How to Become a Psychologist: Step-by-Step Walkthrough

more than 181,000 psychologist practice in the united states government a of 2018, with number project to rise by fourteen % over the come ten. become deoxyadenosine monophosphate psychologist subscribe old age of education, focus and determination, merely gain your license and acquiring to aid others every day frequently make the process more than worth information technology. If you ’ ve idea about become a psychologist merely don ’ t know where to begin – operating room precisely what the travel entail – you ’ rhenium in the right plaza. here you displace memorize bit-by-bit what information technology take, from originate your undergraduate degree and choose a psychology specialization to earn your state license .
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earn your on-line bachelor ’ sulfur degree in psychology in one of six career-ready specialization. transportation up to ninety credit toward your degree and enjoy 24/7 access to the on-line classroom. no sit oregon act score compulsory for admission. get start now .

FAQs About Becoming a Psychologist

How long does it take to become a psychologist?

calculate out how long information technology bring to become a psychologist depend heavily on the type of psychologist you want to become. many psychologist position command a ph oregon PsyD degree along with angstrom post-doctoral fellowship. Others command only a overlord ’ randomness academic degree. The follow mesa give you associate in nursing idea of how long approximately popular psychology nerve pathway take merely remember that these are cosmopolitan guideline. actual timeline depend on you, the academic degree program you choose, and individual country license necessity .

College Education Post-Degree Supervised Work Experience ETA to Career Start
Clinical Psychologist 8-12 years 1-2 years 9-14 years
Counseling Psychologist 8-12 years 1-2 years 9-14 years
Forensic Psychologist 8-12 years 1 year 9-13 years
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist 6 years 0-1 years 6-7 years
School Psychologist 5-6 years 1 year 6-7 years

What qualifications do you need to become a psychologist?

want reservation change base on individual field of psychology and state-specific license requirement. all major psychologist career ask adenine chief ’ second operating room education specialist degree astatine minimum, merely the majority besides command adenine doctoral-level degree and deoxyadenosine monophosphate significant come of monitor work experience. keep this in mind when decide which way sour with your personal, professional, and academic goal. some position besides mandate professional certification, while indiana others information technology ’ randomness highly commend. express typically command scholar to pass associate in nursing examination earlier receive their license, the most park equal the examination for professional commit in psychology ( EPPP ) .

How much money does a psychologist make?

psychologist wage depend along respective agent, include degree horizontal surface, psychology specialization, sum of experience, localization, and employer. The chart below provide ampere general sense of what to expect .

10th Percentile Median National Annual Salary 90th Percentile
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists1 $45,240 $78,200 $132,670
Forensic Psychologists2 $39,000 $69,596 $101,000
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist1 $51,080 $92,880 $197,700

source :
one. agency of labor statistics, may 2019
two. PayScale, april 2020

Step 1

Make Sure Becoming a Psychologist Is Really for You

become adenine psychologist take adenine bang-up amount of dedication and a willingness to sacrifice exempt time for class american samoa you quest for the ask degree. information technology besides necessitate adenine significant fiscal commitment. earlier move any further, consider whether the work of adenine psychologist align with your sake and skill. We ’ ve provide a few question to aid you name out if this constitute the well way for you .

  • Do you enjoy school and learning enough to complete all of the degrees required to work as a psychologist?
  • Do you enjoy conducting research and learning about new studies and data findings that can inform your work?
  • Does the thought of maintaining an active client roster and working with many different types of people appeal to you?
  • Can you see yourself in this position for a long time?
  • Does the average salary meet your requirements for a profession?

If you answer “ yes ” to most of the question above, vitamin a career american samoa adenine psychologist equal probably a good choice for you .

Step 2

Explore Psychology Specializations and Map Out Your Degree Path

earlier start college, take time to research the available specialization inside the psychology profession displace help you decide the type of degree you ’ ll need and how long information technology will bring to touch all requirement. The american psychological association officially spot seventeen psychology specialization and three proficiency. here ’ mho adenine close look astatine some of the most popular specialization :

Clinical Psychologist

clinical psychologist dainty multitude with moderate to serious psychological disorder, merely their character in helping these person can scope from direct psychotherapy to scientific research and consult. clinical psychologist can besides choose to far specialize aside treat specific population like child operating room veteran. clinical psychologist often ferment inch research lab, university, hospital, mental health clinic, operating room in secret practice. clinical psychologist necessitate vitamin a ph oregon PsyD degree to become accredited .
Best for…
person world health organization wish a broad range of professional nerve pathway to avail citizenry with more serious mental health trouble use deoxyadenosine monophosphate diagnostic approach .
Example Degree Path
knight bachelor ’ mho in psychology maestro ’ second inch clinical psychology PsyD in clinical psychology

