Jobs in the field of medicine mostly need higher degrees and certifications. And a career as a psychologist is one of those jobs which demands a higher level of education and training. They are medical experts who are adept in understanding the behavior and thought process of a person undergoing mental and emotional problems. This is a wide field, with branches such as healthcare, education, business, sports, etc. Whichever field they provide their services in, their main aim is to diagnose emotional and mental problems and take the essential steps to solve them.
Responsibilities and Duties in General
The job description varies as per the discipline. There are many types such as school psychologist, group/social psychologist, behavioral psychologist, clinical psychologist, organizational and business psychologist, and many others. However, there are some general duties that are performed by all of them.
Counseling is one of the most important duties that they carry out. They have to discuss the problems of individuals, assess their minds and way of thinking, and then counsel in a way which will help the patient get out of the emotional trauma. The primary responsibility of school psychologists is providing motivation to students for performing better and using their capabilities to the fullest. They have to discuss students' problems with parents and teachers. Those employed in the forensic sector deal with emotionally unbalanced convicts and accusers. Likewise, the duties and obligations depend on the employment in different branches of this science.
Those thinking of becoming a psychologist should understand that educational qualifications are the most significant aspect. You would necessarily need to gain a doctorate in psychology to be certified and successful.
Starting from the first step, while studying for a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, it is an added advantage if you opt for subjects like chemistry, math, biology, and health sciences.
Few aspirants may even prefer to obtain an associate degree in psychology or sociology. This can certainly serve as a stepping stone for choosing a specialization. The next step that you need to take is to gain a bachelor's degree. Some opt for social work or biology as their majors; however, psychology as a primary major would always be better.
Next, you can do a master's degree, or even choose a field such as counseling or any other field directly related to psychology. Here you need to choose a specialization such as general, counseling, clinical, business, etc.
For working as an independent practitioner in most disciplines of this field, you would be required to obtain a Ph.D. In most states, you need to obtain a license from the respective state board. The licensing procedures differ from state to state, so you need to research well for knowing the appropriate method of applying for the license. Some amount of work experience is also required to appear for the licensing exam.
Even after you become a licensed practitioner, continuing education is an integral part of this profession.