All You Need To Know About A Psychologist Career
You think about becoming a psychologist but need additional information before making your final career choice?
Great! Stick with me since you will learn all you need to know about working as a psychologist in the following chapters.
Not only will you get information on how much you can make as a psychologist, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, job prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, duties, work-life balance and much more.
You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about being a psychologist for you.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what the job of a psychologist really looks like and whether you still want to pursue such a career or rather want to go for a different job instead.
What does a Psychologist do?
Psychologists help people overcome difficult periods of their lives.
They also support their patients on an emotional level and work on their mindset so that they are mentally prepared for difficult situations in the future and better able to handle those unpleasant things on a mental and emotional level.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Psychologist
- Helping patients overcome difficult periods of their lives
- Giving people emotional support
- Working on patients’ mindsets
- Giving people a different perspective on life in general
- Advising people on how to handle emotionally difficult situations
- Giving people hope during times they want to give up
- Figuring out what hurts people from the inside
- Conducting interviews and publishing research papers
- Studying brain functions of patients
- Diagnosing mental and emotional disorders
What a Typical Day of a Psychologist looks like?
Psychologists usually get to work between 7 and 9 a.m.
The first thing they do is checking their mails and talking to their secretary regarding what their schedules look like that day.
After doing some organizational work and making sure that everything is under control, psychologists help out many patients per day and make sure that they get every emotional support they need to overcome difficult situations.
Thus, psychologists have to be really good at understanding the human mind and also need patience so that they can build a strong emotional connection to their patients.
You also have to listen to the problems of your patients all day long and if you don’t have a strong emotional mindset, the problems of your patients may become your problems sooner or later and you may suffer from mental problems yourself.
Hence, make sure that you are able to deal with all this adversity in a healthy manner to avoid any unpleasant surprises in this regard in the long run.
After working in this style for many hours, psychologists usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Psychologist Salary 2021
Psychologist salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $137,000||> $68.41|
|Top 25 %||$116,000 – $124,000||$57.92 – $61.94|
|Bottom 25 %||$85,000 – $93,000||$42.47 – $46.49|
|Bottom 10 %||$72,000 – $78,000||$35.91 – $38.88|
|Range||$72,000 – $153,000||$35.91 – $76.39|
Psychologist salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$72,000 – $84,000||$35.91 – $41.97|
|Junior||$81,000 – $93,000||$40.43 – $46.42|
|Professional||$89,000 – $107,000||$44.39 – $53.45|
|Senior Professional||$104,000 – $122,000||$51.98 – $60.89|
|Expert||$116,000 – $138,000||$57.92 – $68.93|
|Top Expert||$134,000 – $153,000||$66.88 – $76.39|
Psychologist salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$105,200||$52.58|
Job Security of Psychologists
Psychologists enjoy pretty decent job security since educational barriers for working in this field are pretty high and not many people fulfill all the formal requirements to do so.
Thus, you will not have to deal with fierce competition and will be able to find a job in this industry pretty soon.
Future Outlook of Psychologists
Due to the increasing number of people who suffer from mental and emotional problems, also an increasing number of psychologists will be needed in the future and this means that you will have excellent job prospects for many years or even decades to come.
Working Hours of Psychologists
Most psychologists start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
They also don’t have to work much overtime and will therefore come home from work relatively early.
Consequently, psychologists have more than enough time to spend with their loved ones while many other people like investment bankers really struggle in this regard since they have to work long hours every day.
Job Satisfaction of Psychologists
Most psychologists are pretty happy with what they do for a living since they can make good money while they still don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and are also able to come home from work relatively early so that they have enough time to spend with their loved ones.
Promotion Opportunities of Psychologists
While you will have many promotion opportunities in case you work as a psychologist in the corporate world and can work in many different fields, promotion opportunities in the medical field will be relatively limited and it may take you many years or even decades to get additional responsibilities.
Career Levels of Psychologists
- Psychologist intern
- Junior psychologist
- Senior psychologist
- Senior psychologist with personnel responsibilities
- Manager of a psychologist’s office
- Owner of a psychologist’s office
Fields and Types of Psychologists
- Psychologists focused on mental disorders
- Psychologists specialized in working on the mindset of people
- Psychologists focused on treating children
- Military psychologists
- Forensic psychologists
- Family psychologists
- Psychologists focused on treating psychological problems after accidents
- Psychologists working in the medical sector
- Psychologists working in the corporate world
Educational Requirements for Psychologists
If you want to work as a psychologist in the medical field, you often need a doctor’s degree in psychology or a related field.
