How to Become a Psychologist: Education, Licensure, and Careers

So you want to become a psychologist. There are many ways in which you can work in the psychology industry. You can treat both adults and children that experience different mental health issues while working in an office or through the world of online portals. Whatever your interests are, you can make it big as a psychologist. This career path will require a lot of time and dedication, but you can make it happen with the right tools. Here’s how you can become a psychologist.

Determine your career path in psychology.

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Firstly, you’ll want to determine your career path in the psychology field. As a psychologist, you can choose to do many things. For example, you can become a depression and anxiety therapist, where you’ll treat mood disorders and panic attacks. You can also become a counselor at a school or an independent company to help both children and adults overcome their academic and professional hurdles. You can go on to become a psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, clinical psychologist, or even an engineering psychologist. Each path expects a certain level of education which may require you to be in school for many years and even decades.

Find an accredited school.

Next, you’re going to want to find a school where you’ll earn your degree and training for your psychology career. You’ll want to choose an accredited school so its degree can be accepted in most parts of the world. Some accredited schools can be expensive, which is why the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) can be of great help in providing scholarships and guidance to students like yourself.

Although some skeptics might think of these scholarships as an NSHSS scam, real students with real academic experiences have corroborated that this is just not true. The NSHSS will help students who qualify get their education and even participate in leadership programs.

Earn a bachelor’s degree.

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Once you find an accredited school to earn your bachelor’s in psychology, you will want to go ahead and sign up for their curriculum. You’ll want to read up on the requirements of the degree such as the minimum of the semester or trimester hours you’ll need to finally earn the degree, the residence requirements, and the college’s academic standards. You may also want to research the actual courses given in the degree and ensure they support your career path.

Earn a postgraduate degree.

Depending on what your career plan is, you may have to earn postgraduate degrees. For instance, if you choose a career path in medicine, you’ll most likely have to earn a master’s or a doctor’s degree. These postgraduate degrees can be in subjects like forensic psychology, sports psychology, neuropsychology, or even plain psychology itself. A higher level of education will help open the doors towards higher-paying careers.

Do an internship.

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Once you’re earning you’re degree, you’re going to want to sign up for internships in whichever fields you deem fit for your career path. Internships are basically paying or non-paying jobs in which you can gain hands-on experience, which will be required by many companies. This will be helpful when looking for a job—a lot of organizations enjoy self-starting individuals who have worked without pay or for a lower wage because it shows that you are passionate about your career.

Get your psychology license.

Lastly, you will want to earn your psychology license so you can finally practice as a licensed psychologist. Keep in mind that a lot of states will require you to have a postgraduate degree in order to get licensed, be it a master’s or a doctor’s degree. Be sure to contact your state’s psychology board to inform yourself of the requirements you’ll need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology—also known as your license exam.

These steps will help you identify the right path for you in your psychologist career and help you explore your options in the field.