Roughly 25% of all American adults suffer from a mental illness in any given year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether it’s depression, substance abuse or a form of anxiety, psychologists play a big role in helping people suffering from mental health issues.

Psychologists are non-medical doctors (PhDs) who specialize in studying the mind and human behavior. The field of psychology is large and aspiring psychologists will be able to choose the specialty where they think they can make the greatest positive impact.

Career Description

Psychologists practice in a variety of ways, depending on the area they specialize in. Some may spend a majority of time counseling clients while others may conduct research on a chosen topic.

To get a better understanding of the daily activities of psychologists, let’s take a look at some of the specialties in the field.

Clinical Psychologists

These professionals specialize in helping individuals who suffer from mental and emotional disorders. Some will niche down and specifically focus on helping those with depression and anxiety, drug addictions, eating disorders and personality disorders.

Educational Psychologists

These specific psychologists typically work in schools as counselors or by helping students who suffer from learning disorders. Educational psychologists’ one true mission is to help children gain all of the necessary resources to help them thrive and succeed.

Neuropsychologists

Neuropsychologists focus on the field of cognitive, behavioral and emotional rehabilitation for patients with brain damage. They spend much time researching the changes our central nervous system can suffer and how these changes affect a person’s mental life. They are often called in by doctors to help give an early diagnosis of dementia and develop a treatment plan.

Social Psychologists

As the name suggests, social psychologists specialize in psychological factors that contribute to human social interactions. Their education focuses on subjects such as culture, social attitudes and prejudices. These professionals spend time creating group therapies to help disadvantaged individuals that often find themselves excluded.

Forensic Psychologists

Forensic psychologists specialize in legal aspects, which is why they are often called to be a witness in a criminal trial. They share their views on what they believe led to a certain individual to commit a crime, and their testimony can often sway a judge.

These are just some of the specialties in this field, but you can learn more here.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for psychologists was $79,010 in May 2018. Employment for this group is expected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Keep in mind, your salary will factor on your specialty area. Because of the growing demand for psychological services in hospitals, schools, and mental health clinics, psychologists can expect to see more employment demand in those areas.

Read more about what a career as a psychologist can offer you.

The Path to Becoming a Psychologist

If you’ve always had a drive to help other people better their lives, then a career as a psychologist may be a perfect fit. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goal:

Step 1. Obtain Your Degree

Aspiring psychologists will need to earn their bachelor’s degree in psychology or a relevant field. Prerequisite courses include general psychology, experimental and developmental psychology, and statistics.

Regardless of which major you choose, be sure to see how OnlineDegree.com could help you as well.  You can take free courses toward your degree and utilize tuition discounts we’ve organized at universities across the country…we provide all of this for free as part of our mission to make college a reality for everyone.

Step 2. Obtain Your Master’s Degree

Next, you’ll need to do some research to determine what area of psychology you’ll want to specialize in. You’ll then want to learn about various programs to find the higher degree that’s best for your career goals. For example, will you need a master’s degree, PsyD, PhD, EdD or EdS?

Step 3. (optional) Gain Some Real-World Experience

Once you’ve determined the area you want to specialize in, see if you can intern somewhere to gain valuable experience. You may want to help a professor with a research project, or volunteer at a mental health clinic. Hands-on experience gained while obtaining your degree will help you find a job once you graduate school.

Step 4. (optional) Complete a Doctorate in Psychology

Not all, but most fields of psychology require a doctorate. Psychology graduate schools look for a competitive score on the GRE (1200 or more), a GPA of 3.3 or higher, and volunteer or paid experience in the field.

Step 5. Get Licensed

All states require you to fulfill certain requirements before you’ll be granted a license. There is also a national exam you must pass and, in some cases, you’ll need to present a case study to a board of psychologists. You’ll want to check your state’s requirements and do it as early as possible in your career journey so you are fully prepared.

Getting Started on Your Psychology Career

With the first step being obtaining a bachelor’s degree, here are a few additional resources to check out to get started on your path to becoming a Psychologist:

  • Why Online Education Might Be Best-  If you’re like a lot of working adults, you don’t have a lot of free time or extra money to put toward your higher education. An online degree offers flexible scheduling for adult students who have other work/life commitments. This means, even if you’re a parent that also works full-time, an online program can work around your schedule to help you reach your dream career.
  • Salary and Other Data on Psychology-
  • How OnlineDegree.com Can Help- To make college a reality for everyone, we provide free courses that could apply toward your degree, tuition discounts at universities across the country, and much needed guidance.  All free.

If you’re ready to get started toward becoming a psychologist, enroll with us today!