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How to Become a Psychologist - Steps to Becoming a Psychologist

Update on 07 Jun, 2022

5 minutes read

How to Become a Psychologist - Steps to Becoming a Psychologist

How to Become a Psychologist: The most intriguing aspect of a human being is the mind which in turn impacts the behavior, emotions, actions, and thoughts of day-to-day life. In today’s highly competitive and fast-paced era, there has been a rise in the mental illnesses and communication issues of individuals. Psychologists address mental health issues by identifying the root cause of the problem and suggesting methods of treatment. They use tools and techniques that will reduce stress among their patients and navigate them towards a better future.

Since Psychology is one of the trending professions with a large number of aspirants applying for the course every year, we shall discuss in detail how to become a Psychologist in India.

How to Become a Psychologist?

There are several Psychology courses available in India including Bachelor’s Degree, Postgraduate Degree, Doctorate Degree, and Diploma. Besides this, there are short-term Part-time, Certificate, and Online courses available for those who are thinking about how to become a Psychologist.

In order to become a Psychologist in India, you must qualify for the Class 10+2 exams from a recognized Board. After this, you can join a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from a recognized University and pursue a postgraduate program in Psychology in your preferred specialization. Those who are interested in intensive research or want to become a professor in psychology can pursue a Doctorate in Psychology from a recognized University.

How to Become a Psychologist in India after 12th : Stepwise

To become a Psychologist in India you can pursue any stream of Arts/Science/Commerce in your Class 12 Board. However, it is recommended that you take Psychology as the optional subject in Class 12 as this will help you to understand the basics of the subject better. Also, certain Colleges in India give preference to students who have taken Psychology as a subject in Class 12.

Steps to Become a Psychologist After Graduation

The next step is completing a Graduation or a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from a recognized University. The Psychology courses in Graduation include B.A (Hons) Psychology, B.Sc Psychology, and B.A Psychology. The duration of the course is 3 years and you will get a generalized view of the different fields of Psychology including General Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Industrial Psychology, Sports Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Experimental Psychology. All of these subjects focus more on the theoretical aspects of Psychology. However Statistical Psychology includes the numerical aspects of the subjects. Many colleges also offer internship opportunities that help to better understand and strengthen the basics of the subject.

Admission Criteria to Undergraduate Courses in Psychology

  • Complete the 10+2 from a recognized Board.

  • Appear for State-level Entrance exams like IUET, CUEE, JMI, BHU UET

  • Counseling sessions.

Steps to Become a Psychologist After Post Graduation

After completing a Graduation in Psychology you can pursue a Master's Degree in Psychology which has a duration of 2 years, with a specialization in your area of interest. The admission criteria for the post-graduate course vary from one college to another.

Some Colleges offer Merit-based admission while other Colleges conduct Entrance exams for admission of the candidates to the Post Graduate courses in Psychology. The different Master's Degree Program in Psychology includes M.A Psychology, M.Sc Psychology, M.A Applied Psychology, M.A Clinical Psychology, and M.A Counseling Psychology. You can choose your area of specialization in any of the following fields:

  • Clinical Psychology

  • Developmental Psychology

  • Child Psychology

  • Health Psychology

  • Educational Psychology

  • Forensic Psychology

  • Industrial Psychology

  • Consumer Psychology

  • Sports Psychology

  • Animal Psychology

  • Counseling Psychology

Apart from the varied specializations, a Master's Degree in Psychology also offers scope for industrial visits, Dissertations, Research, and Project submission. Candidates with an M.A in Psychology can get job opportunities as professional Psychologists in different sectors like Hospitals, industries, Schools, and Colleges. Those of you who want to become a practicing Psychologist must complete the M.Phil Degree and get a License from the Rehabilitation Council of India(RCI).

Admission Criteria for Masters Degree Courses in Psychology:

  • Complete BA/B.Sc in Psychology from a recognized Institute.

  • Appear for State-level Entrance exams like AUCET or CUCET.

