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Careers 2021: Steps To Become A Professional Psychologist

Man sitting in a counselling session

Careers 2021: Steps To Become A Professional Psychologist

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Are you planning to build a lucrative career as a psychotherapist? Or perhaps, you gravitate towards treating severe mental disorders with medication and therapy? Either way, all aspirants begin their journey with an undergraduate degree and then define their specializations.

Psychologists work in many healthcare settings, from treating patients to aiding criminal investigations and legal proceedings. Essentially, psychologists study and analyze human behavior, thoughts, emotions, and cognitive abilities. Most professionals strive for a master’s degree; however, a Ph.D. can open lucrative career advancement opportunities.

Psychologists enjoy high-paying positions, job stability, financial growth, and flexible working hours. Statistics reveal that, on average, psychologists earn over $80,000 annually. Mental health professionals are also one of the fastest-growing career paths across the world. Keep reading to learn how you can embark on a successful career in psychology.

Academic Accolades & Certifications

If you’re aspiring for a psychology career, you must pursue at least a master’s degree. Most positions require advanced training and skilled expertise. Most advanced posts require a Ph.D., and it is wise to pursue a doctoral degree. Naturally, your academic journey will begin with an undergraduate program.

Many institutions allow students to specialize during their undergraduate and develop their interests in niche fields. It is ideal to pursue psychology internships, training courses, and certifications while pursuing your undergraduate. Academic and professional exposure will help you find your calling and choose a specialization that appeals to your interests.

Students must carve out a niche during their Master’s and advance their expertise with a Ph.D. It is also advisable to seek out other credentials to supplement your resume and marketability. For instance, CACREP accredited online counseling programs will cause a career thrift. It is pertinent to mention here that as a psychologist, your academic journey will never end. You will always find yourself pursuing training, courses, and certifications to maintain a relevant, marketable and specialized skillset.

Obtaining Licensure

Psychologists and mental health professionals have to face numerous obstacles and challenges in treating patients. While a psychiatrist can prescribe medication, psychotherapists and psychologists strictly work with therapy and counseling. However, obtaining licenses and credentials will help advance your career and increase the diagnostic and treatment options.

States typically set their distinctive licensure requirements. So, it is wise to research the requirements in your desired state. Psychologists and mental health professionals are required to satisfy all state licensure requirements. After completing your academic journey, you must apply for licensure from the state’s psychology board.

Generally, the requirements include a bachelor’s and master’s degree, relevant work experience, application fee, and testing. The requirements for each psychology career path are different, so be sure to conduct rigorous research.

Exploring Opportunities & Position

Each psychology career path demands a distinctive experience. In some states, professionals must earn work experience before, during, or after obtaining licensure. Psychologists must gain expertise in supervised clinical settings. Other specializations require counseling training, work experience, and proven expertise.

The opportunities and requirements vary, depending on the state and industry. Psychologists also need professional certifications, relevant work experience, and other credentials aside from licensure. Professionals can explore entry-level positions with hospitals, mental health facilities, universities, schools, organizations, and even the government.

Many healthcare organizations and governmental agencies hire psychologists. Most Ph.D. professionals pursue careers in academia, research, and clinical studies. These professionals can also work with law enforcement agencies, social work programs, criminologists, and legal teams.

It is wise to map out your career journey, set targets and realistic milestones to enjoy career advancement and professional growth.

Advancing Expertise & Certification

Much like a doctor or healthcare professional, psychology careers require professionals to continue maintaining certification. Psychological care and medicinal treatments are evolving and innovating with every passing minute. In a decade, your education is likely to become irrelevant and outdated. Thus, you must continue pursuing advanced training and stay abreast with industry trends and practices.

In psychology, most lucrative opportunities require a Ph.D. to establish the expertise of a professional. Psychologists cement their knowledge and skills with continuous training and certifications to improve their education credits. In this field, credentials are more important as they boost the marketability of a professional.

Advancing expertise and education allow psychologists to enjoy excellent financial stability, higher income, and greater prestige.

Networking Opportunities

Networking is instrumental for career advancement in every profession and industry. Psychology is a field that encourages collaborative learning, peer-to-peer exchanges, academic reviews, and research collaborations. The sector gets dominated by collective research initiatives, seminars, networking events, conferences, panel discussions, and other events.

Professionals from different organizations, university research departments, and associations collaborate, scrutinize research initiatives, and celebrate innovations. These events open up scores of opportunities for networking and career advancement. Professionals can explore the industry for lucrative job opportunities, vacancies, and mentorship.

Conclusion

Building a career in psychology requires students to start shaping up their skillset and explore training opportunities. Undergraduate students must pursue internship opportunities to expand their resume and exposure. Working with multiple organizations and psychological settings will help students carve out a niche for a lucrative and rewarding career.

It is also instrumental in seeking out memberships in federal and state associations to expand networking opportunities. Professionals can also explore mentorship opportunities to obtain guidance from an established professional.

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