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How to Become a Psychologist - Steps to Become a Psychologist

Update on 13 Feb, 23

How to Become a Psychologist - Steps to Become a Psychologist

How to Become a Psychologist: Psychology is the scientific study of people's behavior, performance, and mental operations that includes the conscious and unconscious aspects as well as feelings and thought of the mind.

According to the American Psychological Association, “psychology is the research of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior". It embraces all aspects of the human experience, from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged.

To become a Psychologist students must have a deep understanding of psychology.

About Psychology:

Psychology is a multifaceted academic discipline. when you wonder - "How to Become a Psychologist"

To become a Psychologist one must gain knowledge in:

  • Sports
  • Health
  • Education
  • Business
  • Media
  • Cognitive processes
  • Physical conditions
  • Human development

It simply refers to the application of science to comprehend issues, treat mental health problems, and improve education, employment, and relationships. It aims at understanding individuals and groups by practicing general principles and examining distinct problems related to the mind.

The person who studies & researches the normal and abnormal mental health of his clients is known as a Psychologist.

Steps to Become a Psychologist one must strive to understand emotional and social behavior by studying, observing, and noting down how people are linked to one another and their surroundings.

Importance: Psychology has been playing a significant role in every individual’s life to remain happy and healthy mentally. It allows people to know more about the work of the body and mind together. This study helps in decision-making and avoiding anxious situations.

It can also help you to manage your time management, establish and achieve goals, and live effectively.

Different Aspect of Psychology and its Importance:

  1. Self-Knowledge:  It is the knowledge or understanding of one's own aptitudes, character, feelings, thoughts, or motivations. Self-knowledge is the component of self-concept that requires a degree of intellectual sophistication. It is the knowledge of oneself and one's traits and the urge to seek such education that guides the development of the self-concept. While trying to elaborate on the answer to this question, the concept requires continuous self-awareness and self-consciousness.
  2. Learning About Others: Learning about oneself is an easy task, now the field of psychology has enabled us to learn about others also. One may obtain insight into others to know the personality traits of others that vary from our own personality traits. It is essential to know about others in order to improve social relationships. To build harmony and communication more effectively, one needs to develop healthy relationships with others.
  3. Practical Ideas: The practical ideas and thought processes will help you to judge what’s right or wrong? It can help you to find possible resolutions to major difficulties. One can
    attain an insight when concerning the viable applications of psychology and solutions to several important dilemmas.

Branches of Psychology:

To know deeply about psychology, one needs to understand the branches of psychology. Every branch of psychology deals with its different purposes.

To become a Psychologist, a student studies different branches of psychology:

Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychology combines science, theory, and practice to understand, prophesy and reduce problems with adjustment, disability, and discomfort. It encourages adoption, adjustment, and personal growth.

This medication-oriented branch of psychology deals with scientific methods of supervising psychological obstacles.

A clinical psychologist focuses on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral aspects of an individual’s performance during a person's life, across diverging lifestyles and socioeconomic levels.

Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychology examines internal mental processes, such as problem-solving, thoughts, memory, learning, and language. It focuses on people’s thinking, understanding, communication, learning, and discovering power.

Cognitive psychologists examine how people procure, process, and collect information. Fundamentally, this branch of science involved the observation and problem-solving aptitude of the brain.

Developmental Psychology: This is the scientific branch of psychology that deals with the systematic psychological development of humans over the lifespan, also known as human development.

Development psychology focuses on infants, young children, teenagers, adults, and older people.

Various changes that took place under this psychology include motor skills, problem-solving, moral understanding, acquiring language, emotions, personality, self-concept, and identity formation.

Evolutionary Psychology: Evolutionary psychology attempts to explain how human behavior (language, memory, perception) is affected by psychological adaptations during development.

Generally, evolutionary psychology breaks down the walls between the common sub-disciplines of psychology.

A precise account of psychological changes includes identifying perceptual input, cognitive processing, and developmental evolution.

An evolutionary psychologist considers that several human mental and psychological traits are adaptive in nature and have enabled us to live over thousands of years.

Forensic Psychology: Forensic psychology simply deals with utilizing psychology for criminal investigation, inquiry, or law.

The application of psychology involves assessing psychological factors like lawmaking, law enforcement, the investigation of witnesses, and the treatment of the criminal.

A forensic psychologist studies psychology as a science within the criminal prosecution system and civil courts.

This type of psychology is also known as legal psychology which is similar to cognitive and clinical psychology and also involves a thorough understanding of the law.

Health Psychology: Health psychology examines behavior, biology, and social context that influences the illness and health of humans.

It is also called behavioral medicine or medical psychology. A health psychologist focuses on the person wholly and the influencing factors of their health status.

These influencing factors include socioeconomic status, education, background, and behaviors that may have an impact on the disease, such as compliance with instructions and medication.

