“I’m good at reading people. If I wasn’t an actor, I would be a psychologist.”
Finn Wolfhard, Actor
Pros and Cons of Working as a Psychologist
You think about becoming a psychologist? Great! However, before you make your final decision, make sure to check out this article since I show you all the pros and cons of being a psychologist.
After evaluating all the arguments, you may change your mind and may decide for an alternative career path instead. Without further ado, let’s get right into it! 😉
Psychologist Job Profile
|Short Job Description||Psychologists take care of the mental problems of their customers. They listen to their stories and try to find solutions to their problems.|
|Salary||$72,000 per year on average, ranging from $55,000 – $125,000.|
|Job Security||Decent job security since many people have mental issues and barriers to entry are pretty high since you need a college degree.|
|Job Satisfaction||Rather poor since you have to listen to the problems of people all day long.|
|Work-Life Balance||Good work-life balance.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Mentally demanding job.|
|Future Outlook||Good since the number of mental problems tends to increase.|
Advantages of Being a Psychologist
- You can help other people with serious problems
- Psychologists learn about the human psyche
- Being a psychologist makes you empathic
- You can also help your family and friends
- Psychologists learn to get out of their comfort zone
- Psychologists can earn decent money
- You can work inside
- Being a psychologist can give you a purpose in life
- You can found your own business
- Psychologists have a high reputation in society
- Job security
- Many patients will be grateful for your support
- You can master new challenges every day
- Psychologists can work in many different fields
You can help other people with serious problems
One advantage of being a psychologist is that you can help people in difficult times in their lives. In fact, there are situations in life where everything seems to collapse around you and you just feel helpless and don’t know what to do. In those situations, help from a good psychologist can get people back on track which would have otherwise just given up.
Thus, by becoming a psychologist, you can literally save the lives of many people if you know what you are doing. Consequently, if you really want to do good for others and to help them overcome their darkest times, becoming a psychologist may be the right way to go for you.
Psychologists learn about the human psyche
By working in psychotherapy, you will also learn how the human psyche really works. This can be quite helpful, not only for your career as a psychologist but also for your personal life. With your knowledge, you will be much better able to deal with people since you often know what their intentions are before they actually tell you.
Moreover, you will also develop a pretty reliable feeling of whether someone is lying to you or telling the truth. All this can greatly help you in your social life since you can better decide on whom you want to rely on for important things and what people you want to exclude from your social circle.
Being a psychologist makes you empathic
Another upside of becoming a psychologist is that it can make you really empathic. Since you will listen to so many stories from your patients, you will often feel sorry for them. In turn, you will realize that many other people will also go through this pain sooner or later.
Consequently, you will become more empathic and patient with people since you will know that people who try to attack you are just hurt inside and should be pitied rather than punished.
In general, empathy is crucial to succeeding in various parts of life since only if you learn how people deal with emotional pain, you can react accordingly and you will also be able to manage your own emotional problems in a better manner.
You can also help your family and friends
Your knowledge about psychology will not only be valuable for your professional career, you can also help out your family and friends in difficult periods of their lives. In fact, sooner or later, you will have to support those people, whether you want it or not.
In such a case, it can be quite helpful to know how solid emotional support looks like and what mistakes to avoid so that you can really help your loved ones to overcome difficult periods in their lives.
Psychologists learn to get out of their comfort zone
As a psychologist, you will simply have no other choice than to get out of your comfort zone. You will never know which clients and problems you have to face and this implies a high level of insecurity regarding how your day will look like. While this can be stressful, it can also give you the opportunity to adjust and to develop your skills further.
It also puts you in difficult spots and you will feel overwhelmed from time to time. However, this is all part of a valuable maturation process and if you get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, chances are that you will lose your fear regarding unknown situations pretty soon.
In turn, you will become braver in general, which can also greatly benefit you in your personal life since courage is key to succeed in life.
Psychologists can earn decent money
Another benefit of being a psychologist is that you can also earn a really good income. In fact, some psychologists even make six-figure-incomes and this means that you will earn more than the majority of the general public.
Sure, not all psychologists make that much money and some of them even struggle to pay their bills. However, if you choose the right specialization, you will often be able to make a pretty decent living.
You can work inside
As a psychologist, you can also work inside. While this may not sound like a real advantage since many people are just used to working inside all day long, it can be a serious upside.
For instance, if you work in construction, you will often have to work even when it rains or snows and this can be quite unpleasant.
As a psychologist, you can just stay inside the building and don’t have to be exposed to those adverse weather conditions all day long.
Being a psychologist can give you a purpose in life
For many psychologists, their job is more than a profession. In fact, if you are just in the game for the money, you will likely not get happy since a career in psychotherapy simply implies too many serious downsides. Thus, you just need a real passion for helping people and to really improve their overall quality of life.
Consequently, many psychologists who have been working in their profession for decades never had money in mind when they have chosen to become a psychologist. They just wanted to do good for others.
Hence, if you are the type of person who really wants to make a positive contribution to other peoples’ lives, a career in psychotherapy can definitely be the right way to go for you.
