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What does a Psychologist do?

Psychologists provide counseling and therapy to those suffering from emotional, learning or behavioral problems. Psychologists may work in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, private practice, colleges and universities, corporations, and government. They study behavior, cognitive functioning and emotions to understand, compare and explain people’s actions. There are clinical and counseling psychologists. Counseling psychologists study career development and also counsel people regarding career and educational choices. Educational and school psychologists do assessments to help diagnose problems school-aged children may have in regard to learning. There also are cognitive psychologists who study cognition and artificial intelligence.

What might a Psychologist do in a workday?

Clinical and counseling psychologists:

  • diagnose and treat psychological problems.
  • collect data through interviews, case histories and observation.
  • develop, select, administer and interpret psychological tests, surveys and experiments.
  • counsel individuals, groups and couples.
  • confer with parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and others.
  • follow up to determine the effectiveness of treatment.
  • conduct research.
  • develop and evaluate mental health programs.
  • consult with social, educational, medical or other agencies.
  • write for professional and trade journals or other media.
  • teach in colleges and universities.
  • evaluate and consult with organizations.

Developing a Career as a Psychologist

Clinical and counseling psychologists may specialize in teaching, research, therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, community health, physiology and psychopharmacology. They may choose to concentrate their work on a specific age group or psychological problem.

  • Clinical psychologists evaluate, diagnose and treat mentally and emotionally disturbed people and are concerned with preventing and treating mental and emotional disorders.
  • Educational psychologists design, develop and evaluate techniques and materials to solve problems in education/training programs.
  • School psychologists work with average, gifted and physically or mentally challenged students.
  • Psychometrists or quantitative psychologists develop and implement intelligence, aptitude, achievement and other tests and analyze results.
  • Developmental psychologists investigate emotional, mental, physical and social growth and development.
  • Social psychologists study human relationships to understand individual and group feeling, thought and behavior.
  • Experimental psychologists plan, conduct and analyze experiments in human and animal learning, thinking, motivation and perception.
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists develop and apply psychological techniques to personnel administration, management and marketing problems.

How much salary do Psychologists make?

Average Salary Range
$45,000-$70,000

How do I become a Psychologist?

Students interested in becoming psychologists should prepare by taking challenging high school courses in science, math and English, including advanced placement courses.

Licensed psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology from an accredited university with training in the area(s) of intended practice. Those who want to specialize in clinical services also must complete two years of supervised postdoctoral experience and one year of internship (or two years of part-time experience). Applicants must pass two written examinations as required by the certifying board. School psychologists must hold at least a master’s degree.

Where else can I learn about becoming a Psychologist?

Professional Associations

American Psychological Association
Society of Clinical Psychology
750 First St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(800) 374-2721
www.apa.org

American Academy of Clinical Psychology
P. O. Box 700341
San Antonio, TX 78270-0341
(909) 626-5579
www.aacpsy.org

State License Requirements for Psychologists

A license is required to practice psychology in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/Psychology.

Virginia Board of Psychology
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive
Suite 300
Henrico, Virginia 23233-1463
Phone: (804) 367-4697
Email: psy@dhp.virginia.gov

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