FAQ About Becoming A Psychologist

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Do you want to know how to become a psychologist? First, you need to learn which degree is required for your preferred specialty and second, you must understand which psychology degree requirements you must meet to graduate.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Psychologist?

This depends on the type of psychology degree you choose, as well as your pace of learning. There are different psychology major requirements for each program, but on average, a bachelor’s degree in psychology may take between 4 to 6 years and a master’s degree can take between 2 to 3 years. If you decide to pursue a doctoral degree, this may take between 3 to 7 years.

become a psychologist timeline

What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A psychologist studies the mind and behavior; a psychiatrist studies medicine. A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor who can prescribe medication, while a psychologist cannot (except in Louisana and New Mexico). There are different psychology degree requirements for each.

What is the difference between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in psychology?

A bachelor of arts degree is designed for those looking for careers in social work, business, counseling or education and a bachelor of science degree is for those looking for careers in research or medicine. There are different psychology degree requirements for each program but if you just want to know how to become a psychologist, either degree can get you there. Another thing to note, is that psychology major requirements vary from liberal arts-type courses to science, math and statistics courses.

What will I learn as a psychology major?

  • Concepts, theories and history of psychology
  • Research, statistics and data analysis
  • How to use skeptical inquiry and a scientific approach to behavioral issues
  • Effective communication and listening skills
  • Reading comprehension and writing skills
  • Social and cultural awareness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-management and self-improvement

Can I become a psychologist if I don’t major in psychology?

Yes, you can still become a psychologist as long as you get your graduate degree in psychology. Although getting into graduate school for psychology is competitive, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is not required for a graduate degree. However, courses in introductory psychology, experimental psychology and statistics are psychology major requirements to get into graduate school.

Do I need a license to become a psychologist?

Yes, you may need a license, which depends on the state you want to work in. There are various processes you will need to follow.

What is the average salary?

The median salary for psychologists is $68,460.ii

What are the employment trends for psychology?

If you are considering a degree in psychology, there is a lot of potential for growth and the demand for psychologists is expected to increase 22 percent by 2020. Find out which psychology career is expected to grow by 35 percent! iii


[i] apa.org/ed/precollege/about/psymajor-guidelines.pdf | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-4 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-6 

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