USA Career Guide - Psychologists

Education needed to be Psychologists

You can enter this field with all the levels of education, beginning with bachelors to Psy.D. degree, the level of formal education determines the capacity you can work.

  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in fields such as business administration, sales, or education

  • Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work as industrial-organizational psychologists or psychological assistants in clinical, counseling, or research settings

  • School psychologists need a master’s, specialist (Ed. S. degree, which requires a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours), or doctoral degree in school psychology.

  • Clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Psychologists can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. In clinical, counseling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a 1-year internship as part of the doctoral program.

Licenses and Certification

To begin your career as psychologists it is mandatory to be licensed or certified. Licensure requirements differ from one state to another, so it is important to understand the specific requirements for the state in which one is seeking licensure.

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 13 areas of psychology, The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certifies individuals in thirteen areas of the field of psychology including:
•    Psychoanalysis
•    Rehabilitation
•    Forensic
•    Group
•    School
•    Clinical health
•    Couple and family

Certification in some specialty areas of psychology is an option for the practicing psychologist. Certification of psychologists is performed by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and is based on an application of information provided by the practicing psychologist and a passing score on a board certification exam. All specialty boards require an oral examination for certification. Clinical neuro-psychology and forensic psychology additionally require passing a written examination to receive certification. For the most part, certification is a voluntary process that psychologists complete in order to gain recognition in their field and further their employment opportunities. The exception to this rule is for school psychologists, who must be licensed and certified.

Pay of Psychologists

The long duration of education is balanced by high salary of the psychologists. As reported by BLS median annual wage of psychologists was $68,640 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,200, and the top 10 percent earned more than $111,810.


 Median annual wages of psychologist occupations (May 2010)
     $87,330 for industrial-organizational psychologists
     $66,810 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists
     $89,900 for psychologists, all other

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13

Job Prospects of Psychologists

Overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.
Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is expected to grow 22 percent, faster than the average for all occupations. Greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies should drive employment growth. Psychologists have future in terms of employment and earning high salary in the United States.

Industrial Overview of Psychologists

Psychologists held about 174,000 jobs in 2010. About 34 percent of psychologists were self-employed, 29 percent worked in educational services, and 20 percent worked in healthcare settings.
Psychologists can work in different settings as individual counselor or work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians, social workers, and others to treat illness and promote overall wellness. Most research psychologists work in colleges and universities, government agencies, or private research organizations.

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13
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