Steps to Become a Psychologist After Ph.D.:

Most of the students of Psychology prefer to pursue a Doctorate in the subject. A Ph.D. degree is very important for students who want to become academicians or go into the field of research. Candidates with a Doctorate in Psychology also can get good career opportunities.

A Doctorate in Psychology has a duration of 3 to 4 years and covers the deeper aspects of psychology like cognition, behavioral aspects, and neuroscience.

Psychologist Internships

Students who aspire to become Psychologists in India must do at least 2 years of Internship programs after completing a Master's Degree in Psychology. Some students also get employed as Psychologists by the organization after completing the internship training. Some organizations that hire Clinical and Counseling Psychologists require Internship Certificates of candidates approved by reputed organizations. The internship programs are extremely beneficial for the students as they receive on-the-job training which increases their chances of employability.

Students I hope it is clear to you the Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in India. After getting a degree in Psychology from a recognized Institute you can either become a Professional Psychologist or a Research Psychologist.

Professional Psychologist:

Candidates can choose their career options in Psychology based on their area of specialization. Those of you who want to practice Psychology and serve people can become ClinicalPsychologists and help people to get rid of their mental health issues.

Those of you who want to join Colleges and Universities as faculty members in Psychology can do so after completing an M.Phil or Ph.D. in Psychology from recognized Institutions.

Candidates who are interested in the field of Research and Scientific Psychology can become Experimental Psychologists or Research Psychologists. The job of the Researcher is to collect and analyze data. They can use the result of these findings to prepare reports to understand the different aspects of the behavior of individuals.

Practicing Psychologist & Research Psychologist:

After getting your Degree in Psychology from a recognized Institute, you can become a Practicing Psychologist or Research Psychologist. Students who are still thinking about how to become a Psychologist in India, let me tell you that you can become a Practicing Psychologist/Research Psychologist by following the following steps.

Practicing Psychologist:

  • Completed Master's Degree (MA/M.Sc) or Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Psychology from a recognized Institution.

  • Get your license for the practice. After you get your License from an RCI-recognized Institute, you can work as a Practicing Psychologist in Clinics, Schools/Colleges, NGOs, or organizations.

  • The work areas of a Practitioner include improving the lives of individuals who are suffering from mental health issues like stress, depression, or anxiety.

Research Psychologist:

  • You can become a Research Psychologist by completing a Doctorate program in Psychology from a recognized Institute.

  • Research Psychologists can work in cognitive, developmental, clinical, or experimental fields. After completing a Ph.D. in Psychology it is necessary to obtain a valid license from RCI.

  • Research Psychologists can work as academic advisors to undergraduate students or offer mentorship to the postgraduate students on implementing Clinical methods of Psychology.

  • Research Psychologists can also offer advanced Counseling in Schools or Universities to understand human behavior and provide solutions accordingly.

Other Degrees in Psychology:

PsyD in Psychology: The Doctor of Psychology degree is for the students who are interested in providing Clinical counseling and professional therapy to clients. This is an advanced degree that usually takes 4 to 6 years to complete.

EdS in Psychology: The Education Specialist in School Psychology has a duration of 3 years and is meant for students who want to provide counseling services to school students and their parents. The Education specialists make use of tools and techniques like psychometric assessments and evaluations.

Students, now that you know how to become a Psychologist, let us check out the Best Colleges for Psychology in India.

Top Colleges in India for Psychology (Undergraduate Course)

  • Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi

  • Punjab University, Chandigarh

  • Zakir Hussain College, New Delhi

  • Kamla Nehru College, New Delhi

  • Sophia College for Women, Mumbai

  • Gargi College, New Delhi

  • Daulat Ram College, New Delhi

  • Ashoka University, Sonipat

  • Ambedkar University, New Delhi

  • Fergusson College, Pune

  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

  • Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

  • Mithibai College of Arts, Mumbai

  • DAV College, Punjab

  • Christ University, Bengaluru

Top Colleges in India for Psychology (Postgraduate):

  • Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Chennai

  • Mithibai College of Arts, Mumbai

  • Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

  • Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra

  • Gujarat University, Ahmedabad

  • Maharani Laxmi Bai PG College, Indore

  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

  • Ambedkar University, Delhi

  • Gautam Budh University, Greater Noida

  • Bethune College, Kolkata

  • Amity University, Noida

  • Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sreperumpadur

  • Madras Women Christian College

  • Indian Institute of Psychology and Research, Bangalore

Skills Required to Become a Psychologist in India:

Communication Skills: This is the first and foremost requirement of individuals who want to become a Psychologist in India. Psychologists should be able to communicate freely with their patients to understand the history and cause of the mental health issues.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking skills are extremely important to understand the psychological conditions of the patients and the underlying conditions. Critical thinking skills make a Psychologist aware of the surroundings and interact with the subjects accordingly.

Patience: This skill should be inherent for the Psychologist as it helps to deal with the subjects in a more effective manner. Individuals who suffer from mental health issues. A patient approach will help the Psychologist to treat their clients in a better manner thus assisting in their quick recovery.

Analytical Mind: A Psychologist with a sound analytical mind can diagnose the causes of the illness quickly and offer immediate solutions.

Ethics: This is a very essential part of a Psychologist as it helps in developing a mutual relationship of trust and respect between the Practitioner and the client/patient. Persons suffering from mental health issues share any confidential information with their Psychologists and they must make sure to keep the information with utmost secrecy to maintain the dignity and well-being of the patient.

Psychology: Online Diploma Courses 

Online Programs:

Students who are unable to pursue a full-time Psychology course can opt for online courses which are offered by top learning platforms in collaboration with top universities across the world and have a reasonable fee structure. The duration of these courses varies from a few weeks to a few hours. Some of these courses charge fees for providing a valid Certificate.

Top Online Courses in Psychology:

Course Name Learning Platform University Collaboration Fees

Introduction to Psychology

Coursera

Yale University

Free

Introduction to Clinical Psychology

eDX

University of Queensland

Free

Introduction to Developmental Psychology

eDX

University of Queensland

Free

Forensic Psychology

Udemy

-

INR 572

Child psychology (Advanced Level)

Udemy

-

INR 592

Diploma Programs in Psychology

The Diploma in Psychology courses can be pursued both as undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Students can pursue the undergraduate courses after completing their Class 10 or Class 12 Board exams. Several top Colleges offer the Diploma in a Psychology course.

Those of you who want to pursue a Postgraduate program in Psychology can do so after completing Graduation. The Diploma courses deal with the practical implantation of Psychological practices.

Undergraduate Diploma in Psychology courses has a duration of 1 year while PG Diploma in Psychology has a duration of 1-2 years.

Top Diploma in Psychology Courses:

Name of the Course Providing Institute Course Fees

Diploma in Psychological Medicine

Goa

INR 65,000

Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology

Amity University, Noida

INR 1,70,000

Post Graduate Diploma in Counseling

Jamia Millia University, New Delhi

INR 15,500

Post Graduate Diploma in Counseling Psychology

Amity University, Noida

INR 22,000

Post Graduate Diploma in Criminal Psychology

Amity University, Gwalior

INR 32,000

Areas of Specializations of Psychology:

Students who complete their Graduation in Psychology in India can go for specializations during their Post Graduation. The undergraduate course deals with the general aspects of the different fields of Psychology and students can choose their specialization in the postgraduate program depending on their area of interest.

Clinical Psychology: This includes the treatment of the patients who are suffering from mental health issues like grief, addiction, anxiety, depression, or other psychiatric abnormalities. A Clinical Psychologist works in a hospital, health center or may have a Private practice. A Clinical Psychologist must complete a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. in Psychology and get a license to practice from RCI.

Developmental Psychology: Developmental Psychology includes the development of individuals or groups of people over a period of time. These Psychologists can act as Professors, Lecturers, Consultants, or advisors to understand the behavioral aspects of children or adults and suggest methods of improving their day-to-day practices.