However, if you want to work as a psychologist in the corporate world, getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology will often be enough.
How to become a Psychologist
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a psychologist
- Apply for an undergraduate program in psychology and get your degree
- Work as an intern in the psychology sector
- Stay in touch with your colleagues
- Apply for a graduate program in psychology and get your degree
- Get your doctor’s degree in psychology or a related field
- Apply for jobs as a psychologist
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
Character Traits you need as a Psychologist
- Empathy is crucial for understanding the problems of your patients
- Patience is key to really figure out people
- Persistence helps you get into the minds of people in the long run
- You should be a good listener
- You should not be afraid of getting in touch with lots of adversity
- You should have a strong mindset to stay emotionally healthy in the long run
- You should be able to deal with difficult people in a proper manner
- Willingness to solve peoples’ problems all day long
- Willingness to work on yourself
Hard Skills for Psychologists
- Excellent knowledge of how the human mind works
- Good knowledge of techniques that help you get the trust of your patients
- Good problem-solving skills
- You need to know when it is time to speak and when to listen
- Strong research skills are a plus
- Math skills may help as well
- Digital skills help you promote your results
- Knowledge of how to minimize your own risk at work
- Knowledge of laws and regulations related to psychology work
- Questioning skills help as well
Soft Skills for Psychologists
- Patience helps you gain the trust of your patients
- Teamworking skills help you stay in touch with other researchers
- Empathy helps you understand the problems of your patients
- Persistence helps you overcome difficult periods of your psychology career
- Communication skills help you build a strong connection with your patients
- You should be passionate about helping people out
- Ability to deal with lots of adversity in an emotionally healthy manner
- You should know what drives people
- Good people skills help you run your own business
Exit Options for Psychologists
Since psychologists learn how the human mind works, they are in high demand in many different fields and even in case you might not want to work in the medical industry anymore, you can still work as a psychologist in the corporate world or also work as a coach on your own.
Psychologist – Similar Careers
- Social worker
- Career counselor
- Market researcher
- Family therapist
Psychologist Career FAQs
Is working as a psychologist physically demanding?
Being a psychologist is not physically demanding since you will just sit in an office chair for most of your workday and will talk to your patients all day long.
Thus, while you will have to use your brain quite a lot, you still don’t have to stress your body and can spend your workday in a rather relaxed manner in this regard.
Is working as a psychologist mentally demanding?
Working as a psychologist can be mentally as well as emotionally demanding since you will have to listen to many bad stories during your workday and you will need a strong emotional mindset to deal with all the adversity of your patients so that you don’t suffer from mental problems yourself in the long run.
Is it dangerous to work as a psychologist?
Working as a psychologist is not that dangerous since you will not have to operate heavy machines and your risk of getting involved in accidents at work will be rather low.
However, you still sometimes have to deal with difficult patients who may pose a certain risk and you should therefore know common emergency procedures in case your patients lose it.
How long do psychologists stay in their jobs?
Since psychologists often have to get many years of education before they are finally able to work in this field, many psychologists work in their jobs for decades to make it worth the initial investment.
Many psychologists also really like what they are doing for a living and also have a solid mix between money and leisure and their incentive to change their jobs will therefore be rather low.
Is it easy for psychologists to find a new job?
Since an increasing number of people suffer from mental and emotional disorders and this trend will likely continue in the future, psychologists are in high demand right now and will have an easy time finding a new job.
Is it hard to switch from being a psychologist to another field of work?
Psychologists are not only in high demand in the medical sector, but they also have pretty good chances of finding a job in the corporate world since they understand human behavior pretty well and can provide lots of value in sales and marketing.
Do psychologists have a high social status?
Psychologists enjoy a pretty decent social standing.
While you might have a lower social status compared to doctors who can really save lives on a daily basis, you will still have an above-average standing compared to the general public and many people out there will admire your career path.
Can you help out your family and friends as a psychologist?
You can also do good for your loved ones as a psychologist since you can listen to their problems and find solutions to things that bother them right now on an emotional level.
