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What do I have to do to become a psychologist in the future?

I’m currently in my junior year of high school and I’m taking the AP psychology course and have an A in it. What’s next?

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Jessica Dominique’s Answer

Hello Ahni,

As a career counselor, here is what I would suggest:

1. You are already on the right path; AP Psychology with an A will communicate to college admissions that you are serious about your future and competent to move forward in rigorous studies. Continue to take classes in Psych, Social Sciences, Biology, and Chemistry — and maintain good grades.

2. Take a look at the Psychology undergraduate programs that interest you. Every website has admissions requirements such as GPA, extracurriculars, essays, prerequisites, etc. Find 3-4 Psych undergraduate programs that fit your criteria. Make sure you can fulfill their admissions requirements. Check their application deadlines, as well. * In addition, in your college admissions essay, you should elaborate on “why you want to be a Psychologist” and explain your drive/ambition to achieve that goal.

3. Once you are accepted in an undergraduate program: study hard, get good grades, and focus on getting the best grades in your Psychology and Science courses — this will show future graduate schools that you have the necessary aptitude to pursue Psychology. Maintain a 3.0 GPA and above, as graduate schools require that for admission.

4. After you have taken four semesters or so of undergraduate coursework, start looking at Psychology graduate school programs. Look for programs that involve roads to licensure and Doctorate degrees. Every state is different (so I would suggest searching the requirements of being a Psychologist in your state); some states require a Masters to become a Psychologist, and some require a Doctorate. Additionally, you will choose a concentration of Psychology to focus on - such as research, clinical, psychotherapy, industrial, etc. Look into programs that offer your preferred concentration; speak with admissions advisors about each program and decide if it’s a good fit.

5. Whether it’s a Master or Doctorate needed, all states require many hours of residency and training. Once you receive a graduate/doctoral degree, it may take several years to become licensed as you must go through training/supervision — if practicing psychotherapy, most states require a specific amount of hours for licensure.

****In addition, you must take exams for licensure, but those are specific to your concentration and state - so do your research!

This is a very broad answer to this question, as many of the decisions are specific -- and only you can decide!

I hope this helps!


Jessica Dominique