Psychologist Job Descriptions: Humans are complex beings. For this reason, our behaviour and mental processes need to be studied in order to understand, explain and, if necessary, change them. Psychologists study the way people think, feel and behave, and use this information to help them function better in their day-to-day lives.
Most psychologists work directly with people. Their clients include people who are mentally or emotionally ill, and those who have problems with their spouses or families and have trouble adapting to school or work life.
Some psychologists specialize in certain areas: - Clinical psychologists work in places such as hospitals, clinics and counselling centres. They help patients with mental, emotional or medical problems. For example, some patients may be dealing with a debilitating illness; others may be going through a divorce or grieving the death of a loved one. Some clinical psychologists work with other specialists to develop and run patient treatment programs; others work in educational settings, training graduate students.
They may run mental health programs. Clinical psychologists can further specialize in areas such as neuropsychology.
- School psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools and are concerned with the learning process. They may evaluate the effectiveness of academic programming, teaching and/or parenting. They also help teachers and staff to manage students'behavioural problems and deal with issues such as drug abuse.
- Industrial-organizational psychologists can help businesses improve worker productivity, design user-friendly workspaces and equipment, coordinate effective training programs and do vocational assessments which help match people to jobs (and visa-versa). They are also involved in researching management and marketing problems.
- Counselling psychologists advise people on how to deal with problems they face in their everyday lives. They work in settings such as university counselling centres and hospitals, as well as in individual or group practices.
Counselling clients in these areas involves assessing their general state of being (usually through interviews) suggesting ways in which they can deal with their problems, and perhaps designing special behavioural modification programs and other forms of treatment. Psychologists may provide one-on-one therapy or may facilitate group sessions.
Other types of psychologists include experimental, developmental and statistical psychologists. Experimental psychologists conduct controlled experiments on humans and animals, revealing things about motivation, learning, perception or behaviour. Developmental psychologists focus on changes that occur during infancy, adolescence, old age and other stages in the human maturation process. And statistical psychologists make use of surveys, interviews and statistics to shed light on important social and political issues.
Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are not qualified to prescribe medication for their patients.
Educational Path: To become licensed as a practicing psychologist, you must have a master's degree or PhD in psychology, depending on your specialization. You must also register with your provincial college of psychologists.
Psychologists plan to start a private practice may benefit from courses in accounting and administration.
Additional training in specialized or alternative approaches to psychology, such as hypnosis or holistic practices, might also be helpful.
Other Suggested Qualifications Psychologists work with people with all kinds of behavioural, emotional, physical and mental problems. Dealing with people in these situations requires emotional maturity and stability.
Related Subjects English Social Sciences Sciences Health Studies Social Studies Psychology Sociology Salary Expectations: Psychologists are employed by educational institutions, health organizations, government agencies and research institutions. Some work as consultants for business organizations. Many are self-employed and work in private practices. Others work in group practices.
Psychologists usually work full-time and earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year. Those with PhDs working in private practice receive the highest salaries, up to $100,000 a year.
Promotional Opportunities: LEVEL 1 Intern EARNINGS $35,000 to $50,000 a year.
REQUIREMENTS -Master's degree or PhD in psychology.
RESPONSIBILITIES Doing research; conducting test or experiments; counselling people""all under the supervision of a registered psychologist.
LEVEL 2 Registered Psychologist EARNINGS $50,000 to $90,000 a year.
REQUIREMENTS -PhD in psychology. -Registration with the provincial college of psychologists.
RESPONSIBILITIES Counselling people; performing psychological assessments; conducting research.
LEVEL 3 Director of a Social Service Agency or Psychology EARNINGS $70,000 to $80,000 a year.
REQUIREMENTS -Several years of experience as a registered psychologist. -Administrative and managerial experience.
RESPONSIBILITIES Managing a group of psychologists and other health care professionals; dealing with the government; doing limited counselling and research.
Future Employment Outlook: Benefits & Drawbacks: Psychologists work in many different settings, depending on their specialization, including hospitals, prisons, schools, universities, counselling centres and independent or group practices.
Psychologists are often faced with deadlines, tight schedules and overtime work. Their routine may be interrupted frequently. They may be required to attend conferences or conduct research.
