The psychologist job description usually involves the study of emotional, cognitive, and social processes, as well as that of the behavior. That is done with the help of interpreting, observing, and noting how people relate to one another and to the environment.
Of course, psychologists tend to have a wide array of specializations. Those can be clinical, school, forensic, child, or even sports psychologist. This makes the job description of a psychologist very vague, as they can work in a variety of settings. These settings can be industrial, organizational, industrial-organizational, counseling, educational, or experimental.
Job Overview: What Does a Psychologist Professional Do?
Some psychologists tend to work independently with patients, to consult with clients, and to conduct research. Others, meanwhile, work as part of health care teams. This includes the collaboration with social workers and physicians in different settings, such as schools, specifically designed centers, and other such locations. They also usually work with teachers, students, and parents.
Psychologist Job Duties
There are child psychologists, clinical psychologists, forensic psychologists, criminal psychologists, school psychologists, and even prison psychologists. Each of them has their own set of responsibilities and ways they go about treating their patients. However, they do have the same goal in mind, which just so happens to be to help their patients develop the proper mechanisms to handle their lives in a better fashion.
Although a psychologist will face most of the following responsibilities throughout their career, many depend on the professional path. A therapist will have other responsibilities than a researcher, and they will both have different job descriptions than a pediatric or a sports psychologist. However, every psychologist will run into the following responsibilities at one point or another:
- Directly observing the client’s behavior, determining the client’s needs and assessing the client’s abilities.
- Using and/or changing the client’s behavior in order to help them.
- Running a wide variety of psychometric tests and interviews, and knowing how to interpret the applied tests.
- Devising appropriate treatment programs, and practicing therapy and counseling with clients.
- Working alongside a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, education professionals, and social workers.
- Offering therapy for conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, challenging behavior, and interpersonal or social issues.
- Encouraging the use of psychological services, and offering consultation to other professions.
- Carrying out various researches and studies, and knowing how to use research data to reach a conclusion.
Psychologist Job Essential Skills
Interpersonal skills. A psychologist job description conveys highly advanced interpersonal skills. Also, a great flexibility is necessary when dealing with all types of patients. Great communication skills and large amounts of patience make a person good at this job.
Trustworthy. This professional has to have an air of trustworthiness and the ability to inspire the clients to want an alliance with the therapist. Commitment and keeping to the treatment plan are extremely important as well. The psychologist has to have confidence in the therapy plan, having the clients’ best interest in mind. He needs to also have a very strict ethical code and an open-mind.
Field Knowledge. The psychologist must have the ability to provide an explanation for the symptoms. Adapting that explanation as the symptoms and circumstances change is very important as well. The ability to develop a functioning treatment plan is also necessary. Also, it is part of the psychologist job description to have a great attention to details, a good memory, and a great attention span.
Empathy Skills. The ability to understand the patient and to have large amounts of compassion are mandatory for this job. The psychologist has to have a great measure of self-insight, a great measure of emotional stability and confidence. As well as the ability to project that confidence to the client, to inspire hope and optimism.
Becoming a Psychologist Professional
A psychologist is a person who has to have at the very least an undergraduate psychology degree. They deal with studying the brain in terms of emotional, cognitive, and social behavior. They often have to fix a series of developmental issues or traumas, helping the patients restore their normal, day to day behaviors.
Qualifications and Training
Most psychologists need a doctoral degree in psychology, although some positions only require only a master’s degree. Therapists working in their own independent practices usually require a license.
In the majority of the United States, the psychologist job description and salary are tightly related to being licensed or certified. These licensing laws tend to vary from state to state and from position to position. For example, most counseling and clinical psychologists need an internship. Also, a doctorate in psychology, and to pass the Professional Practice in Psychology Examination.
As for the certification, the American Board of Professional Psychology can award certifications in thirteen different areas of psychology, from psychoanalysis to couples and families, and even rehabilitation. While not mandatory in most places, these certifications are required by some hospitals. As it demonstrates not only a specialty in the field but also dedication.
Aside from the extensive educational experience and the training, most psychologists cannot get a job without at least one or two years of professional experience. This practice period is usually performed under the guidance of a certified psychologist. He is also supposed to check in on the psychologist in training. They often trade patient stories so that the certified psychologist can help the newer one with their cases and so that they can learn from the more experienced therapist.
Meanwhile, psychologists working in other domains of activity have an experience requirement that is determined by the place of employment. Each school, prison, research center, or personality disorder clinic can impose their own experience requirements to any potential new hire – be it an experienced psychologist or simply a medical assistant.
Since there are many types of psychologists, with many working in different environments and with different specializations, there can’t really be a generalization of a psychologist’s working hours. Instead, psychologists in private practices usually set their own hours, even working on weekends or holidays to accommodate their clients. Since they make their own hours, they can work however much they want.
Meanwhile, those with the psychologist job description working in environments such as regular hospitals, mental hospitals, and even prisons usually catch evening and weekend shifts. Overtime is rarely an issue. Last but not least, psychologists working in clinics, schools, organizations, or other such institutions tend to work regular business hours.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for the profession will grow 19% by 2024, much faster than the national average for all occupations. With a median salary of $75,422 per year and with a very favorable job outlook, psychologists are seemingly becoming more and more common.
While those with a doctoral degree in an applied specialty have the biggest prospects by far; beginner and aspiring psychologists also have much better chances of getting hired than they used to. This is owed to the decreased stigma placed upon people seeing a therapist. As well as to the increased open-mindedness that has been spreading through the country in the past few years.
Few jobs require as many characteristics and qualities as being a psychologist, but that only makes it so that those who really want the job are the most driven to get it. While it is very vague due to the many specialties a psychologist can go for, the psychologist job description is one of the most rewarding out there. While the salary may not seem all that appealing to some, the real satisfaction comes from the emotional and mental gains offered by the occupation.