Career as Psychologist

Career as a Psychologist

About Psychologist

Ever noticed someone who behaves in a completely different way when alone as compared to when he/she is in a group? Have you ever thought about why is your personality so different from your sibling despite the fact that both of you come from the same family and have grown up in the same environment? Well, psychologists have answers to such questions.

Psychology as a profession is about the study of the human mind and how it influences a person's behaviour. However, it is not limited to investigating human behavior. Psychologists use their understanding of human behavior to treat people suffering from mental disorders, trauma or substance abuse problems. In fact, the biggest aspect of their job is to treat people with behavioural issues using techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation.

If this is your area of interest, then you may follow our guide to a career as a psychologist. As part of this, we will give you insights into the industry basics, skill set and the educational path that you could take to become a professional in this field. The guide has been designed to ensure that it becomes a point where you're able to decide whether or not you're meant for this career.

Eligibility to become Psychologist

  • Passed class 12 with Psychology as one of the subjects, although it is not compulsory to study this subject at the school level;

  • Completed graduation with a Bachelor (BA or BS) in Psychology degree;

  • Completed post-graduation with MA or M.Sc in either Psychology or related fields such as Social Work or Counselling;

  • M.Phil and Ph.D programmes are also available if one intends to go on to the doctoral level.

Types of Job Roles Psychologist

From becoming a career counsellor to clinical researcher, the options for psychologists are as diverse as human behaviour. You can pick up any specialisation depending on your career goals. The job prospects for those who successfully complete their education and training in the field of psychology are:

  • Career Counsellor – After completing Class 12 or graduation, students usually get confused about which career path to choose and how to go about developing suitable skills for the same. Career counsellors can be extremely helpful in such cases. They come up with the best suitable career choices for a student after analysing his/her personality, skills, aptitude, interest, intelligence level, and related socio-economic factors.

  • Clinical Psychologist – There are various specialisations under Clinical Psychology that one can opt for. Clinical psychologists deal with patients suffering from mental and emotional disorders. Some other fields where clinical psychologists can find employment are health psychology, substance abuse, geriatrics, post-trauma therapies, and child or adult mental health.

  • Forensic Psychologist – Forensic psychology is another career choice, which is crucial in criminal investigation and law cases. Forensic Psychologists are required along with police investigators whenever there is a murder or a rape case. Apart from all this, forensic psychologists play a big role in identification of a criminal or tapping into the psyche of a potential criminal or suspect.

  • Industrial or Organisational Psychologist – In this role, you will be engaged in improving organisational performance by helping employees improve their work behaviour and performance, and build their job-related skills. The industrial or organisational psychologist also help companies shortlist the right candidates for specific job roles. They also play an important role in assessing people for promotion, determine training needs of the workforce, and make decisions related to people in the organisation.

  • Special Education Teacher – In this role, you will deal with students suffering from different types of disabilities – physical or mental. With more and more Special Education Programmes being introduced every year in schools, opportunities for special education teachers are growing by leaps and bounds.

  • Neuropsychologist – Professionals involved in this branch of psychology evaluate and treat people with various types of nervous system disorders. Neuropsychologists often focus on how cognitive function and behaviour of a person is affected by brain injuries or illnesses. They help such patients recover and improve their quality of life.

Employment Sector/Industry for Psychologist

Once you finish studying Psychology and obtain the required skills, you can either work with individuals or you may choose to work in universities or government agencies. Psychology as a profession has gained momentum in recent years and the demand for psychologists is expected to rise in the years to come. Here are some areas where you can find employment after completing your education in Psychology.

  • Work as a counsellor with NGOs, old age homes, rehabilitation centers, etc.

  • Work in the education sector as a school counsellor, trainer, career counsellor, etc.

  • Work as an organisational psychologist with MNCs and big firms in their HR department.

  • Work with universities or government agencies as a research psychologist.

  • You could also take up social work and tie-up with NGOs or provide individual counselling.

Top Recruiting Companies

All those psychologists and counselors who want to practice counselling legally in India have to get registered with the Rehabilitation Counsel of India (RCI). To practice as a Clinical Psychologist, one has to do M.Phil and has to be registered with RCI. Following are the sectors where psychologists are usually employed:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Schools

  • Outpatient Care Centers

  • Hospitals and Clinics

  • Health Practitioner Offices

  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals

  • Individual and Family Services

Pay Scale/Salary of Psychologist

A career as a psychologist can be highly rewarding if you're able to establish yourself in the field. Those who obtain the right skills and education can expect to earn well. Other important factors that have an impact on the salary of a professional psychologist include the area of his/her specialisation, and the amount of experience he/she has. Those with M.Phil and Ph.D degree in Psychology can go on to earn even more.

Profile

Starting Salary per annum (in INR)

Mid Level Salary per annum (in INR)

Senior Level Salary per annum (INR)

Psychologist

4,20,000

6,00,000

9,60,000

Note: The above figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.

Books & Study Material to Become Psychologist

Apart from the curriculum provided by the institution where you will study Psychology, there are some classic books that you read to enhance your knowledge about various aspects of this field. Here is a list of the highly recommended books that every Psychology student must read:

  • Introduction to Psychology 7 edition (Authors: Clifford T. Morgan, John R. Weisz, Richard A. King, John Schopler)

  • The Road Less Traveled (Author: Scott Peck)

  • On Becoming a Person (Author: Carl R. Rogers, Peter D. Kramer)

  • The Interpretations of Dreams (Author: Sigmund Freud)

  • The Definitive Book of Body Language (Author: Allan Pease and Barbara Pease)

  • Games People Play (Author: Eric Berne)

Pros of becoming a Psychologist

  • Reward of helping people

  • Flexible work timings

  • Potential to earn high

  • Can set up own office

  • Job options available across the world

Cons of becoming a Psychologist

  • Can be stressful dealing with clients

  • Work schedule can also be quite erratic

  • Requires extensive education & training

  • Must have enough experience to gain popularity

Career path for Psychologist

If you're planning to become a counselling psychologist, then you only need a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, or in a related field. By pursing the three-year graduate degree, you will become eligible to practice counselling. On the contrary, if you wish to pursue a career in research or take up a teaching job, then you need to do your two-year post-graduation (Master's) degree and complete the doctoral (M.Phil or Ph.D) programmes, which could last two years or more.

Subject Combination – There is no particular subject combination that you need at 10 + 2 level. You can opt for any stream in your 12th grade. While there is no compulsion, you can take Psychology in school to have a basic understanding of the subject. In fact, it has been introduced in the curriculum of many schools. The best part about Psychology is that it can be studied in combination with any stream.

Paths for Being Psychologist