Are you the type of person that everyone turns to in times of need? Are you an empathetic listener? Do you enjoy helping others find their peace of mind? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have what it takes to be a psychologist or counsellor.
Choosing Your Psychology Major
Obtaining your degree in psychology is the first step on the path to becoming a certified mental health professional. Choosing which specific field of psychology to obtain that degree in may be overwhelming at first glance, but there’s no need to panic. There are 56 areas of expertise, according to the APA (American Psychological Association), so you have plenty of options.
The job market for a psychologist with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree has higher employment and earnings prospects than those fields with less stringent requirements. Psychologists also have a slightly higher job market growth potential, based on levels of education and certifications.
Finding the Psychological Specialty That’s Right for You
As previously mentioned, the field of psychology is a diverse landscape. Ranging from Associate degrees to Doctorates, there is no cap to the level of education that will benefit your career in this field. Other degrees are also available and are more specific. Fields such as Child and Clinical Psychology, as well as Industrial Organizational and Addiction Psychologist are growing as quickly as more generalized fields.
Military, Comparative, Educational, Media, and Sports Psychologists are in high demand, and the trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Most people who enter the field of psychology don’t choose their careers with monetary motivation in mind, but the median salary for a therapist is around $75k, which allows for a comfortable lifestyle.
Many Paths to a Career in Psychology
You have nearly as many options as courses to choose from regarding training and educational requirements. Traditional courses and degrees are available at most colleges or universities, and online courses that offer flexible school schedules are becoming increasingly popular. Regardless of your choice in educational options, you should be prepared to invest a year or two for a Master’s degree program and between 5-7 years for a doctorate program.
The particular field you are pursuing will indicate exactly which courses are required to gain certification. However, there are some basic requirements that will apply to all branches or specializations. Introduction to Psychology is one such course, as are History and Theory of Psychology and Research Methods and Statistics courses.
Making a Difference as a Psychologist
There is no one reason that people seek out psychological treatment. Short term issues such as job loss or holiday stress can be just as emotionally upheaving as chronic mental health or behavioral issues such as depression or anxiety. The stigma against talk therapy has lessened in recent years, and consequently, more people are turning to counselling or psychological treatment sooner.
Entering the field of psychology is a noble pursuit. Choosing to become a licensed psychologist is as rewarding as it is challenging.