Thus, your family and friends will not need to spend lots of money on a psychologist and may rather rely on your advice instead.
Can psychologists work remotely?
Thanks to our modern technologies, psychologists can do most of their work remotely and don’t have to commute to work every day anymore.
However, some patients still prefer to talk to you in person and this means that you will have to spend time in your office for some days per week while you can still work from home on others.
Is it easy to find a partner as a psychologist?
Psychologists often have an easy time in the dating market since they understand human behavior very well.
Moreover, they are also able to make good money, have a high social standing and also have enough leisure to spend with their families.
Thus, psychologists are considered excellent providers and will have an easy time finding someone for a long-term relationship.
Do psychologists have to work on weekends?
Psychologists don’t have to work on weekends.
However, some of them still work during those days since they really love what they are doing and also want to make additional money on the side.
Do psychologists have to work on holidays?
Psychologists don’t have to work on holidays.
Instead, you can use those days to make nice trips with your family or spend them on your favorite hobbies.
Do psychologists have to work at nighttime?
Psychologists don’t have to work at nighttime.
Instead, psychologists come home from work relatively early and will work in a rather standard 9 to 5 environment, which gives them the opportunity to meet up with their favorite people after work.
Do you have to travel as a psychologist?
You don’t need to travel as a psychologist.
Apart from commuting to work and back, you will be able to spend your leisure with your loved ones at home while many other people like consultants are away for business trips quite often.
Are psychologist pensions good?
Thanks to the good money psychologists are able to make during their active careers, also their pensions are pretty decent and psychologists therefore don’t have to worry about financial problems once they get older and quit their active careers, at least if they save and invest their money wisely and don’t spend lots of money on unnecessary consumption.
Are psychologist salaries going up?
Psychologist salaries have been going up significantly over the past years and this trend will likely continue in the future since an increasing number of people suffer from mental and emotional issues and urgently need support from psychologists to overcome their problems.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a psychologist?
You can have a big positive social impact as a psychologist since you can cure many patients on a regular basis and can therefore improve the quality of life of many people and also make the world a better place in the long run.
How long does it take to become a psychologist?
Since you will have to get at least a bachelor’s degree for working in the psychology sector, you will have to spend many years on college education.
Moreover, if you want to work in the medical industry, you will often even need to get a doctor’s degree in psychology or a related field and may have to spend up to one decade in college before you are finally able to fully benefit from your education.
Is it difficult to become a psychologist?
While you will have to spend many years on education before you can officially call yourself a psychologist, it is still not that difficult to pass your exams in this field and if you are passionate about working in this field, you will often have enough ambition to study hard to fulfill all the formal requirements sooner or later.
Do you need to be smart to work as a psychologist?
Since you often need to get a doctor’s degree if you want to work as a psychologist in the medical field, you should also have a certain IQ to pass all the exams needed to work in this field.
However, you still don’t need to be a genius as long as you are willing to study hard for your goals.
Do psychologists have a good work-life balance?
Psychologists have pretty decent work-life balance since they have free weekends and holidays and also come home from work relatively early while they are still able to make pretty good money at the same time.
Do psychologists have to work many extra hours?
Psychologists don’t have to work many extra hours.
Instead, they work in a classical 9 – 5 environment and will therefore come home early enough to spend sufficient time with their families or to meet up with their favorite people after work.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a psychologist?
The more time you spend on your studies and the more practical experience you get in this field at a rather early age, the higher your chances of finding a job as a psychologist in the long run.
Can psychologists work part-time?
While psychologists are able to work part-time, most of them still work full-time since they want to make as much money as possible and are also really passionate about their work and want to help out as many patients as possible.
Do psychologists work indoors or outdoors?
Psychologists work indoors and therefore don’t have to worry about weather conditions outdoors as many other people like roofers or construction workers who often work outdoors have to deal with on a regular basis.
What does the workplace of a psychologist look like?
Psychologists treat many patients per day and also have their own offices where they talk to people on an individual level in person.
Thus, you should not be afraid of talking to new people on a regular basis to stay happy and motivated with your psychologist career in the long run.
Do you have to look good for working as a psychologist?
Your looks don’t matter for your success as a psychologist as long as you are a friendly and reliable person whom patients trust so that your patients come back to your office in the long run and also recommend your services so that you can scale your business in the long run.
