How to Become a Psychologist

  • How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

    Clinical psychology practitioners work to promote mental health and relieve discomfort and maladjustment by providing psychological assessment and intervention to people of all ages and backgrounds, according to the Society of Clinical Psychology. Assessment entails identifying what is causing the client’s distress, evaluating the effect that distress has on the client’s life, and detecting any underlying psychological factors.

  • How to Become an Animal Psychologist

    The term animal behaviorist is often interchanged with animal psychologist. Some animal psychologists may specialize in a specific type of animals such as mammals or reptiles, or even in a particular species within such a category. Animal psychologists may go into a variety of different specialties such as teaching, government or private research, and/or zoos and aquariums.

  • How to Become a Behavioral and Cognitive Psychologist

    Behavioral and cognitive psychology sets itself apart from other branches of psychology because it stresses the importance of an empirical approach, referred to as experimental-clinical approach, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). In other words, behavioral and cognitive psychology is focused less on the abstract realm of the mind and emotions, and more on measurable things, such as a person’s overt behavior and brain activity.

  • How to Become a Business Psychologist

    Business psychology entails the application of psychological principles to influence behavior and to make positive changes in the workplace. This can include the development of methods for improving team dynamics, optimizing communication among employees, and maximizing the effectiveness of workers in an organization. In order to become a business psychologist, one must first obtain the educational requirements that are needed through an accredited psychology degree program.

  • How to Become a Child Psychologist

    Children, like adults, may need the assistance of a clinical psychologist for treatment of psychological problems; in this field of psychology, individuals provide assistance to children, specifically in the areas of social and mental development. Child psychologists have many potential job opportunities. They may be hired by colleges or universities to teach and perform research. These individuals are also in high demand by hospitals and private practices.

  • How to Become a Consumer Psychologist

    This field of psychology is a specialty area that studies how people’s thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions have an influence on the way that they buy and relate to goods and services. One formal definition of consumer psychology is that it studies individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes that they use in order to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, and/or ideas to satisfy their needs, along with the impact that these processes will have on both the consumer and society.

  • How to Become a Counseling Psychologist

    In this field of psychology, individuals provide therapy and advice to those who have troubling, yet oftentimes short-term needs. These psychologists also diagnose and treat mental disorders, learning disabilities, and cognitive/behavioral/emotional problems by using individual, child, family, and group therapies.

  • How to Become a Criminal Psychologist

    Criminal psychologists study the behaviors of criminals. This field is related to forensic psychology in many ways, and in some cases the two terms are used interchangeably. A primary part of a criminal psychologist’s job is to study why people commit crimes. They will also oftentimes help law enforcement in solving crimes and may even provide expert testimony in court.

  • How to Become a Developmental Psychologist

    Developmental psychology is the study of human development that takes place throughout life. The study of human development encompasses physical development; cognitive development; moral understanding; language acquisition; identity formation; and social, personality, and emotional growth. Developmental psychologists often focus on one particular stage of life in their work and can be found in nearly every industry.

  • How to Become an Educational Psychologist

    In this particular field of psychology, the psychologist will study how both children and adults learn in educational settings in an effort to improve upon current teaching methods. In order to achieve this, these individuals will conduct research on classroom dynamics, teaching styles, and learning variables. Some of the duties that are performed by educational psychologists include developing educational tests, evaluating educational programs, and consulting schools on how to implement teaching and testing changes.

  • How to Become an Experimental Psychologist

    Experimental psychologists study human and animal behavior through experimental methods to understand certain phenomena and advance scientific knowledge. They focus on a wide variety of areas in psychology, such as cognition, learning and memory, emotion, and sensory and perception. They may also conduct research in topics such as the effects of substance abuse or genetic and neurological factors that affect behavior. As the American Psychological Association notes, experimental psychologists work in academic settings, teaching at colleges and universities, as well as zoos, engineering firms, and manufacturing organizations.

