Career as a Psychologist – Your Career Guide!


Why give Psychologists money to listen? That even my friend does!

Yeh toh Pagalon ka doctor hai! Unke pass jane se ham bhi pagal ho jayenge! (A psychologist is a doctor for mad people. Even I’ll go mad if I go to them)

Therapy is so expensive! They should do it for free if they care about people’s mental health!

What you don't do as a psychologist
Also be ready to encounter people who will ask you to read their minds. Source

I am sure you might have heard at least one of these statements by people around you, especially if you are already in the mental health field. These are the common statement that psychologists hears on a daily basis due to the taboo and ignorance that people have about the field. Let me provide you with a response to these statements.

  1. When your friend listens to you, they usually provide you with a piece of advice. Psychologists never advise! They listen, but that’s not the only thing they do. With years of clinical training, they provide you with a non-judgemental space and will help you understand why you think, behave and act the way you do!
  2. This is like saying that when you visit your general physician, your illness will increase. Just doesn’t make sense.
  3. First of all, people should care about their own mental health. Additionally, a psychologist also has bills to pay. The solution here should be to make therapy accessible and not free of cost!

If this information excites you about the career as a Psychologist then read further to know more about it- the education, various job roles, skills, salary insights and much more!

What does a Psychologist do?

A psychologist is a qualified mental health expert who teaches people how to manage their mental health issues in healthy ways. They can support people going through difficult times in life, such as grieving the loss of a loved one, or those who are coping with specific conditions like depression or anxiety. To be qualified to offer a variety of mental health services, they must complete years of school and training.

Psychologists examine and support the treatment of people’s cognitive, emotional, and social behavior. 

Assessing and comprehending the ideas, feelings, and actions of their customers is one of their key objectives. They accomplish this by:

  • Recognizing emotional and behavioral patterns
  • Create initiatives that address psychological challenges to enhance workplaces and schools.
  • Observations, interviews, surveys, exams, and other procedures should be used to gather information.
  • Discover patterns that will aid in understanding and behavior prediction.
  • Work with individuals, couples, and families to assist them in modifying their behavior as desired.
  • Determine and classify emotional, behavioral, and mental illnesses.
  • Creating effective treatment plans

Job Roles of a Psychologist

There are various specializations that a Psychologist can choose during their Masters. And these specializations become a job in itself. However, there is a lot more that they can do. The following are some of the most common roles:

  • Clinical Psychologist:
    Clinical psychologists examine, identify, and deal with emotional, behavioural, and mental illnesses. They assist patients in resolving challenges ranging from minor, transient issues to serious and persistent conditions.
    They frequently conduct patient interviews, administer diagnostic exams, and deliver individual, family, or group psychotherapy, however specific techniques vary by speciality.
    But other than hospitals and clinics, they are also eligible to be a University professors, free-lance consultants and researcher.
  • Counseling Psychologist:
    Psychologists that specialise in counselling assist patients in understanding and resolving difficulties, whether they arise at home, at work, or in their local community. These psychologists help their patients find their resources or strengths through counselling so they can use them to deal with issues.
    The difference between counseling and clinical psychologist is that a counseling psychologist is not trained to deal with that part of the population that suffers from serious mental health disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, dissociative identity disorder and the like.
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychologist:
    Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychology to the workplace by utilising psychological theories, research techniques, and problem-solving techniques to enhance workplace productivity. They research topics including employee morale, management or employee working methods, and workplace productivity.
    They job roles also include that of a recruiter, training and development managers, and training and development specialists with organisational development, and policy creation.
What are the job roles of a psychologist
Some of the other options that a psychologist can work as.
  • Forensic Psychologist:

Judges, attorneys, and other legal professionals can better grasp the psychological components of a case with the assistance of forensic psychologists who apply psychological principles to the legal and criminal justice systems. They frequently give expert witness testimony in court. In general, they concentrate on family, civil, or criminal casework.

  • School Psychologist
    School psychologists use psychological theories and methods to treat developmental and educational issues. They may deal with the academic and behavioural issues that students might have, develop and carry out performance plans, assess performances, and offer guidance to both students and their families. To offer changes to teaching, learning, and administrative practises, they may also speak with other school-based experts.

Other than these, psychologists are found largely in the roles of market researcher, counsellor, career guidance, and neuroscience.

Career Path to becoming a Psychologist

The path to become a Psychologist is quite clear. Post your 10th, choose the subject of Psychology in 11th and 12th grade as it is mandatory for taking admissions into an undergraduate program. Post 12th you can choose either of the following paths:

PATH 1: Through Humanities

One of the option to become a Psychologist it to take up humanities in your 11th and 12th grade, following which you can pursue Bachelor’s of Arts with psychology as your majors. A three- to four-year undergraduate degree in BA psychology is available to those who are interested in learning about the complexity of human behaviour. It comprises several fundamental courses that introduce students to the study of human behaviour, the mind, and development. For a deeper grasp of psychology and its applications, the course syllabus includes research methods, statistics, and theoretical frameworks.