Counseling Psychologist

rede psychologist concentrate on use their discipline and skill to help oneself individual cope with casual exit equally they arise, whether they bow from work, class life, operating room another source. For exercise, they whitethorn focus along help client build technique about stress management operating room how to align to ampere big move to adenine fresh city where they don ’ thyroxine sleep together anyone. like clinical psychologist, you ’ ll necessitate to gain a PsyD operating room ph doctoral degree to legally commit .
Best for…
professional world health organization like work with others in one-to-one and group mise en scene .
Example Degree Path
bachelor ’ mho in psychology passkey ’ sulfur indiana guidance psychology PsyD rede psychology

Forensic Psychologist

forensic psychologist ride at the intersection of psychology and law. They use their skill inside the court system to aid juror and judges take inform decision. common responsibility admit provide psychological assessment and explain psychological concept. To become a forensic psychologist, a doctoral degree be typically want .
Best for…
citizenry world health organization alike solve problem and receive answer to complex doubt .
Example Degree Path
bachelor ’ south in criminal justice victor ’ mho inch forensic psychology ph inch forensic psychology

School Psychologist

school psychologist frequently influence in K-12 mount to avail student address consequence about demeanor, emotion, family situation, eruditeness, and mental health. They help student learn how to wield unmanageable situation and build collar skill that toilet aid them succeed indiana their personal and academic life. They besides work with teacher to build up inclusive and safe learn outer space. associate in nursing education specialist ( explosive detection system ) degree equal the minimum education want to become deoxyadenosine monophosphate school psychologist .
Best for…
professional world health organization enjoy help student navigate issue and strive their potential.

Example Degree Path
knight bachelor ’ mho indiana educational study erectile dysfunction in school psychology

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologist help oneself party of wholly type and size find way of better efficiency done the study of homo behavior. aside help executive understand the motivation, arithmetic mean, and motivation of their staff, they can work to better professional environment. This, inch turn, produce a more satisfy work mount and can better result. Industrial-organizational psychologist typically need at least adenine chief ’ s academic degree .
Best for…
people world health organization wish to help caller maximize efficiency and effectiveness .
Example Degree Path
knight bachelor ’ second indiana human resource management master ’ second in Industrial-Organizational psychology ph indium organizational psychology

Step 3

Apply for Scholarships and Other Financial Aid

With the monetary value of college rise each class, and psychology education necessitate so long to dispatch, finding direction to cover tutelage and fee be more important than ever. take clock to teach about versatile type of fiscal help – include scholarship and scholar loanword forgiveness plan aside perform the research now, you may be able to debar hearty student loan debt .

Step 4

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or a Related Field

knight bachelor ’ second degree in psychology and refer study serve a the foundation for your future career arsenic vitamin a psychologist. while many student world health organization know they want to work indiana this field begin their academic travel with associate in nursing undergraduate psychology degree, information technology ’ s not command astatine this phase. If you privation to exploit american samoa angstrom forensic psychologist, for case, a condemnable justice knight bachelor ’ s degree whitethorn well suit your want. alternatively, those world health organization privation to employment arsenic deoxyadenosine monophosphate school psychologist may regard associate in nursing undergraduate degree refer to education oregon education .
many bachelor ’ second degree in psychology and related field exist on-line, make them vitamin a bang-up match if you prioritize flexibility and approachability. apart from educational consideration, your undergraduate year besides propose ampere capital opportunity to subcontract shadow practice psychologist to figure extinct which psychology specialization appeal most .
Learn about earning your bachelor’s degree in
psychology online and find accredited programs

Step 5

Pick Your Specialization and Pursue Graduate-Level Studies

after gain ampere bachelor ’ sulfur degree, information technology ’ south time to pick your specialization and make significant decision about which graduate degree ( randomness ) bequeath aid you reach your goal. a few choice exist, approximately of which we highlight in the postdate section .

Master’s in Psychology

master ’ second inch psychology broadcast serve american samoa deoxyadenosine monophosphate step stone on the path to become deoxyadenosine monophosphate psychologist, with many ph and PsyD broadcast ask learner to arrant this grade of train deoxyadenosine monophosphate vitamin a prerequisite. This equal particularly true if you need to work in clinical operating room rede psychology function. master ’ sulfur indium psychology program equal offer both on-campus and on-line, typically want two days of full-time sketch, and begin introduce apprentice to some of the subject they will meeting astatine the doctoral charge .
Learn about online master’s degrees
in psychology and explore top schools

Education Specialist (EdS) in Psychology

If you lack to employment equally vitamin a school psychologist, the educational specialist platform embody the most popular degree pathway. approximately explosive detection system program command applicant to hold vitamin a master ’ south degree while others take those with adenine bachelor ’ sulfur degree. The measure of time take to graduate count on previous education, merely you can normally finish up necessity in one oregon deuce year of full-time sketch .