You can found your own business
While you can work for a company or for official institutions as a psychologist, you can also found your own business. In fact, if you are rather the entrepreneurial type of person who wants to work as independently as possible, a career as self-employed psychologist may be suitable for you.
You can either open your own psychotherapy office or work in a different field. For instance, you could even start a hotline service where you can answer peoples’ questions on the phone or consult them through video calls.
In fact, opportunities are endless and you can start many different types of businesses as a psychologist.
Psychologists have a high reputation in society
Since you will help people out during dark times in their lives, many people will greatly appreciate that and you will therefore enjoy a really good standing in society.
Also your parents will likely be quite proud of you since they know how demanding your job will sometimes be but that you will also make a great contribution to improve the lives of others.
Since we have rapid technological progress, we always have to adapt to new technologies and ways of life. Also how we communicate with each other has changed dramatically over the past decade. While there are many advantages to technology, there are also serious issues with it.
Especially older people often feel overwhelmed with all of the new skills that are expected from them now. For instance, if you don’t have digital skills in the future, you will likely become obsolete in most professions and may end up unemployed.
Consequently, since many people will no longer be needed in the future since they will be replaced by machines, there will be a great demand for psychologists since many people will develop mental problems.
Moreover, even people who still have a job will often suffer from mental problems since many of them will just no longer be able to process all the information around them in a proper manner.
Thus, there will be a high level of job security for psychologists since the number of mental problems that is already quite high will likely even increase in the future.
Many patients will be grateful for your support
The bigger the problems you solve for people are, the higher the appreciation you will get from other people in the long run. Since you will solve major problems as a psychologist, many people will be grateful for what you are doing for them. Consequently, some of those people will be grateful for what you did for them forever and you may even become really good friends with some of them.
Let’s be honest. Everyone of us wants to feel appreciated for what we are doing and becoming a psychologist can really lead to a state of constant appreciation and admiration, at least if you really know what you are doing and if you really have the best intentions for your clients.
You can master new challenges every day
Being a psychologist also implies that you will have to deal with many new situations every day. In fact, every client is different and you have to adjust on a constant basis if you really want to get the trust of your patients.
While this can be quite exhausting from time to time, it can challenge you and get you to the next mental level.
Psychologists can work in many different fields
As a psychologist, you can also work in many different professions. While you could work in the classical medical field and help people to overcome mental problems, you could also work in the corporate sector.
In fact, many psychologists decide for a corporate career and some of them also make really good money.
Consequently, as a psychologist, you can easily switch your field if you don’t want to work in one specific sector anymore.
Disadvantages of Being a Psychologist
- Significant costs to become a psychologist
- Student loan debt is quite common
- It can take quite long to become a psychologist
- Most psychologists don’t get rich
- You have to listen to the problems of people all day long
- Many psychologists can’t unplug from work
- Being a psychologist can imply significant pressure
- Irregular working hours
- Some psychologists have to work on weekends
- Psychologist often experience mental problems
- You will have to deal with difficult patients
- Psychologists are not able to cure everyone
- Sleeping problems
- Can have negative impact on family life
- You may even have to deal with dangerous people
- You may become overwhelmed by all the problems
- Mistakes of psychologists can cause serious issues
- License may not be transferrable
- Bureaucracy is part of the job
Significant costs to become a psychologist
Apart from the many advantages of becoming a psychologist, there are also some problems with it. For instance, one disadvantage of becoming a psychologist is that it can be quite expensive. In fact, you will have to go to college and get your degree.
Quite often, tuition and additional costs for college can be significant and many people just don’t have the financial support from their parents to cover their expenses.
Thus, before deciding for a career in psychotherapy, make sure that you are willing to make this sort of financial commitment.
Student loan debt is quite common
Since going to college can be quite costly, many students also have to get student loan debt. In fact, in our current state of the world, it seems to be the norm rather than the exception to take on student debt to finance college.
While these loans can make your time in college more enjoyable since you will not have to worry about financial issues during this time, you will have to pay the piper later on in your life.
In fact, it often takes students many years or even decades to pay off their student debt, especially if they don’t get a good job after finishing their studies.
It can take quite long to become a psychologist
You should also be aware of the fact that studying psychology and becoming a clinical psychologist can take quite a long time. In many states, it will take you a minimum of five years to make your way through the education process. It can even take a few years longer to get all your accreditations to work as a clinical psychologist.
Consequently, before deciding for this career path, make sure that you really want it since you are likely to quit otherwise sooner or later.
Most psychologists don’t get rich
While psychologists can earn pretty decent money, most of them don’t get rich. In fact, if you want to earn really good money and want to live a luxury life, you will often be better off by becoming a doctor instead.
Some doctors even make millions of dollars each year and this is almost impossible for psychologists. Consequently, if money is really important to you, you may want to choose a different field of study instead.
You have to listen to the problems of people all day long
The job as a psychologist can also be really tough since you have to listen to the problems of people all day long. In fact, you will almost hear nothing positive during your workday and this can be mentally exhausting.
Quite often, you will even be scared regarding what problems you will have to solve next. Thus, make sure that you are willing to take on this emotional burden before deciding for a career as psychologist.
