If you are interested in understanding the human mind and have a kind and caring nature, you may want to consider becoming a psychologist. It’s a rewarding career that has many different paths and specialties.
What is a Psychologist?
A Psychologist is someone who helps people manage their mental and emotional health and provides strategies to help them cope with life’s challenges. It takes years to complete the required education and training to become a psychologist. Psychologists work with a range of people, from young children to adults suffering from mental illness, behavior disorders, and learning difficulties. They use a range of techniques and talking therapies to help those in need of mental and emotional support.
There are many different paths in psychology to take. When you train to become a psychologist, once you have the required education and training, you can specialize in child psychology or become a social worker, you could become a psychiatrist or pick a particular career in family or relationship counseling. The possibilities are endless, whatever you are interested in pursuing, you can achieve, once you have your psychology qualification.
How it differs in each country
In the UK, becoming a psychologist requires you to have a psychology degree. It must be accredited by the British Psychological Society and once you graduate you can apply for a membership. You also need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council before you practice. You must also have work experience in the specialist field that you intend to work in. You can also become a psychologist with a postgraduate degree.
If you are living in America, the process is slightly different. Similarly, in the UK you need a bachelor’s degree in psychology. But once you have it, you can enroll in graduate school to gain a master’s degree. It's during this time that you will cover a more in-depth focus on the specialty you want to choose such as forensic psychology or child psychology. Many psychologists go on to complete a doctoral degree if they want to practice psychology within their own practice. A doctoral program can take up to seven years to finish but it is worth it if you want to make the most out of your career.
Becoming a psychologist in India is different. You can become a psychologist by doing a psychology internship or postdoctoral training after completing a degree in any field. But many students find having a degree in psychology allows them to pursue work more easily. To be a psychologist in India, you must pass class 12 and have a degree and masters in psychology, social work, or counseling. Further specialized fields require a PhD or MPhil.
Salary and working hours
Salaries depend on your country and location but newly qualified psychologists can expect to earn between £31,000 and £41,000 in the UK and earn up to £100,000 in managerial positions. In America, you can expect to earn around $82,000. Indian psychologists can earn between ₹25,00 and ₹ 80,000.
The working hours of a psychologist also depend on your specialism and circumstances. Many psychologists work in an office or clinical environment and set their working hours. It’s not a 9-5 job, psychologists can choose to set aside specific times over the weekend and throughout the week to accommodate their clients.
A day in the life of a Psychologist
Every day varies for a psychologist. You can expect some activities including talking with clients, diagnosing clients, and completing administrative tasks. If you are a psychologist in a research role, you will spend a lot of time experimenting and reading. Whereas, a psychologist working in a clinical setting will spend most of their time meeting with their clients, developing treatment plans, and documenting their progress.
Being a psychologist is a demanding but rewarding career for the right person. If you are an empathetic person with excellent communication skills and you have the drive and passion for learning about the brain and human behavior, then look at ways you can study to become a psychologist.