  • How to Become a Family Psychologist

    Family psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with issues related to the family. Family psychologists provide counseling to individuals, couples, and families; provide play therapy and assessment for children struggling with ADD/ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, bedwetting, or PTSD; and counseling for a wide range of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders that occur within families. Common issues might include relationship problems between spouses, trauma from intimate partner abuse, and children and teens having difficulties coping with a parent’s remarriage and other troubles among stepfamilies.

  • How to Become a Forensic Psychologist

    These professionals apply the knowledge and practice of psychology to the legal system, helping police investigators, judges, and attorneys to better understand the psychological dimensions of criminal and other legal cases. Some responsibilities that may be undertaken by a forensic psychologist include the investigation of child abuse cases, the assessing of defendants’ mental competency, the evaluation of child custody cases, and even providing expert testimony in court.

  • How to Become a Professional Geropsychologist

    Professional geropsychologists provide psychological services to older adults and have expertise in aging-related issues and the cognitive changes that take place in the elderly. Geropsychology has seen a surge in recent years as Medicare began covering treatment by psychologists, and it is expected to become more prominent as the baby boomer generation ages, creating a greater demand for psychological services tailored to this age group, according to the American Psychological Association. One of the many elements of providing counseling to older adults is helping patients or clients cope with the mental health conditions that often accompany chronic conditions that afflict the elderly, such as post-stroke depression.

  • How to Become a Health Psychologist

    This type of psychologist specializes in the relationship between a person’s physical and psychological health. The American Psychological Association states that health psychologists are concerned with understanding how biology, behavior, and social context influence health and illness. A health psychologist may work in such settings as a medical center, university, corporation, counseling firm, and/or government agency. Also, some health psychologists are licensed to provide such clinical services to clients as coping with a serious illness or the cessation of smoking.

  • How to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

    Industrial-organizational psychology applies principles of psychology to organizational settings, particularly the workplace. Professionals in this field analyze and research workplace issues connected to employee satisfaction, motivation, training, and retention, often with the goal of optimizing employee productivity. I-O professionals may identify organizational issues that impede workflow, pose a safety risk, or keep employees from producing or leading at their best, and collaborate with a management team in leading organizational change to solve such problems.

  • How to Become a Media Psychologist

    Media psychology is a relatively new field of study in the more than 130-year history of psychology. When discussing what media psychology is, it can be equally informative to talk about what media psychology is not. According to Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist writing in Psychology Today, media psychology is not a clinical degree, media studies, appearing on TV, or watching TV for a living. Rather, it is the “applied study of what happens when people interact with media as producers, distributors, and consumers through the lens of psychology.” Media psychologists apply psychological theories to better understand how people use, consume, and produce media. They may work in such fields as media consulting, advertising, and media research.

  • How to Become a Psychologist for Assessment and Treatment of Serious Mental Illness

    The assessment and treatment of serious mental illness is a specialization within psychology that addresses patients who have mental illnesses. A psychologist trained to treat patients with mental illnesses collects information through observation and interviews, conducts individual and group therapy sessions, develops treatment plans, and works with physicians and other health care professionals to provide comprehensive care. They’re often employed at clinics, hospitals, community and mental health centers, colleges and universities, and government agencies.

  • How to Become a Neuropsychologist

    These professionals study the relationship between the function of the brain and both behavior and psychological processes. This work is primarily founded in scientific research and methodology. It shares several similarities with the field of cognitive psychology. In addition, those who are neuropsychologists are also closely linked to clinical and forensic psychologists. Some of the key responsibilities of neuropsychologists include forensically assessing individuals for neurological disorders, consulting on pharmaceutical drug trials where the medication may impact a person’s central nervous system, providing expert witness testimony for court cases, and administering neuropsychological tests, brain scans, and electrophysiological measures for monitoring neuro-cognitive processes.

  • How to Become an Occupational Psychologist

    In this field of psychology, an individual will typically work within an organization’s human resources or training department, or they may provide various types of consulting services. Occupational psychology is also referred to as industrial-organizational, or I-O, psychology, and it has a focus on the behavior of people in the workplace.

