How to Become a Psychologist
Psychology is the study of the human mind and our behaviors, bridging medical, social, and cognitive sciences. It has a broad range of uses, including medical, marketing, creative industries, charity work, and more. If you’re currently searching for psychology programs, this guide can help point you in the right direction.
Most colleges and universities offer psychology undergraduate degrees and graduate programs. However, it is wise to examine each degree type for which subjects and courses they offer. If you're looking at a specific career path, examine your choice of concentrations, as some will be better at opening specialty career pathways. Though it’s not a requirement to specialize – many students opt to major in general psychology, especially for undergraduate degrees – narrowing in on a specialization can help you choose the right educational pathway for you.
While conducting your psychology degree program search, you may come across accredited and unaccredited options. It is always advisable to opt for an accredited program, especially if you intend to enter clinical practice. Accreditation means that the program or the school provably passes minimum quality standards on teaching. Most licensing and certification bodies require that you graduate from an accredited psychology program, so it’s important to ensure that your school fits the bill.
The main accrediting body for psychology programs and schools is the APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA). Regional accreditation can also be found for traditional campus-based colleges as well.
If you intend to enter clinical practice, counseling, or related, you will need a license. You can only apply once you have finished the program and do so in your state of residence. This license must be renewed every two or three years depending on the state. Licensing is not usually required for most other non-clinical roles.
Curious about the process for becoming licensed as a psychologist in your state? From educational requirements to exams, find out everything you need to know.