How to Become a Psychologist

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how to become a psychologistMost college students that are interested in the field of psychology often wonder how to become a psychologist. This particular field has increased in popularity among undergraduate as well as graduate students in the past couple of decades. Medical institutions as well as society have come to the realization that the field of psychology can have a direct impact on an individual’s health and overall quality of life.

While psychology is a popular field of study, it is also extremely demanding and competitive. Overall, students that choose this particular field enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with treating their patients and making a difference in the lives of other individuals.

How to Become a Psychologist: The True Definition of a Psychologist

Students that embark on the path to becoming a successful psychologist are often falsely led to think that the field of psychology produces individuals who are considered to only be “shrinks.” The media as well as the Hollywood film industry often portray a psychologist as an individual who simply listens to the problems of patients that are suffering from various forms of hysteria or mental conditions. This psychologist is often shown just simply listening to the patient speak for hours at a time.

The field of psychology is much broader than treating cases which are directly correlated to mania or hysteria and this is something that is important for anyone wanting to know how to become a psychologist to understand. This particular field varies and offers students the opportunity to specialize in fields which include forensic psychology, sport psychology, child psychology and the various fields of neuroscience.

Students can easily make the mistake of confusing a psychologist with a therapist or counselor. A psychologist can actually pursue a doctorate level degree in the field of psychology. In the state of California an individual can only be referred to as a psychologist when they have successfully attained a doctorate degree in the field of psychology. In addition, the individual must have successfully passed the state licensing exams.

How to Become a Psychologist: Preparing for the Future

A future psychologist can start their journey early on in their education. High school students are encouraged to build up their science background with courses such as biology, anatomy and physiology and chemistry. In addition, a student is also highly recommended to take additional courses that are relevant in the field of psychology including subjects such as writing, language and philosophy. These specific subjects allow students to understand the correlation between behavior and the history of the human species. Undergraduate students that are seeking submissions into a graduate psychology program should maintain a high grade point average in courses that are relevant to the field of psychology. Depending on the field of psychology that will be practiced the future, the student is recommended to major in psychology. In addition, the student may choose to minor in a relative subject which increases their scientific or logical background. Philosophy and biology are extremely popular minors that are often coupled with a psychology major. You can find a list of the Top 10 Undergraduate Majors For Psychologists here. 

How to Become a Psychologist: Completing Requirements

Undergraduate students are urged to seek out internships and research opportunities in the field of psychology. Students who wish to further pursue psychology at the graduate level need to successfully complete the Graduate Requisite Exam (GRE) in psychology. Along with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a student can successfully enroll in a graduate degree program in the field of psychology before going on to attain a doctorate degree in this field. This specific educational track proves to be extremely beneficial for students that are wondering how to become a psychologist.

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