Is a psychologist career beneficial for your private life?
Since you will be able to make decent money while you will still be able to come home from work relatively early, you will have more than enough time to spend with your favorite people and being a psychologist can therefore be greatly beneficial for your private life.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a psychologist?
While you will often need to get at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology to be able to work in the corporate world, you will often need a doctor’s degree if you want to work as a psychologist in the medical sector.
Do you need to be certified to work as a psychologist?
While you don’t need additional certificates apart from your college education, those certificates can still help you improve your chances of finding a job in this field.
How much does it cost to become a psychologist?
Since you will have to spend many years on college education, you also have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college.
You may also have to take on student loans to finance your degree which you have to pay back later in your life.
Is being a psychologist a good career?
While you can make good money and also have lots of leisure as a psychologist, you also have to deal with many serious problems of your patients all day long and you need a strong mindset to deal with those stories in an emotionally healthy manner.
Thus, whether you consider being a psychologist a good career greatly depends on your character type and how well you are able to deal with adversity.
Is it easy to start your own business as a psychologist?
It is pretty easy to start your own business as a psychologist since you don’t have to spend lots of money upfront and can rather start out as a one-man show and once you get enough patients, you can scale your business and get employees doing the work for you.
Can psychologists teach themselves?
Psychologists are able to teach themselves many things they need for working in this field.
However, they also have to get fancy college education before they are allowed to treat patients and teaching yourself will therefore not be enough to start a career in the psychology world.
Do psychologists make good money?
Psychologists can make pretty decent money.
However, they often don’t make as much as medical doctors or dentists and if you really want to make a fortune, you should not become a psychologist but rather work in a different medical field or rather as a judge or financial analyst instead.
Is it ever too late to become a psychologist?
Since you will have to spend many years on education, it makes sense to start your psychologist career at a rather early age so that you have enough years left to make it worth the initial investment.
Do psychologists have to quit their careers early?
Psychologists don’t need to quit their careers early most of the time since they don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and therefore have a rather low risk of suffering from serious spinal problems compared to welders or carpenters who often have to quit their careers early due to health problems related to their jobs.
What is the hardest thing about working as a psychologist?
The hardest part about working as a psychologist is that you will have to listen to many bad stories and also have to deal with lots of adversity all day long.
In turn, you may really get depressed in the long run unless you have a really stable mindset to digest all those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
Can you provide for your family by working as a psychologist?
Since you can make pretty good money, it will also be easy for you to provide for your family as a psychologist and you will often not have to worry about money and will even be able to afford some luxury.
Will psychologists suffer from old-age poverty?
Due to the good money psychologists are able to make during their active careers and the decent pensions they get, most psychologists don’t have to worry about old-age poverty and will have more than enough money for a decent lifestyle at retirement age.
Can psychologists retire early?
While psychologists are able to make good money from what they are doing, most psychologists still don’t make enough to retire early and have to work until official retirement age.
Some of them also just don’t want to retire early since they are so passionate about what they are doing and want to help out patients as long as possible.
Do psychologists get a fixed or variable salary?
While employed psychologists often mainly get a fixed salary, you will have to deal with significant income swings in case you have your own psychologist’s office since your income will greatly depend on the number of patients you treat.
Can you get rich as a psychologist?
While you can make good money as a psychologist, most employed psychologists still don’t get rich and if money and luxury are really important to you, you should rather start your own business in this field instead of working as a regular employee.
Do psychologists need a second job?
Thanks to their good salaries, most psychologists are able to make enough money from what they are doing and don’t have to work a second job.
Do you get continuous training as a psychologist?
While you will get lots of training in college, you will also learn many things on the job and once you are a little bit experienced, you will no longer get continuous training but it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing instead.
Do you get sick pay as a psychologist?
Most psychologists also get sick pay in case they are no longer able to work due to bacterial infections or other diseases.
However, if you are not sure in this regard, you should ask other psychologists in your region to get additional information on this topic.
Do psychologists have a high level of responsibility?
Psychologists have a high level of responsibility since they have to deal with many people who are emotionally fragile.
Thus, mistakes of psychologists may lead to serious adverse outcomes for their patients and you will therefore always have to stay focused at work to get the best possible results for your patients.
Can psychologists work abroad?
