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Tips for Becoming a Psychologist
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It's a good idea to begin thinking about graduate school at any time during your
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Tips for Becoming a Psychologist
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Hi I'm Hollie Hancock, here with About.com to provide you with some tips about becoming a psychologist. Okay, let's take a look at what steps are necessary to become a psychologist.For the purposes of our discussion today, let's assume that the end goal is to become a psychologist who assesses, diagnoses, and treats people who are experiencing psychological disturbances. One more thing, be sure to check the regulatory statutes in the state where you will be practicing to understand what the requirements are for becoming a psychologist. For example, in California, Utah, and Alaska, you cannot call yourself a psychologist without obtaining a doctorate degree and having passed national and state licensing exams.For undergraduate students, take the time to sit down with an academic advisor to develop a four-year plan, with the objective of earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. As you work on your bachelor's degree look for opportunities to get to know professors in psychology, or in your department that you have chosen. Become a teaching assistant or a research assistant. It's a good idea to begin thinking about graduate school at any time during your career as an undergraduate. The more you learn about psychology and the more you learn about yourself, you will start to gain an understanding of what it is you'd like to pursue as you specialize and continue your education in graduate school.The area of specialty you choose may direct you to the schools and program that are best suited for your desired area of study. Remember, prior to getting in to graduate school, that you will likely end up taking the GRE, or the Graduate Requisite Exam. In addition to the GRE you will have to complete the component of that test which is the psychology subject matter test. And also, check with the graduate program that you are interested in early in your academic pursuits so that you understand the application and admissions process for each program. Keep in mind that the process for acceptance will vary from university to university and department to department. They may be similar but they all have their idiosyncrasies and you need to be careful that you know what each application requires for each school.Now it's time to determine what type of graduate degree you'd like to earn. A Ph.D., which is a Doctor of Philosophy, or a Psy.D., or Doctor of Psychology. A PhD in psychology tends to focus on a scientific model and places a lot of emphasis on experimental methods and research. The Psy.D. degree on the other hand, is a newer option that focuses more on the practitioner model and emphasizes clinical work. You will be required to complete an internship in a clinical setting.
The experience will be valuable because you will be in your field and you will receive mentoring from experienced psychologists and other staff members who can share valuable information about what it's like to work in a clinical setting. The hurdle that you have to jump last is obtaining your license to become a psychologist. Again, I remind you to check with your state for the specifics of the licensing so that you don't miss any details necessary for you to obtain your psychologist's license. The road to becoming a psychologist is a long and challenging journey. It is worth it. But, as difficult as the journey is for you, the rewards and benefits of all your hard work will pay off.
I'm Hollie Hancock with About.com. For more information, visit us online.
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