Career paths to becoming a psychologist
An accurate representation of what you will learn!
Personal experience talking here. Source

Post your B.A., you can opt for a Masters of Arts (M.A.) with the specialization of your choice. Some of the most prominent choices that students usually make include counseling, clinical and industrial/organizational psychology. Two years make up the course duration. Clinical psychology, health psychology, work psychology, social psychology, neuropsychology, emotions, and paradigm studies will all be thoroughly explained to the students. Dissertation and research work are the major focus of the program.

PATH 2: Through Science

You can also opt for a three-year undergraduate programme called BSc Psychology which is dedicated to the investigation of the human mind, emotions, social growth, and uniqueness. A BSc in psychology also examines human behaviour, a person’s capacity for handling crises, and mental illness.

Over the course of six semesters, BSc Psychology courses cover topics like Stress & Well-Being, Memory, Attention and Perception, Psychology of Individual Differences, Statistical Methods for Psychological Research, Biopsychology, Introduction to Psychology, Nature and Methods of Physiological Psychology, and more. The decision of doing a B.A. or a B.Sc can be made based on the subjects you like.

Similary you can opt for a M.Sc in Psychology post your Bachelors. The course syllabus is similar to that of a M.A.

To get a complete idea on how to become a Psychologist, you can check out this blog!

Salary in different stages of Career as a Psychologist

Salary of a Psychologist in India

A psychologist’s salary in India ranges between ₹ 0.6 Lakhs to ₹ 8.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 3.7 Lakhs.

Based on the level of experience and the kind of employment you seek, you can expect to keep growing in the field.

Skills required to become a Psychologist

If you are considering becoming a psychologist, these are a few skills that you must possess and work on improving. 

  1. Research 
    Psychologists conduct and apply research to better understand and treat patients. Since there are so many scientific journals and research articles available, psychologists may need to examine them to establish their accuracy and trustworthiness. Before implementing a therapy method on patients, psychologists want to make sure that it has been proven to be helpful.
  1. Ethical 
    Psychologists act ethically by creating professional relationships with people they treat and respecting the privacy of their clients. The topics discussed during a session are kept private, allowing the client to talk freely and develop trust in their psychologist. Psychologists are also objective because they do not impose their personal beliefs or views on patients.
Observation GIFs
Just like baby Yoda, observing is a great skill to develop! Source
  1. Observational
    Psychologists utilise observation to figure out how people are feeling and reacting to various situations. They employ these abilities in both research and direct client care. Psychologists assess the client’s body language and facial expressions in addition to listening to what they say. Even if a person does not communicate their sentiments verbally, these observations can assist psychologists comprehend how they feel.
    Having awareness is another aspect of observation. Psychologists understand how people are affected by their surroundings through educational training. This understanding gives us insight into why people act the way they do.
  1. Problem-solving
    To establish the optimal strategy to solve a problem, psychologists might combine numerous skills, such as critical thinking and analytical skills. To establish effective treatment strategies, they may need to apply their psychological understanding and varied perspectives. 
  1. Critical thinking
    Psychologists use critical thinking abilities to understand data and make conclusions. They may, for example, ask questions to determine whether a treatment is the best alternative and while what may have worked on someone in a similar situation, may not work on another client. Critical thinking involves a degree of scepticism as well. This skill enables psychologists to evaluate research and clients more thoroughly. When talking with clients, they may not always get the full story. They trust that the clients’ feelings are valid but also ask probing questions to gain further insights.
  1. Analytical thinking
    Psychologists learn a lot about human behaviour and the ideas that explain it. They’ll require analytical skills to boil down these complicated theories into principles they can utilise to assess, diagnose, and treat people. They often develop these abilities while in school by doing and understanding psychological research. They turn the data they obtain throughout their research into psychological insights or hypotheses by analysing it. Psychologists typically learn the ability to discover patterns in human behaviour by working with and studying people. Recognizing trends in a client can assist them in determining the best treatment options.
  1. Empathy
    Empathy is the ability to understand and empathise with another person’s feelings or experiences. Because psychologists can put themselves in the shoes of their patients, they can use this method to deliver more individualised treatment to their patients. Because some of the topics discussed with a psychologist can be delicate, empathy shows that they care about their patients’ feelings.
  1. Communication
    Psychologists must be able to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally. The ability to write may be more important in research, where psychologists prepare and disseminate reports or presentations on their results. Although psychologists must have a variety of communication abilities, they must be able to effectively communicate with their clients and make them feel at ease. They must talk clearly to ensure understanding because they provide advice and recommendations. They may also need to adapt their communication style based on the demands of the individual. 
Listen Intently
Don’t just hear! Listen intently! Source
  1. Listening
    Psychologists must be able to communicate verbally with clients as well as listen to them in order to comprehend their requirements. Psychologists can identify patterns or insights in what clients say by paying close attention to what they say. This can help them develop therapies or provide guidance. They can use active listening skills like asking clarifying questions to be sure they’ve understood the client accurately.

Is becoming a Psychologist a good career option?

Due to the growing emphasis on mental health and welfare, psychology is a crucial discipline nowadays. In India, psychology is becoming more and more popular, and demand is growing. You will have the possibility to work in several fields after graduation. Especially after the pandemic, corporations as well as the general public have realized the importance of mental health, subsequently increasing the number of jobs available for them.