Most psychologists work nine or 10 hours a day, five days a week. Those in government and industry have structured schedules. Psychologists working in health facilities may work shifts. Some may have to work evenings or weekends to accommodate their clients. Those who work in private practice, or as part of a team in a group practice, often have more flexible schedules.
What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in your job? Psychologists must be objective and have a good awareness of themselves. They need to keep their problems separate from those of patients. They should be able to keep an open mind, and be willing to take different approaches with different people. It is also important that psychologists are able to relate well to people, especially in clinical settings.
It depends on the area of psychology in which they are working. Clinical psychologists have to be very good with people. For researchers, however, people skills are not so important. Instead, critical thinking skills and originality in the kind of ideas they propose are the most important ingredients for success.
How much job security is there for people in your field? Traditionally, psychologists who worked for large institutions, such as hospitals or school boards, could count on having jobs for life. Recent government cutbacks, however, have made such lifelong security less likely. Still, I think that most psychologists who work for these organizations can count on having their jobs for at least the next five to eight years.
Obviously, psychologists who work for themselves in private practice cannot be fired. But in order to make a good living, they have to be able to attract a large number of patients.
Like medicine, psychology is a profession that requires special academic qualifications. Those who can make it through the schooling and earn these qualifications should never have trouble finding employment. As government cutbacks take their toll, however, it will become more difficult to get jobs in universities and other public sector institutions.
What other jobs could you do with the skills you have gained in this field? A psychologist should be able to do virtually any people-oriented job. Human resources is one area where a psychologist's skills would be of use.
The critical thinking skills that psychologists develop can be used everywhere.
Do you think that there will be a lot of demand for people in your occupation in the future? Yes. Changes in society, such as widespread job loss, are causing a lot of tension and stress. Psychologists can play an important role in helping people adapt to these changes.
It is difficult to predict what the demand for psychologists will be in the future. Although universities have not been hiring many new people recently, a large number of psychology professors will soon be retiring. Hopefully, this will lead to a renewed demand for psychologists.
How do you think your job will change in the future? I think there will be a movement away from the narrow, traditional, scientific approach to psychology towards a more humanistic, holistic approach which recognizes the spiritual aspect in people.
Although computers can be used to gather and process information, they cannot think critically, see the big picture, or come up with original ideas. For that reason, I do not think that advancements in computer technology will significantly affect the way in which most psychologists do their jobs.
Are there many opportunities in your field? What should people do to get started? As a result of government cutbacks, public institutions, such as hospitals and schools, are hiring fewer people. Psychologists today have to be prepared to create their own job opportunities. Innovative, original people who are willing to explore new ideas and take psychology in new directions will always do well.
There must be a lot of opportunities out there, because I have yet to meet an unemployed psychologist.
Likes: "Well, because I run my own practice, I really like the independence that that affords me. I can make choices about who I see, who I don't see, how long I see them for. I can make choices about when I take my vacations and so on and so forth. So I like that.
I also like to see individuals shift and change. I like to see them change, blossom, become more positive, laugh more. Begin to get more enjoyment out of life, for example. That's a real joy.
Finally, the thing that I think underlies all of this is the opportunity to be of service"ÃÂ¦ the fact that I could be helpful to my fellow man"ÃÂ¦ generally, be of help." Every day is different. Every day there's a new question to be asked.
Number two, it keeps your brain going since you're never the doing the same thing, never thinking the same ideas; you're always moving.
And finally, if you like people [and] you like travelling you do a lot of that. There have been very few countries I haven't been to and very few cities I haven't been to. You're always invited to come and present at different cities which is exciting." Dislikes: "The insecurity that I find when I have to collect fees. I find that very difficult. And sometimes there are some people who find it very difficult to pay or hard to pay, or refuse to pay. That's a problem.
The second one is individuals who think that by myself I can solve their problems for them, rather than them taking responsibility for it.
And the third one is individuals who attempt to use my service in a kind of blackmailing [attempt against] somebody else, whether it's [a] legal or marital [issue] - when they want me to support their points of view." "First, [as a Research Psychologist] there's a lot of reading that you have to do in the job. I guess you read the equivalent of about a textbook a week in terms of papers and other kinds of articles.
Two, you have a lot of writing to do. If you don't like to write and you don't like to write in a very constrained manner, a very accurate manner, then it won't be the job for you.
