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Ph.D. Doctorate
Education

Psychologist Education Requirements

Most clinical, counselling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Psychologists can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. A Ph.D. in psychology is a research degree that culminates in a comprehensive exam and a dissertation based on original research. In clinical, counselling, school, or health service settings, students usually complete a one-year internship as part of the doctoral program. The Psy.D. is a clinical degree and is often based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation.

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. Because their work addresses education and mental health components of students’ development, school psychologists’ training includes coursework in both education and psychology.

Industrial organizational psychologists contribute to an organization's success by improving the performance and well-being of its people. They research and identify how behaviours and attitudes can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, and feedback systems. They also help organizations transition among periods of change and development.

When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, master’s graduates also can work as psychological assistants in clinical, counselling, or research settings. Master’s degree programs typically include courses in industrial-organizational psychology, statistics, and research design.

Entry into psychology graduate programs is competitive. Most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate major in psychology, but do require coursework in introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Some doctoral degree programs require applicants to have a master’s degree in psychology, while others will accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a major in psychology.

In most jurisdictions, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure or certification. Psychologists typically need previous related work experience. To become licensed, for example, psychologists must have completed one or more of the following: predoctoral or postdoctoral supervised experience, an internship, or a residency program. School psychologists also must complete a year-long supervised internship program to become licensed or certified.

Education History of Psychologists

The most common degree held by psychologists is Psychology. 11 percent of psychologists had a degree in psychology before becoming psychologists. That is over 4 times the average across all careers. Clinical Psychology graduates are the second most common among psychologists, representing 3 percent of psychologists in the Sokanu user base, which is 59.0 times the average.

Psychologist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Psychologist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of psychologists % of population Multiple
Psychology 11.2%
3.0%
3.8×
Clinical Psychology 3.0%
0.1%
59.0×

Psychologist Education Levels

84% of psychologists have a doctorate degree. 16% of psychologists have a master's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 0%
Bachelor's degree 0%
Master's degree 16%
Doctorate degree 84%

How to Become a Psychologist

Interested in becoming a psychologist? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good psychologist? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A doctorate degree is required to be a Psychologist. A psychology degree is preferred.

  3. Get Hired

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    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.

Further Reading

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good psychologist? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

Take the free career test

Recommended Books

  • Psychology, 10th Edition www.amazon.com

    David Myers’ bestselling Psychology has reached a wider audience of students and instructors with each new edition. Myers and his team lead the field in being attuned to psychology’s research and the needs of the instructors and students in the course today. Ten million student class testers and thousands of adopting instructors can attest to the quality of this project. True to form, this landmark new Tenth Edition is another vigorous, deeply considered revision.

  • Ethical Conflicts in Psychology www.amazon.com

    Widely adopted as a textbook in graduate psychology courses in ethics and continuing education development, this innovative volume presents readers with over 100 different perspectives on crucial ethical issues and offers possible solutions from an expert ethics educator, psychologist, and former APA general counsel.

  • Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions: Standards and Cases www.amazon.com

    This revised volume considers many of the ethical questions and dilemmas that mental health professionals encounter in their everyday practice, research, and teaching. The book has been completely updated and is now also relevant for counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, and psychiatrists, and includes the ethics codes of those groups as appendices.

  • Research In Psychology: Methods and Design www.amazon.com

    The sixth edition provides psychologists with insight into the essential nature of experimental psychology and a solid grounding in its methods and practices. It has been updated to help them develop research ideas, hypotheses, and design studies. In addition, they’ll find out how to carry them out, analyze results and draw reasoned conclusions from them.

  • Starting a Successful Practice in Clinical Psychology and Counseling: A Guide for Students in Psychology and New Career Psychologists www.amazon.com

    Clinical psychology is a quickly growing profession, yet it is a challenging one: the preparation is arduous, the training is highly selective, and the results – an established and financially successful practice – are not easy to achieve. This book explains how to prepare for and surmount all of the hurdles presented to those who hope to eventually develop a lucrative and rewarding practice in clinical psychology.

  • Becoming a Psychologist: Is Psychology Really the Career for You? www.amazon.com

    Deciding on whether or not to pursue a career in psychology involves a number of factors that one needs to take into account before making this decision. This book is designed to give you a comprehensive overview with everything you need to know about the world of psychology from preparing for a degree in psychology to developing a career within the discipline.

How to Become a Psychologist

Interested in becoming a psychologist? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good psychologist? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    A doctorate degree is required to be a Psychologist. A psychology degree is preferred.

  3. Get Hired

      Loading jobs...

    View all jobs →

    Would you like to post jobs on this career? Find the best candidates using Sokanu's new psychometric job platform. Visit employers.sokanu.com today.