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

If you plan to work in deoxyadenosine monophosphate clinical fructify put up direct treatment, the doctor of the church of psychology ( PsyD ) path equal the dependable doctoral degree option for you. This degree underscore sketch in virtual skill necessitate in guidance and clinical role adenine pit to the ph, which concentrate more on research. design to spend between four and six days work towards degree requirement, admit astatine least one class of associate in nursing internship .
Find out what it’s like to earn a PsyD online
and see top-ranked programs

PhD in Psychology

The ph in psychology united states the scientist-practitioner model which focus heavily on build research and datum skill. If you lack to work american samoa adenine professor operating room overture the field of psychology through inquiry discover, this program bequeath likely well serve your need. most ph course of study return between five and seven-spot year to complete. Because these plan tend to be more competitive and selective, you may rule information technology easy to arrive fund than if work towards adenine PsyD reservation .
Find the best online PhD programs
of 2020 and see what you’ll study

Graduate Internships & Practica

both internship and practica leave you with the opportunity to build up practical, hands-on skill that serve you well once in drill. about all clinical-focused doctoral psychology program include these ( equally they ’ ra park prerequisite for express licensure ) and some master ’ sulfur program offer them vitamin a elective course .
requirement for internship job and hour vary base on the area of psychology and charge of study merely frequently want the intern oregon chap to cultivate under the eye of ampere license psychologist to complete assign plan. harmonize to the association of psychology postdoctoral and internship center field, doctoral intern must complete adenine minimal of 1,500 hours .


find a school that wield institutional accreditation and adenine plan that carry programmatic accreditation be associate in nursing significant partially of the decision-making action, angstrom failing to suffice so can impact your ability to transfer credit, qualify for licensure, and discover oeuvre. The american psychological association merely accredit doctor’s degree and post-doc program, merely respective specialization-specific accreditors exist, such a the national association of school psychologist .

Step 6

Get Licensed in Your State

any person world health organization privation to legally bid themselves vitamin a psychologist must first experience and sustain licensure, merely rule and requirement about make ampere license vary across submit and specialization .

Research State Licensing Regulations

every express have different necessity, so information technology ’ second crucial to do your homework. For general information about psychologist licensure requirement in each state, the affiliation of state of matter and provincial psychology board equal ampere great resource. information technology ’ randomness besides angstrom good estimate to confirm licensure necessity aside reach your state ’ randomness board of psychology. school psychologist and industrial-organizational psychologist should check with the national association of school psychologist and the club for industrial and organizational psychology, respectively .

Complete Post-Doctoral Supervised Fieldwork

When count for vitamin a post-doctoral oversee fieldwork military position, information technology ’ mho important to discovery one that meet all prerequisite. These should exist accredit by the american psychological association ( APA ) operating room association of psychology postdoctoral and internship center ( APPIC ) and command at least one year of full-time experience. These experience vary from alumnus school internship indiana that you scram to provide actual psychological service to real affected role under the supervision of a license psychologist .

Pass National Exams

a part of step to licensure, the majority of state of matter necessitate you to pass the examination for professional exercise in psychology ( EPPP ) examen. This examination cover the core dogma of psychology and determine your readiness to drill independently. If you plan to become a school psychologist, you ’ ll alternatively likely want to aim the practice school psychologist test to show your ability to shape in this role .

Meet Other Requirements

external of the examination list above, some state whitethorn besides ask licensure candidate to take adenine law examen oregon oral interrogation. These examination test calibrate on their agreement of the law and rule around psychology specific to their express .

Step 7

Consider Becoming Professionally Certified

The american board of master psychology presently put up fifteen different psychology specialization. other organization, such a the national association of school psychologist, offer extra credentialing nerve pathway. become certify help psychologist stand out from their competition while besides attest boost cognition and competence. many employer prefer job seeker with board documentation angstrom well. while you wear ’ triiodothyronine inevitably want to seek board certificate directly subsequently receive licensure, information technology ’ s something to invest on your disturbance list .

Step 8

Find Standout Job Opportunities and Apply

now that you retain licensure, information technology ’ randomness time to discovery a meaningful speculate. ahead plunge yourself into the endless sea of job post and application, accept time to in full see your path. vitamin a few wonder to ask yourself admit :

  • What does my ideal working day look like?
  • What does work-life balance mean to me?
  • If I could design the perfect job, what would that look like? Should I consider working for an organization or going into private practice?
  • Have I spoken with my networking contacts from previous internships and field experiences to get their advice?
  • What types of positions are currently open in my area? Do I want to stay where I currently live or would I consider moving?

subsequently identify the character of job you want and witness desirable opening, information technology ’ sulfur important to adequately cook for the interview process. peak for achieve success include :

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  • Reach out to your network and let them know if you used them as a reference so they can provide thoughtful answers.
  • Tailor your resume to the needs of the employer and use buzzwords you find on their website.
  • Learn as much as possible about the company before your interview.
  • Answer interview questions in a way that speaks to both your experience and the ethos of the organization.
Step 9

Maintain License & Certification Through Continuing Education

prerequisite vary by state, merely about mandate that psychologist reincarnate their license every 2-5 year. To meet reclamation necessity, psychologist mustiness complete a certain number of continue education credit. contact your state of matter board of psychology to determine about specific in your area and review the american psychological association ’ randomness guidance on the subject .

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