Forensic Psychology: This branch of Psychology deals with Criminal investigation to help lawmakers deliver justice. Forensic Psychologists analyze crime scenes by using scientific methods to help in the criminal investigation process. Forensic Psychologists also help in prison counseling and help in the rehabilitation of the prisoners.

Cognitive Psychology: This specialization includes the study of the mind using neuroscientific procedures. Cognitive Psychologists study the memory, language, and problem-solving skills of an individual and solve problems related to the same. Students interested in Cognitive Psychology must study Mathematics in their Class 12 Boards to make accurate calculations and deductions.

Counseling Psychology: Counseling Psychologists usually work in schools, hospitals, health centers, or Universities. The main work of these Psychologists is to offer counseling services to students or adults and help them cope with their mental health problems. Counseling Psychologists also work in the Human Resource Departments of organizations.

Educational Psychology: This area of Psychology includes the understanding of the learning difficulties of children. Educational Psychologists work in schools, Colleges, and Universities to help students facing developmental difficulties. This field of Psychology includes guiding teachers to understand the different aspects of student behavior and suggest methods to improve the learning process.

Social Psychology: This branch of Psychology deals with understanding the behavior pattern of individuals like anger, depression, frustration, attitude, and aggression. Social Psychologists work with organizations, social service centers, and NGOs to understand the emotions of individuals and help improve behavioral practices.

Geriatric Psychology: Geriatric Psychology deals with the mental health of individuals who are in the latter stages of their lives. Geriatric Psychologists study the effects of aging on the mental and physical well-being of individuals. The main work area of these Psychologists is to treat patients suffering from age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Environmental Psychology: This branch of psychology deals with the interaction of individuals with their environment and how these interactions affect human behavior. Environmental Psychologists work with both Government agencies and private organizations. These professionals also work on the different aspects of climate change and interior design companies.

Neuropsychology: Neuropsychologists study the human brain to understand the behavioral patterns of individuals. This field includes both experimental and clinical psychology. These psychologists study the Cognitive and behavioral aspects of the brain which help in the treatment of mental disorders. Neuropsychologists also work in research establishments, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and clinics.

Difference Between Psychologists & Psychiatrists:

Students who are thinking about how to become Psychologists often get confused between Psychologists and Psychiatrists. We all know that the work of both Psychologists and Psychiatrists is to diagnose and treat the mental health of individuals. Though both the terms sound similar, there are several differences in the mode of education, professional service, and credentials.

Psychologist vs Psychiatrist:

Psycholgist Psychiatrist

Psychologists have to acquire graduation in Psychology followed by a Post Graduation with a specialization

Psychiatrists require a degree in Medicine including an MBBS degree followed by MD in Psychiatry

Psychologists can only offer therapeutic and counseling treatment and cannot prescribe medicines.
The different types of therapies used are Cognitive, behavioral, psychometric tests, and assessments.

Psychiatrists diagnose the mental issues of the individuals and suggest medicines accordingly.
The medicines prescribed by Psychiatrists include antidepressants, hypnotics, nervous system stimulants, and sedatives.

Psychologists deal with the behavioral and developmental issues of individuals.
These issues include learning difficulties, cognitive disorders, and anxiety.

Psychiatrists deal with more complex mental issues that require medical intervention.
These issues include schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, autism, and bipolar disorder.

Psychologists address the behavioral aspects of the human mind.
The different branches of Psychology include Clinical psychology, Neuropsychology, Developmental psychology, Counseling psychology, and more.

Psychiatrists mainly work in healthcare centers including hospitals or private clinics.
The different branches of Psychiatry include Addiction psychiatry, brain disorders, dementia, extreme cases of depression.

Psychologists have to get a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. from a recognized University. They have to then get a License from RCI to become a professional Psychologist.

Psychiatrists have to complete an MBBS degree from a Medical College. They can then complete MD in their preferred field and must work as a resident doctor to become a professional psychiatrist.

