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What classes should you take when aspiring to be a psychologist?

I'm considering being a psychologist. #psychology #psychiatry #social-psychology #child-psychology #moral-psychology #social-skills #family-services #psychosocial

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Linda Ann’s Answer

Hi Anisa,
In order to call yourself a psychologist, you generally need to have a doctorate (Ph.D. or PsyD) and pass a national licensing examination. While the licensing exam is "national," each state in the US has different requirements for sitting to take that examination. On average it takes the typical student about 5-6 years following the bachelor's degree to obtain their doctorate. So, to become a psychologist one must be in school about 9 years following high school (like becoming a medical doctor)! IF you are interested in becoming a therapist (a clinical psychologist), you will take many practicum experiences while in graduate school, starting your second year where your work is supervised by a licensed psychologist; your final year in graduate school - year no. 5 - would be an internship where you will be providing mental health services full-time (again, your work would be supervised by a licensed psychologist). Depending on the state that you intend to practice as a clinical psychologist, you may need another year or two of supervised work before you can take the licensing examination.


The psychology discipline has many sub-specialties....not all psychologists are therapists, for example. Only about 25 percent of psychologists actually provide therapeutic services to clients. I am telling you this because the coursework that one takes as an undergraduate student will depend upon:
1. the requirements of a particular college of university offering a bachelors degree in psychology;
2. the student's long-term goals as a psychologist (which will then help decide on a graduate school).


There are many, exciting careers in psychology. I was a personnel psychologist for the better part of my career and I just loved it. In the latter part of my career (last 10 years), I decided that I wanted to teach full time. I was blessed to find a full time position at a local university in my city. I loved working with students...that's why I'm now volunteering at Career Village!


I hope this answer helps! IF you want to find out more about all of the specialties in psychology, I recommend the following website of the American Psychological Association: www.apa.org. It's a great resource.


I wish you the best in exploring career options for yourself. GOOD LUCK.

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Scott D.’s Answer

If you want to be a psychologist, prepare to be in the academic word for the long haul. You will need at least 7 years of college and then your grades will need to be around 3.8 or above to get into a good graduate program. You will then need 2 years of supervised clinical work before you are permitted in most states to sit for the licensing exam. So start of college to licensed to practice: 9 years. Don't expect to make a lot of money to pay off student loans during your two year clinicals either. Most of these placement only pay a nominal salary.

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