Student Info & Guide

So You Wanna Be a Psychologist

by on August 28, 2014 | Top Stories, Career Guide

Psychologists study and conduct research on mental processes and behavior of human beings and apply this knowledge to increase understanding between individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, nations, and cultures. They do this by observing, interpreting, and recording how people and other animals relate to one another and the environment.

So You Wanna Be a Psychologist

There are many specialties within the field of psychology that a psychologist may choose to specialise in. Examples are: clinical psychologists, health psychologists, counselling psychologists,school psychologists,industrial-organisational psychologists,developmental psychologists, social psychologists,experimentalor research psychologists and forensic psychologists.

Job description

Psychologists formulate theories, or hypotheses, on individual behavior and analyse the effect of heredity, social, occupational and other factors on individual thought and behavior.

A lot of research work is involved, using techniques like observation, assessment, and experimentation. Psychologists have to gather information through controlled laboratory experiments, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy, or by administering personality, performance, aptitude, or intelligence tests. They also conduct interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies, surveys, and observation.

By studying psychological factors in the diagnosis, psychologists recommend treatment and prevention of mental illnesses and emotional or personality disorders.

Work environment

Psychologists' work environments vary by place of employment. Those working in clinics, schools or private practice frequently have their own offices and work standard hours. Those employed in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities may work shifts that include evenings and weekends.

Psychologists working at universities divide their time between teaching and research and also may have administrative responsibilities as well as part-time consulting practices.

Places of Employment

Psychologists may perform a variety of duties in a vast number of industries. For example, those working in health service fields may provide mental healthcare in hospitals, clinics, schools, or private settings. Psychologists employed in applied settings, such as business, industry, government, or non-profit organisations, may provide training, conduct research, design organizational systems, and act as advocates for psychology.

Job Entry Requirement

A doctoral degree, which takes about five years of full-time study, is usually required for independent practice as a psychologist. Psychologists with a PhD qualify for a wide range of teaching, research, clinical, and counseling positions.

At master's degree level, one may work as industrial-organisational psychologists or psychological assistants conducting research under the direct supervision of doctoral-level psychologists.

People with a bachelor's degree are qualified to assist psychologists and other professionals in community mental health centres. They may also work as administrative assistants for psychologists.

Education and Training Qualifications:

Find out where you can pursue a degree at bachelor, master's or doctoral level in psychology.

Career Advancement

By earning an advanced degree and by participation in continuing education, psychologists can improve their advancement opportunities.

There are a few bodies that recognise professional achievement by awarding specialty certification in certain areas. To obtain board certification in a specialty, candidates must meet general criteria which consist of having a doctorate in psychology, as well as pass the specialty board examination.

It is common for many psychologists to start their own private practice after gaining working experience.

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