Have you ever wanted to become a psychologist? This can be an exciting career choice with a wide variety of specialty areas and opportunities. So what exactly do you need to do to become a psychologist? How long will you need to go to school? The steps below outline the basic process required to enter this profession.
So What Exactly Is a "Psychologist" Anyway?
First, it is important to realize that there are many different types of psychologists and the educational and licensing requirements can vary considerably depending on the specialty area you are interested in. Some of the different job paths include school psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology, sports psychology and many others.
For the sake of this article, let's assume that when you say "I want to become a psychologist" you are referring to the profession that utilizes the science of the mind and behavior to assess, diagnose, treat and help people who are experiencing psychological disturbances. Of course, there are a number of different professionals that offer psychotherapy services, including counselors and social workers. In this case, we will discuss the specific career path of psychologists with a doctorate-level degree in psychology.
Now that we've sorted that out, it is essential to note that almost all states have laws about exactly who can call themselves psychologists. In the state of California, for example, the designation of psychologist is a protected term. In order to use this title, you need to have a doctorate degree in either psychology or education and also have passed the state licensing exams.2 As you begin planning your path towards becoming a psychologist, be sure to contact your state for specific laws regulating the use of the title of psychologist.