Since people have to deal with emotional problems all over the world, it will also be relatively easy for you to find a job abroad as long as you have good knowledge of the local language and your education will also be recognized by the country you want to migrate to.
Is it stressful to work as a psychologist?
While you will not have to deal with lots of time pressure, working as a psychologist can still be stressful on an emotional level since you will hear many bad stories and will have to solve many serious problems for your patients all day long.
Is it boring to work as a psychologist?
Working as a psychologist never becomes boring since you will experience new things every day and will also have to solve demanding problems for your patients so that there will be no time for feeling bored.
Is being a psychologist hard?
While working as a psychologist is not hard from a physical perspective, it can still be hard on an emotional level since you will hear many bad stories during your career and may lose faith in people over time due to all the adversity you have to deal with on a regular basis.
Are psychologists at risk of burnout?
Due to the emotional pressure that comes along with working as a psychologist, many people who work in this field are at great risk of suffering from burnout and other mental problems and you really need a strong mindset to deal with all those things in an emotionally healthy manner.
Is there a dress code for psychologists?
You don’t need to meet a certain dress code as a psychologist.
Instead, you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable with as long as you don’t deter your patients.
What kind of psychologists are paid the most?
The more experience you have in the field of psychology and the better you are able to help out your patients, the more value you can provide to them and the more money you will be able to make as a psychologist in the long run.
Thus, you should really hone your craft to make as much money as possible from your psychology career.
What percentage of psychologists are women?
Around 73% of all psychologists are women while only 27% are men.
Hence, this industry is dominated by women which doesn’t mean that you have worse chances as a man. It just means that more women enroll in psychology degrees.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a psychologist?
Since you will have to listen to many bad stories and will also have to deal with lots of adversity at work, it can help to have an experienced mentor on your side who can help you overcome difficult periods of your career so that you don’t give up until you become more mature and are able to deal with all those things on your own.
Do psychologists have a high life expectancy?
Psychologists have rather low life expectancy since they are often not able to deal with all the emotional pressure that comes along with their jobs in a healthy manner and suffer from serious health problems sooner or later.
Do psychologists suffer from sleeping problems?
While psychologists don’t have to work at nighttime and can therefore maintain a healthy sleeping pattern, many of them still suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs since they are often not able to deal with all the bad stories they hear at work in an emotionally healthy manner.
What states are best for working as a psychologist?
Since psychologists are in high demand across states, you should choose the state you want to work for according to your own personal preferences and may also want to choose a region where living costs are rather low so that you are able to afford many nice things from your salary and don’t have to spend lots of money on rent.
Who do psychologists work with?
Psychologists work with many different patients on a regular basis.
Thus, it is crucial that you are a friendly and outgoing person so that patients trust you and are happy to rely on your support to overcome their problems.
Is working as a psychologist cool?
Being a psychologist is considered decently cool by the general public.
However, you should still not care about the opinion of others that much and rather choose your career according to your own individual preferences.
Can you start a side hustle as a psychologist?
Since you will have lots of leisure, it will also be pretty easy for you to start a side hustle as a psychologist.
For instance, you could start a blog or a YouTube channel where you help people overcome their problems and many of those people will be really happy to support you financially in return.
Do you have to be creative as a psychologist?
Being creative greatly helps you succeed as a psychologist since the more creative you are, the easier it will be to find solutions to your patients’ problems.
Do psychologists suffer from being overweight?
Since psychologists don’t have to work in a hard physical manner, they also don’t burn many calories at work and are therefore at great risk of suffering from being overweight in the long run.
How employable are psychologists?
Since an increasing number of people suffer from mental problems, psychologists are pretty employable and are in high demand all over the world.
Are psychologists happy with their jobs?
Even though psychologists have to listen to many bad stories during their careers, they are also pretty happy with overall working conditions since they can make good money from what they are doing while they still have enough time to spend with their family.
Is working as a psychologist exciting?
Working as a psychologist can be exciting since you will never know how the lives of your patients will turn out and you will experience many pleasant and also many unpleasant surprises along the way.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a psychologist?
Your impact on our environment will be rather limited as a psychologist since you will mainly focus on improving the quality of life of people on an individual basis rather than worrying about what would be best for our planet.
What are the pros and cons of working as a psychologist?
If you are still interested in becoming a psychologist, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a psychologist career.
Interviews and own research.
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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