For many Filipinos, becoming a psychologist is not the kind of career one carries as their lifelong dream. Rather, it is one that they grow into by finding a passion in nurturing the mind of oneself and others. However, turning this newfound passion into a dream, and eventually into a reality is a task that is easier said than done. Many of those contemplating this path wonder how hard it is to become a psychologist, so to make things easier for any hopeful professional psychologists out there, we compiled this short guide that answers some of the most common questions about becoming a psychologist!
How do I Become a Psychologist?
Often, the first hurdle for many students hoping to become psychologists is enrolling and passing in a BA Psychology course at a college that you can stick with. There are a number of factors to consider when making this decision, such as the quality of the psychology education you will be receiving, the proximity of the college to your place of residence, the passing rate and difficulty of getting into your school of choice, and even the cost of your psychology education on top of all the other expenses you have to think of such as allowance, living expenses (if applicable), and books. Some of these factors can be circumvented by enrolling in an online college in the Philippines that offers psychology. Some students will go so far as to enroll in review centers, especially if they want an extra edge for getting into their preferred university and program. However, to truly earn the title of psychologist, further studies and licensure is necessary.
How Do I Get a Psychology Degree?
Securing an undergraduate degree would require you to undergo four years of studying various theories and principles, as well as several case studies that dabble in psychology, anthropology, and sociology to better understand how the human mind works across different situations and cultures. Successfully earning an undergraduate psychology degree would also require plenty of coursework, such as exams and experiments of your own to test and prove your own theories. Most college students in this course would cap off their fourth year by submitting a dissertation that tests their hypothesis and successfully interpret the experiment results for actionable findings.
How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Psychologist?
Generally, becoming a psychologist will require around eight to twelve years of education, reviewing, and training. If you have ever wondered how many years you need to study psychology in order to practice it, you will spend a minimum of four years studying it as your undergraduate degree, and another two to three years taking a Master’s Program in Psychology. This level of investment will give you the opportunity to practice your degree as a family counselor, or perhaps as a marriage and family therapist as your profession. Of course, this kind of education is an additional cost on top of your undergraduate degree, so we highly recommended that you gain experience or work in a related field while earning your master’s degree. An even better option would be to enroll in your online master’s course, so you can accomplish your coursework remotely whenever you have free time.
On the other hand, people who want to dive into becoming licensed clinical psychologists would need to spend an additional four to seven years working on their doctorate degree and coming up with a doctorate degree dissertation before capping off their education by reviewing for their licensure exam. Only once they have passed can they move forward and begin intensive training for an additional two years. Furthering one’s education in psychology and attaining a license to practice is a necessary step to guarantee that a clinical psychologist is fully equipped with the right mindset and experience needed to tackle their patients’ concerns.
As a medical professional, clinical psychologists are held to a higher standard as they will be responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of the mental and behavioral conditions of their patients. Because their conditions are not visible to the naked eye, their family members, peers, and colleagues are more prone to misunderstanding their actions. This can lead to deeply-rooted feelings of isolation, rejection, and even resentment which can continue to fester and cause harm to both the patient and to those around them if left untreated.
Because of these factors, becoming a clinical psychologist has many requirements that must be fulfilled. Is it hard to become a psychologist? Yes! But through the additional education, licensure, and training that are all needed to finally begin practicing as a clinical psychologist, you can look forward to a meaningful career of helping your patients get back on their feet– by managing their mental health and behavioral conditions with your expert care and treatment.
Does a Psychology Graduate Need to Become a Clinical Psychologist?
Not at all. Graduates of a bachelor program in psychology can find illustrious and fulfilling careers by taking their masters and doctorate degrees in social work, philosophy, and even dive into law school. Your undergraduate degree in psychology can easily become a stepping stone to the right career for you, so you do not have to confine yourself to the field of psychology for the rest of your life. Treat your education in psychology as an edge to better understanding the people around you. If you look at it in this manner, then you will soon realize that there is no shortage of applications for your course. Here are a few examples that you can explore outside the field of psychology:
If you have ever dreamt of being a lawyer, then you should know that psychology is one of the most popular pre-law courses. Undergraduates from psychology have a better understanding of human behavior, which can mold them into more effective and convincing lawyers that command respect in any case they handle in a court room.
Passionate about your advocacies? Or maybe you are good with kids? Social work allows you to put your psych learnings into practice as you help both kids and adults alike work through a difficult time in their life. For many of your clients, you will be a beacon of hope and comfort through a time where they feel alone, and your expertise in psychology will help you better asses their situation or refer them to the right professionals or NGOs if need be.
Maybe you enjoyed the research work you did as a student? Or perhaps you like the idea of passing on your knowledge to undergrads just like you, once upon a time. Psychology graduates can find meaningful work as experienced professors that hone college students dipping their feet into the field, while conducting valuable research that helps other professionals in various areas of psychology by adding to the wealth of knowledge and published journals out for public reference.
Regardless of which path you wish to take after pursuing your psychology degree in college, there is no shortage of options out there that you can explore. Take the first step of becoming a psychologist by enrolling in a course for psychology, or if this article confirmed that it might not be for you, then explore other courses that you might want to take instead!