 

Both Psychologists and Psychiatrists work together in mental health organizations. A patient suffering from a severe mental disorder consults a practicing psychiatrist for treatment and medication. The Psychiatrist may then refer the patient to a psychologist for therapeutic treatment depending upon his/her condition.

Career Prospects & Scope of Psychology in India:

Psychology has become a crucial field in India nowadays as a large number of youngsters and adults suffer from mental health and behavioral issues. There are diverse career options for the psychology course including Clinical Psychology, Developmental psychology, Cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, and neuropsychology. The career prospects and scope of Psychology in India extend to other fields including Healthcare,  Artificial intelligence, and Life Sciences.

Job Roles of Psychologists in India:

  • School/College Counselor

  • Industrial Psychologist

  • Forensic Psychologist

  • Counseling Psychologist

  • Sports Psychologist

  • Educational Psychologist

  • Child Psychologist

Career & Scope of Psychologists in India:

The different branches of psychology offer immense career potential for individuals with good salary prospects. Check out the career prospects of the Psychology course:

Clinical Psychologist: Clinical Psychologists work with both children and adults and offer treatments for behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems. Clinical psychologists offer therapy and counseling sessions to persons suffering from psychological disorders.

Health Psychologist: Health Psychologists help their clients to maintain good health and prevent diseases. They offer treatment to individuals to manage stress, anxiety, addiction and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Educational Psychologist: Educational Psychologists mainly work in schools and colleges. Their main focus is to improve the learning process of individuals by identifying the issues that cause difficulties in learning.

School Counselors: Counselors have a huge demand in both middle schools and high schools. These counselors understand the different mental and emotional problems of the students and suggest methods to deal with these problems effectively.

Community Counselors: Expert Community Counselors offer counseling in human service agencies and community centers. These counselors conduct psychological tests on individuals to understand their mental issues and suggest methods of effective treatment.

Sports Psychologist: This is a highly specialized field as athletes and sportspersons suffer from anxiety and stress issues and require counseling and treatment. They work with the sports team at the national and international levels and also provide counseling for school students.

Academicians: Psychology students who have completed a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. in Psychology can become teachers or Professors. These Psychologists can also work at Public and Private Research organizations.

Social Service: These trained Psychologists work with social service organizations or NGOs. Social Psychologists offer support to individuals, families, couples, and groups of people. They can also work as social workers and treat the psychological issues of individuals.

Salary Prospects of Psychologists in India:

Students who are interested in knowing how to become a Psychologist in India must be also aware of the salary prospects of Psychologists. Psychologists are well paid and the salary depends on the level of education and experience of the Psychologist. For Graduates with a B.A or B.Sc in Psychology the salary is INR 10000 per month. Candidates with a Post Graduation in Psychology will get a salary of INR 15000 to INR 18000 per annum. Those who have done an M.Phil or Ph.D. in Psychology will get a salary of INR 25-30000 per annum.

Now that you know the career and scope of Psychology in India, check out the salary prospects of Psychologists in India:

Salary of a Clinical Psychologist in India Per Month/Year

Job Roles Salary Prospects

Clinical Psychologist

INR 3.5 Lakh per annum

Neuropsychologist

INR 5 Lakh per annum

Forensic Psychologist

INR 4 Lakh per annum

Geriatric Psychologist

INR 29,000 per month

Industrial Psychologist

INR 4,79,000 per annum

Counseling Psychologist

INR 3,62,000 per annum

Cognitive Psychologist

INR 8 Lakhs per annum

Environmental Psychologist

INR 4 Lakhs per annum

Summing up:

I hope those of you who were wondering how to become a Psychologist has got your answer. It is necessary to complete a Graduation in Psychology from a reputed Institute. To become a practicing Psychologist you must complete post-graduation in Psychology and get an M.Phil degree in Psychology.

There are many specializations in Psychology and you can choose your specialized field during your Master's Degree. Those of you who want to join the field of research can apply for a Ph.D. program in Psychology. The career and scope of Psychologists in India are immense and qualified candidates become eligible for excellent salary prospects.

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