  • How to Become a Psychologist for Personality Assessment

    Personality psychology is the study of the factors that comprise an individual’s personality, including internal and external influences. This area of study primarily leads to employment as a personality psychologist. Personality psychologists are commonly employed at colleges and universities, teaching college-level courses and conducting cross-cultural comparison research. They may also work for human resources departments in large organizations, where they can help determine personality traits that help people succeed at a certain job.

  • How to Become a Police Psychologist

    Police psychology applies psychological principles to law enforcement and public safety. Police psychologists employ a wide range of behavioral science techniques when conducting criminal investigations, and may even perform psychological autopsies in an effort to reconstruct what a person was thinking, feeling, or doing before he or she died. The duties of a police psychologist are varied, but might include: conducting psychological screenings of law enforcement personnel before they are hired or brought onto special squads; conducting psychological evaluations of current law enforcement personnel to determine whether they are fit for duty; working in hostage negotiations; or providing stress counseling in law enforcement environments, according to a description of the profession in the Handbook of Police Psychology.

  • How to Become a Psychoanalytic Psychologist

    Psychoanalytic psychology, also known as psychoanalysis, is a school of thought that studies how the unconscious mind affects behavior. Psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist whose case studies and research had a great impact on our understanding of psychology and human development. This school of thought theorizes that behavior is controlled by the id, the ego, and the super ego. Psychoanalysts believe that behavior is also controlled by conscious and unconscious conflict. Professional psychoanalysts help patients make changes in their lives by helping them grain a greater degree of self-awareness. By talking and asking questions, psychoanalysts give their patients the opportunity to understand the origin of the difficulties in their lives.

  • How to Become a Psychopharmacologist

    Psychopharmacology is the study of the effect drugs have on a person’s behavior, mood, sensation, and thoughts. The discipline focuses on a number of substances, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, alcohol, marijuana, and stimulants. Psychopharmacologists are typically professional psychologists who have undergone a training program in medication management. Professionals who have this specialization work with physicians and other healthcare providers to coordinate a patient’s care.

  • How to Become a Researching Psychologist

    Researching psychologists typically work in academic settings or in private industry. Those working in academia may fill roles as teaching both undergraduate and graduate course work, serving as academic advisors, or training graduate students in clinical techniques and/or research methods. One must first fulfill the requirements of an accredited psychology degree program prior to gaining licensure in this field.

  • How to Become a School Psychologist

    School psychologists work with teachers, parents, and school administrators to help children succeed socially and academically. They apply psychological research and methods to study how people’s behavior is affected by their social interactions and conduct individual and group counseling sessions. School psychologists may also diagnose and treat mental disorders and learning disabilities, as well as implement behavior modification programs.

  • How to Become a Social Psychologist

    Social psychologists study how a person’s behavior and mental life is shaped by social interactions with individuals and groups, and work to improve these interactions. Areas of interest include group behavior, conformity, social perception, aggression, and prejudice. As noted by the American Psychological Association, social psychologists work in a number of different settings, including academic institutions, advertising firms, businesses, and government agencies. In these settings they may teach and conduct research, study consumer attitudes, or help problems in organization and management.

  • How to Become a Sport and Exercise Psychologist

    Graduates of an accredited psychology degree program can become a sport and exercise psychologist. Sports psychology is a growing profession and there are many athletes who are seeking the services of psychologists who can help them with the mental aspects of sports and exercise training. Those who specialize in sport and exercise psychology help their clients to maintain optimism, mental focus, concentration, and goal setting.

  • How to Become a Psychologist for Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders

    Substance abuse psychologists play a key role in breaking the cycle of addiction. They provide clinical services, such as counseling, to help patients who have chemical dependency issues manage the emotional effects of withdrawal, such as anxiety and depression, and determine the situations that lead to drug abuse. They collect information through observations and interviews, design and implement treatment plans, and work with other healthcare specialists to provide comprehensive care. They may also use motivational interviewing and family therapy to give their patient the best chance to break their addiction.