And number three, there's a lot of work. Your job doesn't stop at five o'clock. You normally take work home with you and you normally work weekends." Advice: "Assume the position of a life long student. You're here to learn and keep an open mind. There are new things happening all the time.
Regardless of the Degree that you may achieve, avoid being arrogant and self-centered. Your are only one sample of humanity and not the king of it." "My advice would be to get a good, broad background. Take Maths, take Sciences and take the Arts. They all reflect on humanity, and humanity is what Psychology is about." Breakdown of Activities: Working with people Working with people Working by yourself Working by yourself Working with numbers Working with numbers Writing or drawing Writing or drawing Making or creating things Making or creating things Running machinery Running machinery On the phone On the phone Using computers Using computers Working at the office Working at the office Working out of the office Working out of the office A Day in the Life: 9:00 am "" 10:00 am Checking telephone messages; making appointments; organizing schedule.
10:00 am "" 12:00 pm Seeing clients; taking notes.
12:00 pm "" 1:00 pm Eating lunch; making phone calls to clients.
1:00 pm "" 2:00 pm Reading articles on recent psychological trends and research.
2:00 pm "" 3:00 pm Writing reports; preparing for client visits.
3:00 pm "" 6:00 pm Seeing clients; taking notes.
7:00 pm "" 9:00 pm Possibly conducting a group therapy session.
************************************** 8:00 am "" 9:00 am Meeting with a department head.
9:00 am "" 12:00 pm Working on a research paper in my office.
12:00 pm "" 1:00 pm Meeting with colleagues regarding current research projects; eating lunch.
1:00 pm "" 2:00 pm Meeting with staff members.
2:00 pm "" 4:00 pm Working on a research paper in my office; preparing to present this paper at a large conference.
5:00 pm "" 8:00 pm Flying to a conference in another city in order to present the research paper.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Job Descriptions: Child psychology is a growing field and will continue to be so through 2010.
Job Futures reports that psychology as a whole has enjoyed 60 per cent employment growth over the last decade. That rate of growth will continue, and Job Futures even singles out the educational arena as a hot employment opportunity for child psychologists.
They must be emotionally stable, mature and able to deal effectively with people. Sensitivity, compassion and the ability to lead and inspire others are particularly important for clinical work and counselling. Research psychologists should be able to do detailed work independently and as part of a team.
Salary: There are about 10,000 psychologists employed in Canada, reports Job Futures. They make an average of $53,600 a year -- the highest paid make $76,500, while the lowest paid make $25,200.
Education: A bachelor's degree in psychology qualifies a person to assist psychologists and other professionals in community mental health centres, vocational rehabilitation offices, and correctional programs. However, without additional academic training, opportunities in psychology are severely limited.
Some universities require an undergraduate major in psychology. Others require only basic psychology with courses in the biological, physical and social sciences, statistics, and mathematics.
University of Saskatchewan University of Western Ontario Department of Psychology Department of Psychology Queen's University University of Calgary Department of Psychology Psychologist degree: Lewis Barker, a psychology professor, says successful psychology students bring an assortment of strengths to their studies. Among them are intelligence and a curiosity both about the world and the nature of people.
Psychology professor Diane Moyer agrees that a good foundation in math and science is helpful for a psychology major. She also suggests students should be computer literate because some courses are offered online. As well, some specialties make regular use of computers -- for instance, her field involves computer simulation of the brain.
You'll also need excellent writing and speaking skills, notes Kathy Belicki, a professor of psychology at Brock University in Ontario. "The student who does not have a close-to-publishable writing style is at a distinct disadvantage. Verbal expression skills are also important since psychologists spend much of their time writing and speaking." If you're interested in psychology, there are things you can do now to get a feel for the field. "Volunteering in hospital settings or summer jobs in laboratories would be useful," says Barker. "Or working as volunteers with young people or the aged may help to develop interests in counselling." A well-rounded course load with classes in math and science will be helpful. Also, classes that help develop your writing skills will be beneficial for the lab reports and research papers you'll be preparing.
Getting Ready : High School Courses - English - Algebra and other Math - Biology and Chemistry Experience and Interests - Work or volunteer in a hospital - Volunteer work with youth or the elderly