Mental well-being has a major impact on your quality of life, and there are plenty of factors and diseases that can affect the mind. From depression to substance abuse to anxiety, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 25% of adults in the US suffer from a mental illness in any given year and that 50% of US adults will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. As a psychologist, your job is to help people deal with these problems.
A psychologist is a non-medical PhD who specializes in the study of human behavior and the human mind. However, the field of psychology is very vast, and by pursuing a psychology major, you can choose from numerous career paths. For example, a bachelor’s degree in psychology will allow you to pursue careers in business, marketing, human relations, and family care, among others. Some of these fields are open to psychology majors because of the curriculum that teaches the theory of the mind and observations of human behavior in addition to quantitative analysis skills of data and information.
The Steps You Will Take in Your Education as a Psychologist
There are several steps to becoming a psychologist, but the education you receive along the way will allow you to choose a career and put a pause on your education at almost any point. Here is the most common path that students take when becoming a psychologist:
1. Earn a Psychology bachelor’s degree
It all starts with the bachelor’s degree, which will educate you in the concepts of general, experimental, and developmental psychology, along with skills related to statistical analysis. This degree will open up several career paths for you right off the bat, from marketing to human resources, but you will likely need to further your studies if you want to start a career in psychology.
2. Gain work experience
At this point, it is important to attain as much real-world experience as possible by perhaps helping a professor with a research project or volunteering in a mental health clinic. Your practice will depend on the type of career you want going forward. Do you want to work in the field of developmental psychology, or are you more interested in counseling? You can always ask a professor for advice if you are not sure how to proceed. At Robert Morris University, we have streamlined this process by offering work experience programs as part of our curriculum.
3. Research graduate programs and choose a specialty
As you are reaching the end of your undergraduate studies, it is time to do some research on the various schools and graduate programs available so that you can decide which field of psychology is best suited for your practice. You should also consider the best degree going forward. Will you need a master’s degree, EdS, EdD, PhD, or PsyD?
4. Earn a doctorate in psychology and go through an internship
To work in most fields of psychology, you will need to earn a doctorate and work through a two-year internship. To enter most psychology graduate schools, you will need to score over 1200 on your GRE and earn a GPA of 3.3 or higher, along with work experience in the field. Your internship will need to be APA-approved as well.
5. Earn your license and begin your practice
All states in the US will require you to earn a license to practice. In order to attain this license, you will need to fulfill a set of requirements, pass a national exam, and, in some states, present a case study to a state-approved board of psychologists.
If you would like to take the first step on your journey to becoming a psychology major in Chicago, contact us today. We will gladly help you out with any questions you may have.