Many psychologists can’t unplug from work
Due to the many problems they have to solve for clients every day, psychologists often also can’t unplug from their work. Quite often, they carry those problems back home. In turn, chances are that also their family life will suffer since their mood will often be pretty bad.
Being a psychologist can imply significant pressure
Another downside of being a psychologist is that you will also experience significant pressure. The more committed you are to helping your clients, the more pressure will you impose on yourself.
While it is admirable that many psychologists have this level of commitment, it can also become a serious personal issue since if you are too hard with yourself, chances are that it can take all the fun out of your profession.
Irregular working hours
Especially if you are self-employed and have your own business, you will have many clients who have to work during daytime and only have time to come to you in the evening.
Consequently, if you want to keep your patients and also want to earn really good money, you will have to work long and irregular hours, depending on when your patients have time to come to you.
Some psychologists have to work on weekends
If you are a clinical psychologist, you may even have to work on weekends. In fact, especially if you work in hospitals, weekend shifts are quite common.
Thus, if you don’t want to work on weekends and rather want to spend this time with your family, becoming a psychologist may also not be right for you in this regard.
Psychologists often experience mental problems
Since you will experience so many bad stories during your career as a psychologist, you will be in danger of developing mental problems yourself. In fact, many psychologists can’t deal with all those strokes of fate of their clients.
You will have to deal with difficult patients
While most of your patients will really appreciate your work if you help them overcome difficult periods of their lives, some people can just never be happy and always find things to complain about. Hence, it doesn’t matter how good you do your job, there will always be someone complaining about your work.
This can be especially problematic as a psychologist since you already have to deal with many other problems and additional unnecessary complaints may make your mental state even worse.
Thus, be prepared that you will also have to deal with difficult clients who will not appreciate your work that much.
Psychologists are not able to cure everyone
In general, you should also stay realistic. While you will be able to help many people during your career as a psychologist, you will also have cases that are just too difficult.
In fact, you will not be able to cure everyone and you should be aware of the fact that sooner or later, you will also experience disappointments in this regard.
Hence, too high expectations may also do more harm than good for you.
Since many psychologists are not able to unplug from work and still deal with the problems of patients in their heads even when they have already left the workplace, sleeping problems are also quite common among psychologists. In fact, many psychologists stay awake at night since they urgently think about how they can help their patients.
However, this can be detrimental to their health since good sleep is crucial to avoid all sorts of mental and physical health problems.
Can have negative impact on family life
Since you will often carry problems of your patients back to your home, you will often be in a rather bad mood and your family members will notice this pretty soon. In turn, the risk for disputes may be higher and also the risk for divorce may increase.
Consequently, before deciding for a career as a psychologist, make sure that your profession is worth it to you to have more private conflicts in your life.
You may even have to deal with dangerous people
While most of your clients will be polite and grateful for your help, others may even insult you or become aggressive. In fact, some people can’t deal with adversity in a proper manner and will make you the scapegoat for their problems.
In the worst case, those people may even attack you since they are so aggressive or just suffer from a confused mental state.
You may become overwhelmed by all the problems
In general, since you will have to deal with so many problems all day long, chances are that you will become overwhelmed by all of those issues sooner or later. You don’t only have to deal with the problems of your clients, you will suffer from serious problems from time to time yourself.
In fact, you need a pretty stable mindset to process all of those issues in a proper manner and many people are just not able to do this.
Mistakes of psychologists can cause serious issues
You should also be aware of the fact that you as a psychologist have great responsibility for the lives of people. In fact, wrong decisions or the incorrect treatment of patients can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Thus, make sure that you are ready to carry this huge responsibility before deciding for a career as a psychologist.
License may not be transferrable
Another downside of becoming a psychologist is that you will also often not be able to transfer your license across countries. In fact, many countries have pretty strict requirements regarding who is allowed to practice in the psychological field and who’s not.
Hence, make sure that you plan to stay in your state for a long time since you may not be allowed to practice your profession in other states or countries.
Bureaucracy is part of the job
Even though many people who aspire to a career as a psychologist want to help people, most of them underestimate the administrative work that comes along with it. In fact, especially if you have your own office, you will have to do plenty of paperwork.
This includes legal, accounting and other bureaucratic work that comes along with being self-employed. Hence, make sure that you are also willing to do this kind of work since it will be crucial for your career as a psychologist, especially if you want to have your own business.
Top 10 Being a Psychologist Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Psychologist Pros||Being a Psychologist Cons|
|Psychologists can earn decent money||Being a psychologist can be stressful|
|You can help people||Patients can be annoying|
|You can find meaning in life||You have to deal with many problems|
|People will be grateful for your work||Can even be dangerous|
|You can help your loved ones||Most psychologists don’t get rich|
|Psychologists can work inside||Irregular working hours|
|You can become more empathic||You may have to work on weekends|
|You can work in many fields||Mental problems are rather common|
|Psychologists can start their own business||Sleeping issues|
|You can master new challenges||Can adversely impact family life|
Should You Become A Psychologist?
As we have seen before, there are many advantages and disadvantages to being a psychologist. In the end, you will have to decide for yourself whether a career in psychotherapy is the way to go for you or if you rather want to go for other professions instead.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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