Additionally, you are well-positioned to pursue employment in both the arts and sciences with a psychology degree, depending on your interest. Public and private healthcare, education, mental health support, social work, therapy, and counselling all offer a wide range of possibilities. India is also in need of real ethical research work. Thus, if you are inclined towards research you can opt for positions like that of market researcher or university professor which are very well-paid jobs.

Types of Industries hiring for a Psychologist

A Psychologist can work anywhere there are humans! So literally everywhere! But some of the industries that you can check out to see where you fit include the following:

  • Education -Univeristy
  • Education- Schools
  • Ed-tech
  • Sex-ed
  • Research
  • Health-care
  • Governmental organizations
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Mental health organizations
  • Career guidance/ Coaching
  • Marketing and Advertising agencies
  • Human Resource consultancies
  • Corporate social responsibility programs

Top Recruiters in India 

  • Appolo Life 
  • National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences 
  • Energia Wellbeing Pvt. Ltd. 
  • HeartItOut 
  • Accenture 
  • YourDost 
  • Google 
  • All India Institute of Mental Sciences
  • Fortis HealthCare 

Courses to Upskill as a Psychologist

Confused about whether the career of a Psychologist is for you? It is understandable. After all, it is a difficult career and not everyone is made for it. So the solution here is that you can try out a few online courses after your 10th to get a hang of the subject (and not practice) or to upskill yourself if you are already in the field. Here are some of them that you can try: 

Certificate Courses Institute offering the course Duration 
Fundamentals of Psychology edX 8 Weeks 
The science of everyday thinking edX12 Weeks 
Social Psychology Weslayan University through Coursera 1-3 Months 
The Science of Well-Being Yale University through Coursera 1-3 Months 
Introduction to developmental Psychology edX8 Weeks 
Foundations of Positive Psychology University of Pennsylvania through Coursera 3-6 Months 
Introduction to Psychology Yale University through Coursera 1-3 Months 
Exploring Psychology’s core concepts edX6 Weeks 

Want to start your own Practice? Try Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA Entrepreneurship program and upskill yourself to start an enterprise.

Qualifications to become a Psychologist

To become a Psychologist, you would require the subject of Psychology in your 11th and 12th grade- be it any stream. The next section provides with the degrees you can pursue in India and Abroad

Degrees in India

a) UG Degrees

To begin your journey to become a psychologist, there are three undergraduate degrees that you can pursue: 

Undergraduate Course Duration 
B.A. with majors in Psychology 3 Years 
B.A. (Hons) in Psychology 3 Years
BSc. with majors in Psychology 3 Years

b) PG Degrees

A Masters in any of the specialization is mandatory for you to practice as a psychologist- especially in the clinical setting. Some of the degrees that you can pursue include:

Post-graduate Course Duration 
M.A. Masters of Art 2 Years 
M.Sc Master of Science 2Years
P.hD or M.Phil 3-5 Years

Degrees Abroad

Similar to India, a B.A. or a B.Sc in Psychology is the degree that you can pursue abroad. These take about 3-4 years to complete. Post the Bachelor’s, there are various options for you choose for your Masters. A M.A. or a M.Sc is the option you have.

Some of the courses that you can try include:

  • Master of Arts in Clinical and Counselling Psychology
  • Master of Liberal Arts program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • MS Applied Psychology
  • Business and Organisational Psychology MSc
  • M.Sc. In Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care : Child Life Practicev
  • M.A. in Psychology

Depending on the country you apply to, these courses usually take 1-2 years to complete. Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!

Want to know more? Check these out:

Here are some top recommended books if you want to get a hang of the subject of Psychology:

  • Man’s search for meaning- Victor Frankl
  • Outliers- Malcom Gladwell
  • Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahnman
  • Atomic Habits- James Clear
  • Nudge- Richard and Cass

Some of the top psychologist whose work you would want to know include:

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Alfred Adler
  • Eric Erickson
  • Elizabeth Loftus
  • Albert Bandura
  • Martin Seligman
  • Paul Ekman

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions about Career as Psychologist

Are psychologists in India in demand?

In India, psychology is becoming more and more popular, and demand is growing. 
You will have the possibility to work in several fields after graduation. There is a need for counsellors in NGOs, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, etc.

Is psychology a worthwhile field of study in India?

Being a very gratifying and lucrative topic of study, psychology is gaining popularity and demand in India. It goes without saying that psychology as a profession has a 
very broad range.

Is a psychologist a doctor?

Psychologists have completed at least six years of supervised academic training. They might additionally possess a psychology masters or doctoral degree. A psychologist may use the title “Dr.” if they have a doctorate (PhD), but they are not medical doctors.

Does psychology need NEET?

After 10+2, NEET is not necessary to enrol in a psychology course. There are no specified courses that are required to earn a psychology degree. The relevant universities hold entrance tests for some notable institutions that offer admission.

Is it hard to become psychologist?

Although becoming a psychologist involves a significant time commitment, it may also be a tough and rewarding career. Before deciding whether or not becoming a psychologist is the best career decision for you, take into account your goals, available resources, and a few viable alternatives.

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