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How can I build a successful psychologist practice once I get out of medical school?

Asked New York, New York

I am 18 years old and I am very interested in the major psychology. I have taken psychology classes at other colleges and I enjoyed it so much. I love helping people and dealing with peoples issues and helping them come to a solution about their problems.I feel like psychology is the best career for these qualities. #business #psychology #therapy #counseling

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Jennifer’s Answer

Updated Galt, California

Hi Kiera, It is so honorable that you enjoy helping people alleviate their suffering; I have spent my entire working life in the field of mental health and I find it very rewarding. Let me answer your question in sections: First, it is not necessary to go to medical school to be a psychologist. Medical school is the pathway to psychiatry but not psychology. In order to become a psychologist you will pursue a Doctoral degree; either a PhD (which is a research style degree) or a PsyD (which is an applied degree); but neither require medical school. You could also consider a degree in Counseling, which is a Masters Degree. Counseling allows you to provide therapy for clients but does not allow you to perform psychometric testing like a Doctoral degree does. Some people do not enjoy testing and assessment, and want to strictly provide therapy, counseling is a good fit for these people.

Once degreed, and in pursuit of starting a practice, you would need to become paneled with insurance companies if you would like to charge people via their insurance (some clinicians have cash only practices and do not bill insurance), rent a space, get some furniture…and start advertising. Having a private practice is a fairly easy process to start-up but much more challenging to maintain. Reputation, networking and advertising are key strategies to success…being good at what you do is also important as most in this field build business via referrals.

If you are serious, willing to invest time and energy, and are competent, it is possible to be quite successful in the world of private practice.

Updated
Thank you so much Jennifer that helped me more than you know, because I do want to just focus on counseling rather than running test. After a lot more research I am really considering becoming a social worker I think that may be the best fit for me! Thanks Again!
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