic, drama, experiential and psychodynamic therapies, and so on, in carrying out his job.
- Chartered psychologist: A chartered psychologist plays a highly specialized role and works with people from all angles. You are required to analyze the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions of your clients to stand at a better platform to understand and advise them better on some actions and issues relating to psychology. Here, you could specialize in occupational, educational, sports, or mental health psychology. The choice is fully yours.
- Career counselor: A career counselor helps students and job seekers to discover their strengths and possible career options. You will help them in performing self-assessment, find a new career, or make career changes. Most psychologists have the potential to help anyone to make better career choices.
- Case manager: They could also be called social and human service assistants. Case managers provide advice and counsel to people who find themselves in severe conditions. They assist in procuring treatment and also advise on suitable recovery plans. Also, they monitor the progress of their clients and coordinate their activities to ensure that they follow up on the treatment process. Critical thinking and empathy are very crucial skills to help in this field.
- Child care worker: You can become a worker in an organization that focuses on mental health like child care. This allows you to work with children with different health challenges in schools or any setting.
Psychologists help individuals to cope with life issues and career transitions, and also to support aging people. Counsellors are also needed in schools to help students with mental health. Making a choice in this field is one of the best decisions ever.