How to become a psychologist

How to become a psychologistIf you are passionate about learning how the human mind works, consider becoming a psychologist. There are many different kinds of psychologists ranging from market research psychologists to clinical psychologists. Depending on the type of psychologist you would like to become, you need to complete either a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.). Let’s take a closer look at a step-by-step guide on how to become a psychologist.

Bachelor’s degree in psychology

The first step to becoming a psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In a bachelor’s program, you'll build a strong foundation in psychology and better understand how the human mind works. You will also learn about the different fields of psychology, such as abnormal psychology, cross-cultural psychology and personality theories. Throughout the bachelor's program, you can decide what area of psychology you would like to focus on in your future career as a psychologist. If you want to become a developmental psychologist, work at your college’s child development center. Interested in clinical psychology? Volunteer at a mental health clinic. 

As a psychology major, you can go into a specialized field, such as social work, counseling, addiction treatment or marketing research jobs. But if you want to become a psychologist, you will need to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D. or Psy.D.

Master’s degree in psychology

Most master’s degree programs take two years to complete. During this time, you will gain a more in-depth knowledge of psychology, including your chosen specialty, such as clinical psychology or neuropsychology. 

Doctoral degree in psychology

Most state licensing boards and fields of psychology require the completion of a doctorate degree to become a licensed psychologist. Depending on your specialty, you will either complete a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. A doctoral program is usually around four years long but can last up to seven years. 

Get licensed to practice psychology

In most states, you need to complete a two-year supervised internship before becoming a licensed psychologist. In Florida, you need to complete a total of 4,000 supervised hours—2,000 hours while you are earning your doctorate and 2,000 hours after. This hands-on training will prepare you to enter the psychology field as an experienced clinical psychologist.  

When your supervised hours are completed, you need to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a score of 500 or higher. After you pass the test, you will be licensed and can work in your specialty.

Interested in other careers in psychology? Learn how to become a mental health counselor or qualify for other psychology jobs.

Get started with Lynn 

Lynn University has an intensive psychology program. In your bachelor’s degree in psychology, you will learn about areas ranging from abnormal psychology to personality theories. Gain real-world experience analyzing human behavior with our staff of researchers and licensed clinicians. You'll even have the opportunity to attend psychology conferences and present your research. In most universities, you only have these opportunities in graduate school. At Lynn, you'll gain the experience necessary to prepare you for your career and can even earn a master’s degree. 

Advance your education with a master’s degree in psychology. In your master’s degree, you can focus on general or industrial/organizational psychology. Both tracks will prepare you for your future career and your doctoral program.

Learn more about psychology including the types of careers in psychology and their salaries and how to become a mental health therapist.