How to Start a Career in Psychology

  • Find the perfect university and psychology program for you.
  • Consider faculty, tuition price, and networking/internship opportunities.
  • Decide how much time you'd like to spend earning your career.

Everyone turns to you when they have a problem. They tell you that you have such a good listening ear, a hand to hold, and a shoulder to lean on. You feel deeply for others. Your own experiences in life help you to build a connection with others in similar situations. You feel deeply for those around you. You have a need to help people. You think you were meant to be a psychologist. You know which direction you want to go in life. Now you need to know how to start a career in psychology.

You can start working as a psychologist only after you’ve completed a certain amount of education and gotten your certification.

Begin Searching for Colleges

Your first step is to find a college that is a good fit for you. Look for schools that have a reputation for the best psychology degrees. This will help you to narrow your search. Focus on location as well. You may have a certain area where you want to live. If you need to be close to home because of work, other obligations, or for personal reasons, look for something within commuting distance. You can branch out if you want to spread your wings. Online studies have become popular as well. If you pursue an online degree, you have much more flexibility. You’ll be able to complete assignments at a time that works for you, allowing you to continue to have a job or to take care of your family. It is important to remember that an online degree will require motivation and self-discipline. You won’t have in-person contact on a daily basis to help you stay on track. It will be up to you to be organized, manage your time, and complete your work by the due date.

Consider the Amount of Time You Want to Invest in Your Studies

You can begin psychology with an associate’s degree. However, prepare for the long haul if you want to be a licensed psychologist. A two-year degree will provide you with the foundation for your studies. From that point, you will need to continue for at least another two years to earn a bachelor’s degree. If you are interested in becoming a clinical psychologist, plan on spending up to twelve years as you pursue your doctorate. Many other types of positions in psychology, including being a therapist, only require a master’s degree. A masters can be completed in as little as a year. Most students complete it in two years. You need to determine which psychology degree best suits you.

There are many fields within psychology that require specialized training.

Start Looking at Your Career Options

Once you complete your studies, it’s time to land your job. You can even start planning before your studies are completed. Your adviser at school can give you advice. You can also put out feelers in your area at clinics and offices that could use a valuable asset like you on their team. Utilize any personal connections you’ve made along the way. Your professors or psychologists who were part of your internship could assist you. You might have a family friend who has a practice. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from people you trust. When you are searching through the classifieds, don’t limit yourself to an online search. Buy the newspapers on a regular business, moving beyond your local paper to the capital district news. Call or go in person to different practices in your area. Put yourself out there. Look for fellowships and internships that could give you more experience as you get your feet wet. Think outside the box. You may need to begin in a different field that will make good use of your studies and skills. You may need to be patient as you work your way up to your dream job.

Psychology is a noble profession. You’ll be working closely with others who need help. Navigating emotions, patterns of thinking, personal trauma, and hereditary conditions is challenging for everyone. For some, it can be overwhelming. You will be the person who helps them to improve their quality of life through helpful strategies. Simply giving others someone they can talk to in their time of need can have a major impact on the lives of your clients. If you know psychology is the right career for you, it will be worth your hard work.

McKenzie Jones

McKenzie is your typical Midwestern gal. When she is not writing or reading, she can be found training for her next half-marathon, baking something sweet, playing her guitar, or cuddled up with her golden retriever, Cooper. She loves watching football, fall weather, and long road trips.

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