Psychologists usually study emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral processes.
The purpose of it is to help interpret, observe, and note the relations between people as well as their relation to the environment.
Psychologists specialize in a wide variety of fields, including clinical, forensic, school, sports, etc.
Because of this, the job description of a psychologist can be vague since their work takes place in various settings.
They may include organizational, industrial, counseling, experimental, or educational, and more.
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What Does a Psychologist Do?
Psychologists can work individually consulting clients, conducting research, or working with patients.
Alternatively, they can work as a part of a healthcare team.
In this case, they cooperate with social workers and physicians in various establishments.
These can be schools, particular centers, etc.
They also usually tightly communicate with teachers, students, parents.
There are different types of psychologists, including clinical, forensic, criminal, school, and even prison psychologists.
Their responsibilities and methods can vary greatly.
However, the purpose of their work is the same.
It is to help their patients create proper mechanisms to improve their lives and handle them better.
The following responsibilities are rather common for psychologists, however, they mostly depend on their career path.
The duties of a therapist or a researcher will be different, and both are different from sports or pediatric psychologist as well.
The following list of duties includes something every psychologist will face at one point or another:
- Observing the behavior of a patient, determining their needs and evaluating their abilities.
- Changing or using the patient’s behavior to help them.
- Conducting various psychometric tests and interviews, and be able to interpret them.
- Developing the appropriate treatment programs and conduct therapy and counseling with clients.
- Cooperating with multidisciplinary teams of psychiatrists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, social workers, and education professionals.
- Offering a treatment therapy for such conditions as addiction, depression and anxiety, challenging behavior, social or interpersonal issues.
- Encouraging other professions to use psychological services, and offering consultations.
- Conducting a variety of studies and research and applying the research data to come up with conclusions.
Psychologists should possess highly advanced interpersonal skills.
When dealing with patients, they should also be highly flexible.
To succeed in this position, you need to have excellent communication skills and have a large amount of patience.
By the nature of the job, psychologists have to be trustworthy and able to inspire patients to cooperate with a therapist.
Other important factors are commitment and keeping the treatment plan.
Psychologists should be confident in the therapy plan and keep the patient’s best interests in mind.
They should also be extremely ethical and open-minded.
A psychologist should be able to explain the symptoms.
They are also expected to easily adapt when the symptoms and circumstances change.
They should develop an efficient treatment plan.
So, they have to be highly detail-oriented, have an excellent memory, and attention span.
It is essential for psychologists to understand the patients and be highly compassionate.
They should be emotionally stable, confident, and highly self-insightful.
They should be able to project this confidence in the patients and inspire their hope and optimism.
How to Become a Psychologist
To become a psychologist, you need a minimum of an undergraduate degree in psychology.
It includes studying the brain in terms of social, cognitive, and emotional behavior.
Psychologists usually have to fix traumas or development issues while helping patients restore their normal behavior.
Training and Qualifications
Typically, psychologists should have a doctoral degree in psychology, but sometimes, a master’s degree may be enough.
Those who work independently usually need to have a license as well.
In most states, the duties and salary of the psychologist are interconnected with a license and certification.
The licensure laws can be different from state to state as well as for various positions.
For instance, clinical or counseling psychologists should go through the internship as well as obtain a doctoral degree and pass the Professional Practice in Psychology Exam.
When it comes to certification, you can obtain one from the American Board of Professional Psychology.
The certifications are available in thirteen areas, including couples and families, psychoanalysis, rehabilitation, etc.
These certifications aren’t mandatory everywhere, but some hospitals require them.
They demonstrate your specialty in the field as well as your dedication to your profession.
Besides the extensive education, psychologists also need at least a year or two of professional experience to get a job.
During this practice period, they will usually work under the supervision of a certified psychologist.
They are supposed to oversee the psychologists in training as well.
They usually discuss the stories of the patients, so the certified professional can help a newcomer, and the new psychologist can learn from the experienced expert.
Those who work in other settings need to have the number of years of experience as determined by the employer.
Every research center, school, prison, or clinic has its requirements for the new employee, whether its an experienced therapist or an assistant.
There are many types of psychologists working in various settings specializing in different areas, so the working hours can’t be generalized that easily.
Private psychologists, on the other hand, can set their own schedules to keep up with the times of their clients.
Psychologists working in hospitals, mental institutions, and prisons though, may have to work various shifts including weekends or evenings.
On the other hand, they rarely have to work overtime.
Therapists who work in schools, clinics, organizations, etc., usually work regular business hours.
The employment rate of psychologists is predicted to grow by 19% until 2024, according to the BLS.
Compared to other occupations, this is a lot faster.
The median salary of the psychologists is $75,422 annually, and the job outlook is rather positive.
The experts with a doctoral degree have the greatest prospects.
The beginners though also have better employment opportunities than they used to.
The job of a psychologist has many characteristics and qualities, so only those who are really driven to it, can get the job.
There are multiple specialties in psychology which makes the description rather vague, but it’s a really rewarding job.