Some of the toughest decisions we ever have to make are those regarding careers choices.
Often times these decisions are made easier when we have a clear path put in front of us that explains what has to be done in order to start working in a particular career.
So if you’re interested in a career in psychology, outlined here are the three simple steps to becoming a psychologist.
Step 1 – Undergraduate Studies
The first step to becoming a psychologist is always an undergraduate degree.
For the majority of people this will be a degree that has psychology as the major, but there are various other subjects that you can also choose as your major that won’t prevent you from becoming a psychologist down the track.
If you are thinking of majoring in something other than psychology, it’s probably a good idea to talk to someone at a faculty level just to make sure that it’s not going to prevent you from becoming a psychologist as a result of not having met certain educational requirements.
Step 2 – Post Graduate Studies
After you’ve successfully completed your first degree, you start to get to some of the tougher choices you’re going to have to make which can potentially affect the sort of psychology career you have.
You’ll need to start thinking about what sort of job you want as a psychologist. For example do you see yourself treating patients as a clinical or counseling psychologist, or are you thinking that your interests lean more towards research and teaching?
For the majority of people that are thinking of becoming a psychologist, the PhD in psychology (a Doctorate level degree) is the obvious next step.
Traditionally this has been the most common study path for people looking at careers in psychology.
But in the past few decades this has changed slightly as the field of clinical psychology has grown.
There are now more people than ever that are treating patients, and spending next to no time in the research side of things.
This has led to the development of the PsyD in psychology.
This is also a doctorate level degree but the emphasis of the education is on the practical side of psychology as opposed to the research side of things.
Apart from this decision, you may also have to start thinking about whether or not you’d like to specialize in any specific field of psychology.
For example, maybe you’re interested in clinical or counseling psychology, but you would prefer to focus on a particular group such as school kids or athletes.
These interests can affect the kinds of subjects that you choose to study. It’s a good idea to think about these questions and then also discuss them with some of your teachers to get a better idea about what you need to be studying if you want to direct your career towards a specific type of psychology.
Step 3 – Certification.
Once you’ve completed the necessary educational requirements, you’ll then need to go through the process of applying for any certifications needed to work in your chosen field.
Certification is done at a state level, so you’ll need to get in touch with the relevant certification authority for your particular state and find out from them what you need to do before you can start work as a certified psychologist.
Becoming A Psychologist – Summary
So if you’re serious about becoming a psychologist there are three basic steps you need to take – education, more advanced education, and certification.
All the way through you should be consulting with people in the industry and at your university to make sure that you’re on track and doing everything necessary to launch your career in your chosen field.