Psychology studies people’s behavior and mind. It includes the study of conscious and unconscious facts, feelings, and thoughts.

psychologist is a person who studies and understands mental states, brain functions, and behavior.

how to become a school psychologist

How to become a psychologist?

To become a certified psychologist, you have to plan your education in advance and learn your local state licensure process. Here are the detailed steps:

Pass school exams successfully.

Secondary education plays an essential role in the career of a future psychologist. Some students do not even think about the fact that the knowledge and grades that they get at school have a direct impact on further education and their career in general. Therefore, the higher your graduation points, the higher your chances of entering the desired faculty and becoming one step closer to your goal to become a psychologist.

Earn a Bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology does not exist, but there is a large variety of academic paths where students may choose to follow during their bachelorship career.

Psychology programs are rival; that is why students need to be alert about their grades and engaged in any available opportunities during the bachelor’s degree. Out-of-class programs are also highly appreciated.

Complete a Master’s degree.

A Master’s degree is available in clinical psychology. However, completing this program does not permit students to become licensed. 

There are combined programs for those who want to work as a licensed psychologist in the future. Such programs provide earning a doctoral degree in less time than completing individual master’s and doctorate degrees, though this option is not available to all students. To enter a master’s program, most departments require a high GRE score, letters of recommendation, and significant research experience.

Complete a Doctorate degree.

The clinical psychology students have two options at the doctoral level: the Ph.D. and the PsyD. To find out the difference  read this article.

As well as to coursework and a dissertation, students have to complete one to two years as an intern to improve their skills and knowledge being controlled by a licensed clinical psychologist.

Complete training.

Licensure is required at any state; graduates might or might not be obliged to complete postdoctoral training. Students should check all the requirements. Those tend to focus their skills and knowledge in a specialized area, such as, for example, child or gerontology may be required completion of additional clinical training even if their state doesn’t need it.

Get and hold the license.

Licensure requirements are different in any state but are generally similar and involve completing an accredited doctoral program, finishing a set practical experience, and successfully passing final examinations.

Most doctoral programs require approximately two years – or 3,000 hours – worth of supervised experience; however, some states do not require any postdoctoral experience. Future clinical psychologists must also pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. The vital thing for a clinical psychologist is to hold a license. Continuing education is a critical component of any clinical psychologist’s career.

How to become a licensed psychologist?

To become a licensed psychologist, you have to follow the next steps:

– obtain a doctoral degree in psychology.

– accumulate supervised hours — ranging from 1,500 to 6,000 hours, depending on the state.

– pass the professional practice exam in psychology (EPPP).

– pass a jurisprudence exam, if applicable.

– get approval by a state licensing board that requirements have been met.

how to become a child psychologist child psychology

How to become a school psychologist?

A school psychologist is a person who holds a healthy school environment in which students can improve their learning abilities. The school psychologist deals with students, teachers, parents, and school administrators to help students getting the best education possible.

To become a school psychologist, you have to: 

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

An accredited bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university is an essential part of the career of the future school psychologist. 

Rarely you can find an undergraduate program in school psychology. Thus, most school psychologists start by majoring in general psychology. Mindless of your chosen major, make sure you will have disciplines, such as introductory psychology, educational psychology, child development, statistics, assessment, personality, experimental methods, and counseling. It is also recommended to be involved in volunteering with school-aged children, especially those with disabilities.

Enter for a graduate program for school psychology.

You will have to complete at least three years of full-time graduate study with 60 or more hours at the baccalaureate level. You can choose to earn a Master of Education (M.Ed.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D. or PsyD), or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in school psychology to follow all the requirements. Those who have a specialist or a doctoral degree will have the best job possibilities. One year of a graduate training program will be devoted to a full-time school psychology internship to obtain at least 1,200 hours of practice.

Become licensed and certified.

Every state has different requirements to become a school psychologist, but you will need to have at least a master’s degree, complete an internship successfully, and pass the Praxis II  with a score of 660 or higher. Many school psychologists receive the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) that give them better opportunities.

How to become a forensic psychologist?

A forensic psychologist is a person who practices psychology in the sphere of the criminal justice system and civil courts. 

To become a forensic psychologist, you have to:

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

You will have to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus on criminology or criminal justice, or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or criminology with a focus on psychology.

Get a Master’s degree in psychology.

Most doctoral programs in psychology do not foresee a dedicated forensic psychology program. Ph.D. or PsyD have to be concentrated on forensic psychology. To improve knowledge, students can get a Master’s degree in forensic psychology.

Earn a Doctorate degree. 

When you decide to become a forensic psychologist and focus your career on research and study, then a Ph.D. degree is the better variant for you. However, if you prefer to work with patients, you should get a PsyD degree as it is mostly focused on treatment.

Become licensed and certified.

If you want to become a forensic psychologist and be able to evaluate patients on behalf of the court or supply as an expert witness regarding capacity, it is needed to get a license. Each state has different licensing requirements, but most states will require a doctorate degree, passing the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology and getting a certain amount of relevant experience.

The Diploma in Forensic Psychology from the American Board of Forensic Psychology is barely postdoctoral certification for forensic psychologists accepted by the American Psychological Association may have only those, who holds a doctoral degree from a professional psychology program as well as be licensed in the jurisdiction of practice. Also, they will have to complete at least 100 hours of formal education and 1,000 hours of practical experience.

Pursuing a law degree is an essential option if you want to increase your chances of getting a better and well-paid job.

How to become a child psychologist?

A child psychologist studies the intellectual, social, and emotional development of children.

To become a child psychologist, you have to:

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

Undergraduate degrees in child psychology are rarely found. So, the essential thing is to find a program that provides courses on topics that admission officers are going to discuss with you. They might be child development and psychology, general psychology, social sciences, or statistics.

Enter for a graduate program for child psychology.

Usually, a Master’s degree takes from two to three years of full-time study. As an example, you might get a master’s degree in arts or a master’s degree in science. 

Doctoral programs are suggested as a Ph.D. in clinical child psychology or clinical psychology that is concentrated on child development and takes from five to seven years of study. Thos, who completed a master’s program, have a chance to finish the degree a year rather. Coursework must show students’ skills and knowledge in behavioral, biological, and cognitive approaches to child psychology.

Become licensed and certified.

To apply for a license, students must complete an overseen practicum supervised by the American Psychological Association. It may take one year or longer, and it is required in many states before a full license can be obtained.

After becoming licensure, a future school psychologist may earn a postdoctoral community in a position related to child psychology. After getting one to two years of such practice, you will be prepared to pass the American Board of Clinical Child as well as Adolescent Psychology’s Board Examination. Also, you must hold a doctorate degree from an APA-approved program, be currently licensed in your sphere of practice, finish a one- or two-year internship, and at least two years of post-internship experience, and pass the ABCCAP exam.

No matter what of psychologist you decide to become, you have to follow the next requirements:

– get a primary education;

– get a Bachelor’ s/Master’ s/Doctoral degree that is required by future specialization;

– become licensed and certificated;

– pass the professional practice exam in psychology authorized by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

– maintain, develop, and improve skills and knowledge.

To become a psychologist is not hard, the harder to be devoted to this profession, and to understand that value of it!

Anton Kurapov

Anton Kurapov

PhD, a professor assistant at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Fascinated by the role of psychology in lives of people and simply astonished by the complexity of the brain and its functions.

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