A psychologist is not merely a counselor, friend or confidant as often depicted on television. Most people go to counselors because they want practical solutions to their problems, without seeking medical treatments. However, this places high pressure on the doctor to deliver results, and sometimes within a time frame that the client deems reasonable. Furthermore, psychologists are often in charge of supervising patients who are suicidal, violent or emotionally fragile and must take every fact and feeling into consideration. This is why the educational qualifications for a psychologist are extensive.
Training and Education Expectations
It is generally expected that all serious students pursue a degree in psychology, and to fulfill the extra training required. At the very least, graduating students will be expected to have a master’s degree though a doctoral degree is more competitive and usually more successful in the field. Besides educational requirements, all doctors must be licensed in their state of dwelling.
The more advance degree you have, the more jobs you will qualify for, including educational opportunities, clinics, health care services, government offices and research assignments. Schooling generally encompasses five to seven years of studying and concludes with a dissertation. Whether you need advanced schooling or less depends on each state.
Licensing and Certification
Licensure depends on whether the individual can meet all standards set by the state, as well as licensing organizations. Usually, if a doctor is limited in his or her knowledge in one particular aspect, the licensing and state certification must reflect that. In order to pass licensing board requirements, most states give a standard test along with essay questions. Continuing education on a yearly basis may also be a prerequisite. Other organizations of merit might include the American Board of Professional Psychology, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, which provide help with certification and other information and benefits.
Personal and Professional Honor
Lastly, a psychologist must be a pillar of his or her community, morally, ethically and mentally. You must always present yourself as stable, mature and yet able to get along with a wide variety of people. Psychologists who are cold-minded are usually not successful. This is a field that requires compassion, communicative ability, and sensitivity.
You may work alone, but this is not a guarantee. Some doctors must work as a team or even in a team environment. Not only is this a job about intellect and observation, but it is also a job requiring patience and perseverance. You may have some patients for literally years on end. On the other hand, some patients may be pressed for time and low on money and want something close to an instant result—even though, of course, there is no such thing.
Nevertheless, this is a job all about helping others, and you will feel great once the work begins. Start your training at one of the following schools listed below and start a promising career!