Career Overview for
One motivating factor for being a psychologist is that over a
quarter of psychologists are self-employed, which is four times the
national average. Psychologists generally need a graduate level
degree to be successful.
Medical school is required for many psychologists who specialize in
clinical psychology or counseling, and a master's
degree is minimum
requirement for most educational facilities and
The work of psychologists is to examine
human mental processes and how they affect behavior. Many
psychologists are involved in research, where they explore the
intellectual, physiological, emotional, or social facets of human
conduct. Researchers hypothesize and then gather information;
either by experiments performed in a lab or by dispensing tests,
and then draw conclusions. Psychologists might also observe test
subjects, study physiological effects of mental stimulation, or
administer questionnaires and surveys as part of their research.
Other psychologists provide health services at hospitals, schools,
clinic, or private practices.
Psychologists not only collect data but find applications for it in
almost every field, e.g. business, government, management, employee
relations, law, and sports. Most psychologists have a firm grasp of
general principles but specialize in one particular field where
they help with training, counseling, or developing programs.
Education Level and
Being a psychologist
requires a quite a bit of schooling and an advanced degree.
Having a Bachelor's Degree in psychology will enable an applicant to
work as an assistant to other psychologists or other personnel at
community medical centers, behavior modification programs, or
programs for vocational rehabilitation. Some are employed in other
fields, like market research, as consultants or specialists. Others
might work as administrative assistants, help with research, or
train for managerial positions in corporations.
A Master's Degree will qualify individuals to work as
school psychologists or industrial-organizational psychologists.
They might also help with research or be an assistant of someone
with a doctorate. A master's degree in psychology takes two years
to complete, and generally includes some hands-on experience in a
professional setting and original research in the form of a written
thesis. Not all schools require an undergraduate psychology for
admission, but all are competitive and will require understanding
basic concepts in the social sciences and statistical
A PhD will qualify people
to be licensed as a clinical psychologist or counselor. It will
also qualify them to teach at a university, work at a research
group, be employed by the government, work at a medical facility,
or work as a school psychologist. The majority of PhD holders work
as clinical psychologists at private practices.
Earning a PhD generally requires five to
seven years of post-graduate work. It involves courses in research,
using computers for analysis, psychological theory, and practices.
Also, earning your degree involves either original research in the
form of a written dissertation or examinations. Many
degrees in clinical or
counseling psychology involve a practical internship as
The Industry Outlook
More schools, medical
facilities, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and
government organizations are demanding the skills of psychologists.
Consequently, employment is projected to increase
faster than the average for clinical, counseling, and school
psychologists while it increases at the average rate for
may be strongest for school psychologists. Demand is rising for
their services as more people recognize their effectiveness in
dealing with behavioral problems, maximizing learning, and
contributing to the mental health of students.
There are also many new opportunities for clinical psychologists
and counselors. New expenses in healthcare associated with harmful
habits like smoking and alcoholism are motivating people to seek
help from psychologists in avoidance and treatment. Other issues
like depression, divorce, abuse, stress, and eating disorders
provide opportunities for psychologists to help. Job growth in this
area is increasing further as more corporations and organizations
are implemented programs to provide counseling services for their
Industrial-Organizational psychologists have many opportunities to
help corporations become more efficient, increase productivity,
increase employee longevity, increase diversity, and avoid
discrimination. They will also help companies by providing
consultation on marketing techniques by developing surveys and
researching customer demands.
Compiled with information from