Steps to Becoming a Psychologist

The study of psychology at the undergraduate level exposes students to various psychology specialties. Most often, students move on to graduate study in their area of interest. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology begin with core classes that provide a foundation in ethics, research, cognitive processes and the relationship between biology and human behavior.

As students progress in a psychology program, courses offer an introduction to specialties such as:

 

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Industrial/organizational psychology
  • Social psychology

Coursework helps students understand how people change throughout their lives, the relationship between individuals and society and the implications of personality as well as mental illnesses, counseling and psychological assessment tools.

With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, graduates may choose to immediately begin careers as case managers, probation officers, group home coordinators or rehab specialists, among other possibilities. Those who want to become licensed counselors, such as marriage and family therapists, must continue their studies and earn a master’s degree, then take state-mandated tests to become licensed to practice. Other master’s degree programs in psychology lead to careers as educational psychologists, industrial and organizational psychologists and media psychologists.

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