Psychology Graduate Schools
A psychologist diagnoses, studies, and treats behavior and mental health issues for clients. Many specializations can be studied at psychology graduate programs. Common specializations include clinical, counseling, developmental, forensic, and social. The variety in the field of psychology allows psychologists to treat the clients that they feel the most comfortable with.
Psychology graduate programs typically look for excellent listeners with strong organizational skills. Unlike a medical doctor, a psychologist must diagnose and treat a client based upon their behavior and what they say. A psychologist must be a skilled conversationalist and be able to interpret exactly what a client means. Some clients may use nuanced language or indirect forms of communication. A psychologist should be patient enough to see a client repeatedly. Some treatment plans may take months or years before a client reaches their goals. Psychologists should be willing to work in teams with other medical professionals. A client with mental health issues also may have physical difficulties. A comprehensive treatment plan allows clients to fully regain their mental and physical health.
At minimum, a psychologist will need a master’s degree or doctorate from accredited psychology graduate schools for nearly all jobs. A doctorate is required for nearly all psychology research or teaching positions.
For most psychology graduate schools, a doctorate will take 5 years or more of full-time study. Additionally, a year of supervised experience in a clinical setting may also be required. At the end of the study, an original dissertation will need to be submitted. The dissertation represents all that the psychologist has learned during their education.
In a majority of psychology graduate schools, a master’s degree will require at least 2 years of full-time study at the graduate level. Practical experience requirements may vary depending upon the institution. An original thesis will be required at the conclusion to receive a master’s degree.
Psychology specializations may have specific additional requirements in addition to the degree requirements. Nearly all specializations will require additional practical experience. A psychologist usually practices in a supervised setting.
All states require that psychologists who will provide care for clients receive a license. This includes the District of Columbia. Although specific requirements may vary by the state, common requirements in most states are:
- a master’s degree or doctorate from an accredited institution
- an approved internship for at least 6 months
- 1 to 2 years of professional experience
- passing a state-sanctioned examination
- adherence to a code of conduct
To renew a psychology license, education credits often must be submitted. This can keep a psychologist updated on the latest news in their field. Some employers may compensate psychologists for their continuing education.