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Psychologist Job Duties, Job Description and Employment Opportunities

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a psychologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, psychologist duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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A person with a background in psychology can be employed in school counseling settings, industry, or a healthcare facility. A degree in psychology is a must, and state licensing or certification may be required for some positions.

What is a Psychologist Job Description?

A psychologist is someone who has at least an undergraduate degree in psychology, which is the study of the brain in terms of human behavior and personality. Through counseling and experimentation, psychologists work to promote safety, understanding, and good mental health. Their research helps us understand behavior, memory and mental health disorders.

Where does a psychologist work? Psychologists work in a variety of settings with individual patients, businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, prisons, communities, the government, the military, and many others. Most psychology professions require an advanced degree, such as a master's or a doctorate. During their training, psychologists choose an area of specialization. To work, a psychologist must often be licensed at the state or national level.

Required Education Undergraduate degree in psychology (2-4 years);
Graduate degree (master's or doctorate) often required by employers
Licensure & Certification State licensure often required;
Certification available in various areas of specialization
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 14%*
Median Salary (2018) $79,010*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Psychologist Job Duties

What are the responsibilities of a psychologist? Specific job duties for psychologists vary according to their specialty:

Counseling psychologists work at schools, hospitals or individual practices. They lead group or individual counseling sessions. Their job involves talking to people and fostering positive mental health and personal growth.

Developmental psychologists research changes in behavioral patterns over a person's life; some focus in on particular time periods, like infancy or adolescence. Developmental psychologists aim to correct behavioral disorders caused by improper development.

Forensic psychologists work with law-enforcement personnel and act as experts in various legal cases. Particular tasks include assessing competency, working with child witnesses and performing psychological evaluations.

Research psychologists study the causes of particular behavioral patterns. They perform various lab tests on animals and humans and conduct trials with carefully controlled sample groups. They aim to learn how memory, thought and perception actually work.

Industrial-organizational psychologists work with businesses to maintain a high-quality work environment. Duties include talking with employees to help them with any problems, screening applicants and training new hires.

Clinical psychologists work to prevent, diagnose and treat mental disorders. These psychologists typically have their own offices and perform diagnostic exams on patients. They also work alongside doctors to determine the best course of treatment for particular patients.

School psychologists work with parents, teachers and students to foster learning, address school-related problems and promote a safe educational environment. A key role of school psychologists is to evaluate a student's special needs and accommodate them accordingly.

Social psychologists examine behavioral trends in society. Their research is used to give advice on leadership, group behavior and attitude control. They also use their findings to influence system design and advertisements.

Salary and Job Growth Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (the BLS), the employment rate for all psychologists is expected to grow 14% from 2016-2026. In 2018, the BLS found the median annual salaries to be $97,260 for industrial-organizational psychologists, $76,990 for counseling, school, and clinical psychologists, and $100,770 for all other psychologists not separately listed.

In summary, better than average job growth is expected in the field of psychology in the coming years. There is a wide variety of jobs and work environments available for psychologists, all involving the study of the human mind or human behavior.

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