Neuro Psychology: Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain associated with its behaviors and psychological processes.

Neuropsychology involves a condition of a human containing lesions in the brain and evaluations involving the recording of electrical activity in the brain.

A neuropsychological assessment is done to check whether a person is experiencing behavioral problems resulting in diagnosed brain injury, such as stroke.

Social Psychology: Social psychology means the use of scientific techniques to understand how social influences impact human behavior.

It attempts to describe how feelings, behavior, and thoughts are affected by the genuine, imagined, or intended presence of other people.

This branch of psychology mainly focuses on psychological aspects like group behavior, social perception, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression, prejudice, and leadership of individuals within a community environment. It is also known as critical psychology.

Steps to Become a Psychologist:

To acquire this reputed designation, one needs to be very diligent and enthusiastic. Steps to Becoming a psychologist is not a tranquil job. It is really a challenging and demanding position. Only skilled applicants with appropriate degrees and capabilities are shortlisted for this post.

If an individual dreamt of becoming a psychologist, then he needs to go through the following steps:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree First

To achieve such a desirable position, candidates need to start by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in psychology. A bachelor's degree will help you to develop an understanding of human learning, emotions, and behaviors.

While pursuing the degree, it may include essential subjects like general psychology, experimental and developmental psychology, and statistics. you can also check out How to get admission to Psychology Courses after 12th

Step 2: Gain Experience

An individual having hands-on experience with this certification while pursuing his degree may find it easier to get a job after graduation. If the candidates are interested in the developmental psychology course, they can seek knowledge by working with physically disabled kids or visiting a mental health hospital or a clinic.

Step 3: Go for a Master’s Degree

A master's degree will help a candidate to give him a broad introduction to the field of psychology. The successful graduates of this program usually seek jobs in education, government, human services, health care mental health care, marketing/advertising, etc.  

One can use the electives to focus his study in a particular field. The college/institution that the applicant selects will play a significant role in him gaining more and more knowledge and skills about psychology in a broader concept. Through the master’s degree, an individual will get to know the best suitable branch of psychology for him.

Step 4: Choose a Degree and Specialty

In this step, candidates have to opt for the best specialization for them while choosing the appropriate stream such as clinical psychology or counseling psychology, Research psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology based on their interest.

Step 5: Obtain a Doctoral Degree

Obtaining a doctoral degree in any field will help you to scale your career goals faster. PsyD is a professional degree that focuses on practice and clinical work. The Ph.D. emphasizes more importance on experimental methods and research.

A PsyD prepares the candidates for a career as a practicing psychologist. Candidates with a doctoral degree can get numerous potential employment opportunities in schools and colleges, health care systems, government, nonprofit organizations, social service agencies, and market research firms.

Step 6: Psychology Internship

The internship is now working as an essential part of any course. It is now necessary for the candidates to do an internship of at least six months from an organization relevant to their course. Having an internship experience is really beneficial for the students to get lucrative job opportunities. One will also get to know which specialty is appropriate for him.

Internships that are done in clinical and counseling psychology sometimes require to be recognized by the reputed organization because jobs in mental health organizations sometimes demand an approved internship.

Step 7: Get Licensed to Practice Psychology

In order to get a license from the authorized body, candidates need to pass a national level exam whereas in some colleges students need to submit a case study to a panel consisting of psychologists. Every state requires you to fill certain requirements before granting a license for the approval of the course.

Top 10 Colleges to Study Psychology in India:

  • Lady Shriram College, (LSR) New Delhi
  • St Xavier's College, Mumbai
  • Presidency College, Chennai
  • Christ University, Bangalore
  • Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University
  • Sophia College for Women, Mumbai
  • Mithibai College of Arts, Mumbai
  • Jesus & Mary College, (JMC) New Delhi
  • Fergusson College, (FC) Pune
  • The University of Calcutta, (UC) Kolkata

Area of Employment of a Psychologist:

Once the candidates complete their psychology degree and internship, they have been given innumerable job opportunities to get placed in the job of their interest.

Generally, Psychologists work in the following environments:

  • Government organizations
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Management consulting companies
  • Marketing firms and other businesses
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centres 
  • Schools, universities, and any other educational organizations
  • Social service groups

Salary Package for Psychologists in India:

The discipline of psychology is quite different from others. There are various reputed career paths one can choose according to his skills, knowledge, and caliber. The salary package of an individual depends on a number of factors, such as years of experience, educational achievement, geographic location, qualifications, degree certificate, also the area of specialization.

In this rewarding field, the starting salary of the candidates can range between 2 lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum. Professional and skilled psychologists with master’s or doctoral degrees are like M.Phil. and Ph.D. generally earn a handsome amount of money as his salary.

One can get around 7 lakhs beyond limits with these higher professional degrees. Candidates working in private organizations may have chances to earn more in the same field.

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