What is the first thing to fo to become a psychologist?
What is the first step to becoming a psychologist? What are some things I can do/take starting in highschool that will help me become a psychologist?
Some useful websites:
If your high school offers an Intro to Psychology or AP Psych classes, I would definitely recommend starting there so you can get a solid foundation of the basics that'll be used throughout college. Taking a statistics course would also be beneficial since stats is used a lot in psychology research. If there's anyone you know or your friends or family might know who is currently working in the field, talking to them about their education and career path they chose to take may help you get a stronger idea of what you can do in the future. Volunteering at advocacy centers or youth programs is also a great way to expose yourself to the field, even with little experience.
Applying to colleges that have strong Social Science programs would help you network with classmates who are interested in the field as well as professors who can guide you to where you want to go. Joining psychology/career related clubs and/or doing internships at advocacy centers, counseling offices, or social programs is also a great way of getting hands-on experience in the field since you can get an inside look on how it feels to be working in certain fields and with different populations/demographics.
After your Bachelor's, depending on what specialty you want to go into, you would have to get your Master's to be certified as a licensed therapist or if you want to have a strong educational foundation before entering the workforce (i.e. Counseling Psychology [for therapists, psychologists, school counselor]; Clinical Psychology [for research-based positions, clinical case manager, behavioral health]; I/O Psychology [for human resources, recruiting]; and probably so many more you could look into).
I hope this helps!
Iker and Sania gave wonderful suggestions! Also, you might consider getting involved in a mentoring program that allows you to help younger students; volunteer at an organization for people with mental health concerns; or interview a mental health professional about a psychological disorder and write an article for your school paper.
I think you are ahead of the game by considering opportunities that will help you in the future!
Best of luck to you!
Candice Robinson, BS, NCPT-4
Feel free to learn about opportunities at this level at the website below:
As for the Bachelor level, a degree in Psychology is your starting point. The first 2 years of this degree can be obtained at a local community college where you will obtain an associate degree, which can lead to certification opportunities and immediate job opportunities. Then you could go to a 4-year college or a university to obtain a Bachelor degree in psychology (the additional 2 years after the associate degree). Also, you can also go straight to the college/university/bachelor level if employment is not of interest to you at this time. After completing 4 years with a bachelor of psychology degree and satisfactory GPA requirements, you will be then on your way to entering a Master level psychology practice program where upon completion, you can decide if you would like to license as a counselor/therapist or continue on to a doctoral degree to be psychologist.
The possibilities are almost endless, but I believe at least once you complete the associate and/or bachelor level you will have more insight into what you specifically want to do. Some of the most entry level careers on the path to becoming a psychologist are listed below.
1. Camp Counselor
3. Group Home Worker
4. Administrative Assistant (behavioral/mental health/psychiatry/psychology practice or focus)
5. Human Services Case Worker
6. Human Resources - provides insight into human and company behavior in regard to employees
7. Rehabilitation Specialist
8. Behavioral Health Technician
9. Psychiatric Assistant
10. Social Worker