The human mind is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind. The mind controls all the movements of the body, allows for in depth thought, and controls our decision making processes. Our minds have the ability to enhance our lives or in the case of mental diseases entrap us in a world few people can understand. The job of a psychologist is to study the human mind and try to explain why people act the way they do. Psychologists’ use research methods such as laboratory tests, interviews, and surveys to help them better understand how the human mind works. Becoming a psychologist requires the completion of an advanced psychologist degree.
In order to become a psychologist individuals must complete a Doctorate level education, especially if they are going to be individually employed in the career field. Psychologists’ often specialize in one are or another with many helping people battle mental diseases or disorders, while others help people overcome problems in their lives such as depression, divorce, or death of a loved one. Individuals interested in a psychologist degree will choose between one of the two following doctorates:
- Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology/Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.)
Completing one of these two psychologist degrees requires a lengthy education. After completion of an undergraduate degree, individuals must gain admission to a graduate psychology program that awards one of the above mentioned Doctorates and is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Most graduate programs prefer that individuals have at least a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, but will sometimes accept those who have a different Bachelor’s degree as long as they have completed coursework including biological, physical, and social sciences, as well as statistics and mathematics. Doctorate programs take anywhere from five to seven years and include advanced coursework, research, and culminate with a defense of dissertation.
While there are other psychologist degrees individuals can pursue, the Doctorate level degrees are the only ones that allow an individual to practice on their own as a psychologist. The other degrees include:
- Bachelor of Psychology
- Master of Psychology
The Bachelor of Psychology allows individuals to gain entry level positions as administrative or other assistants to psychologists in community mental health centers, vocational rehabilitation offices, and correctional programs. Most individuals with this degree move into other career fields such as sales or business. Those with a Master of Psychology degree can work as psychologists in industrial or organizational settings, but often work as assistants in research settings under the supervision of a psychologist with a Doctorate.