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Readers Respond: A Career as a Psychologist

Responses: 13

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Are you a psychologist or do you work in some type of psychology-related field? If someone thinking of entering the field of psychology asked you for advice, what would you say? If you have some words of wisdom for students thinking of entering this profession, please share it with our readers.
  • What type of work do you do in psychology?
  • What's the best thing about your job?
  • What's the worst thing about your job?
  • How long did it take to earn your degree?
  • Overall, would you say that you are satisfied with your job?
  • What advice can you offer to a student thinking of entering the field of psychology?
Do You Like Your Job?

reconsidering

After reading the following comments especially the last comment I'm reconcidering if I would like tO work in this scene of business I als o have been thinking if maybe becoming a marriage counseller . I'm still far from going to colleege but I'm a person who liks thinking about her future so good luck to me to getting a suitable job for me.thouge I would like to know morE about this job! Thanks ! - 7th grade student
—Guest thinking

Mixed bag

Can be very rewarding to be helpful to others, continually learning new aspects of the job, and never being bored. If you're after money, you can be quite comfortable, but probably not very wealthy. I worked in a hospital setting, which presents a whole other dimension of paperwork, shifting policies, dealing with administrators, etc. This can be frustrating, so you have to develop the skills to deal with these issues. All in all, it can be a great career if you meet the kind of specialized requirements to enjoy and do well as a psychologist.
—retiredpsy

Technology is changing the job

Technology is changing the job. Both good and bad. On the negative side, electronic communication is creating more distraction and eroding some of those valuable touch points with clients. On the positive side, technology has helped make paperwork and administrative chores a smaller part of the job so there's more time to focus on clients. Tools like Quickbooks.com, www.SimplePractice.com and EMR systems like Meditech.com have helped streamline the mundane parts of the workflow of the job.
—Guest Guest MFT

Deciding

Reading over all of the comments, I see many people enjoy their job as a psychologist, but the wage is what holds them down. Am I right? I an only sixteen and I am considering whether or not to be a psychologist because of the pay. I've been through a lot of money issues with my family and I want a job that will help change that, in the future. So, if a certain area of psychology will help, than please let me know. I am thinking way ahead of my age, but I prepare for my future. I would appreciate the help/truth. Thanks.
—Guest Angel

Can be difficult without the right tools

I have been managing a practice for a long time. I have always enjoyed helping people and the flexible hours - I set my schedule. It can be hard to manage the business pieces in conjunction with having a helping relationship. For about 10 years I have been using practice management software, including TherapyNotes, and most recently http://Psychscribbles.com. It takes the guesswork out of my practice. Other than that, the stuff you learn about in school around self care is critical. I take at least 4 weeks off per year, sometimes more. It actually helps my revenue, because I am able to focus more clearly on what's important, and have a clearer head in sessions.
—Guest Private Practice Clinician

Recommended?

I'm currently deciding on what to major in for college and I'm thinking psychology. After reading many of the comments about the career I'm reconsidering. I do want to help others but want it to be worthwhile. Does anyone have anything positive to say about being a psychologist?
—Guest questions

thoughts

I am thinking about becoming a psychologist. As I am reading through everyone's statements and thought of this career, i am reconsidering for the fact that it seems this job may be to much for me. But I have been through a lot and I think I may be able to handle this type of work. However, I would love to know more about certain things you guys go through as a psychologist . thank you ! - 8th grade student.
—Guest -just saying.

Not as rewarding as you might expect...

As a successful private practice psychologist, there is certainly satisfaction in helping people but the three main negatives are 1) the compensation under managed care programs is unreasonably low. When one considers the record keeping, billing, and collateral calls, the hourly wage is less than that of a public school teacher and there are no medical or retirement benefits. 2) the level of accountability for other people's lives and actions is unreasonably high. We do not always know what clients will do but are held responsible whether or not the client indicated they presented a danger to themselves or others. 3) For what most psychologists do, a PhD is overkill. A skilled master's level therapist is just as effective and more economical. I have a PhD but if I had to do it over again and if I stayed in the field, I would go for the LCSW instead. It is a more flexible degree, cheaper to get, almost as well respected, and pays similarly.
—Guest Clinical PhD

A Balancing Act

I've found that it can be a real challenge to focus on all the many different facets of my job and personal life. Finding time for my family and friends can also be quite difficult. Finding time for myself even more so. However, it is really rewarding to know that you are helping other people.
—Guest mmeee

Some limits

The thing that I didn't expect about being a psychologist is that I definitely feel I have a limit in terms of how far I can go in terms of helping other people. I very often feel I stretch to help others in neglect of my own needs. My current girlfriend doesn't understand that often after a full week of doing therapy, I need a day of being away from people and not having to talk and answer to someone all the time. It takes an incredible amount of effort to focus so much on others day after day, and at this point year after year. I look at this is part of the reason I am paid as a professional. I do have to enter into my client's world and remember all the details of their lives - and to clinically conceptualize how to help them become healthier based on evidence based practices. It is all just alot more work than I imagined, and I feel "used up" by the end of the week and wanting to get away from it all. If you are considering it as a career you need a huge capacity to give to others.
—Guest APsychologist

Professor of Psychotherapy

Psychology is a fascinating Science.To study about ourselves and others. I joined after my Ph. D as Mass Education Officer in Family Welfare Dept to motivate people to adhere to small family norms.I was interested in Teaching . Then joined as a Lecturer in Psychology in a college. Introduced Biological Psychology. N euro Psychology as subjects.It is a wonderful experience to work with students.I have the satisfaction of imparting knowledge to others. Teaching though not rewarding in terms of money, it is a prestigious career.
—Guest Prof G Rajamohan

Thoughts on Teaching Psychology

I teach psychology at the community college level and love it. A master’s degree is the minimum requirement, but one is more competitive with a doctorate. With the present economic climate, entering the study of psychology with the intention of teaching in higher education should be considered carefully. While the job market is tough right now, it should improve in a few years. Some general advice from my been there, done that, could have done it a lot better perspective: * Plan on doing plenty of research during the undergraduate and graduate years to help build a solid CV as well as an area of specialty. * Take advantage of regional and national psychological associations by presenting at them. * Build strong relationships with one or more psychology professor mentors as they often have the inside track on opportunities. * Keep that undergraduate GPA as high as possible. If do you poorly in a core psychology course, retake it for a better grade. Admission to good graduate schools in psychology is fiercely competitive, and a marginal GPA can be a dealbreaker when choices are made among several excellent candidates. I hope these bits of insight have been helpful. Blogs: College Success Insider / http://collegesuccessinsider.blogspot.com Think Psych / http://thinkpsych1.blogspot.com
—Guest LSK

Explore Your Options

While I enjoy my job and would probably end up getting my psychology degree if I had it to do all over again, I would definitely advise anyone considering this career to explore their options. Talk to psychologists, try to get volunteer experience. One of the biggest challenges for me has been finding my niche within the field. I started out doing therapy with severely mentally ill patients, which was so draining and stressful. I enjoyed helping people, but I started to really hate going to work. Especially because therapy work can be very slow and progress takes a long time in many cases. I eventually ended up finding a new job as a marriage and family therapist. I still get to help people, but my patients are much easier to deal with. So my advice is to explore everything that's out there until you find the job that's right for you. Even after you enter the work-force, focus on gaining different experiences so you can find something that is truly fulfilling.
—Guest Sophie

Do You Like Your Job?

A Career as a Psychologist

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