-Victoria Szara

What does a "Psychologist" do?

A psychologist is someone that is an expert or specialist in psychology.

But what exactly is "Psychology"?

Psychology is the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.

Lesson 01 What Is Psychology

Daily Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Conduct scientific studies of behavior and brain function

  • Collect information through observations, interviews, surveys, and other methods

  • Research and identify behavioral or emotional patterns

  • Test for patterns that will help them better understand and predict behavior

  • Use their knowledge to increase understanding among individuals and groups

What kind of Education/Training is needed?

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Megan Pietrucha, a psychologist said...

“...To become a psychologist, you first need a doctorate degree in psychology... Other types of psychologists might do different things such as research, work with large companies, or conduct testing and assessments...On average, it takes people between 4-6 years after their undergraduate degree to become a psychologist. After you received your doctorate in psychology, you must then complete a year of supervised post-doctoral training and take a state licensing exam..."

To sum up, to be a psychologist, you need a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology. A master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Practicing psychologists also need a license or certification.

Skills needed to be a psychologist;

  • Patience: Psychologists must be able to demonstrate patience, because research or treatment of patients may take a long time. They must also be patient when dealing with people who have mental or behavioral disorders.

  • Communication skills: Psychologists must have strong communication skills because they spend much of their time listening to and speaking with patients.

  • Observational skills: Psychologists study attitude and behavior. They must be able to watch people and understand the possible meanings of people’s facial expressions, body positions, actions, and interactions.

  • Problem-solving skills: Psychologists need problem-solving skills to find treatments or solutions for mental and behavioral problems.

  • Trustworthiness: Psychologists must keep patients’ problems in confidence, and patients must be able to trust psychologists’ expertise in treating sensitive problems.

There are many more skills needed to be a psychologist, but these are the main ones.

“There are many important skills in being a psychologist. The first important skill is LISTENING! And not just hearing people, but deeply and honestly listening to their emotions and their struggles. Another important skill is awareness of self and others. In order to help people, I must first know myself, where my weaknesses (or "blind spots" as we call them) are, what are my strengths, how my history and experiences shape who I am and how I see the world. From there, I can be more aware of my client and who they are. Building the relationship with the client is essential to a positive therapy experience. Reading and researching the more effective interventions helps me be informed about what will kinds of approaches might work best with different types of people and different disorders. Lastly (but not least), practicing self-care is crucial. Being a psychologist means that you are choosing to help take care of other people for a living. This can be very tiring and the burn-out rate is high for psychologists as well as other helping professions (like teachers, nurses, counselors, etc.)... -Megan Pietrucha

What is the Salary and Job Outlook?

$33.31 per hour, in total $69,280 per year.

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Where can one find work in this field? Some of the hazards or disadvantages of the job?

You can find this job in hospitals, clinics, schools or private settings. Some of the disadvantages is the stress and trying to figure out how to help someone, many years of school, and also working for free for many hours in front of a licensed psychologist.

Biggest Challenges being faced as a Psychologist...

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It is a long process to become a psychologist. The biggest challenges of being one are probably going through many years of high school. For example, a Clinical Psychologist has to work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist for free for many years in order to get the right information and practice.

High School Preparation

Courses, Clubs and Activities

A course you can take is child/Human development because you are being taught how to take care of a human being and be responsible. You are also needed to be patient and trustworthy with these kids.

Peer leaders and peer mediation are two good clubs that are both in counseling and they teach more about it, You get to experience being a counselor and help students throughout the school day. These counselors help with academics, stress, peer, family relationships, and decision making.

Work Experience & Volunteer Opportunites

Being a babysitter can help. I would work with humans, and I can also see how these humans react to certain things, but at a young age. I would also learn how to communicate with people (technically children) and how to be patient.

And I could work with a student studying in psychology and see how it is being a psychologist.


  1. Anna Reed, Leyden HS Swimming Coach

  2. Corinne Hillertz, Lincoln MS Math/Science teacher

Post-Secondary Plans

College Majors

  • Child care and support services management

  • community health services/liaison/counseling

  • Family and consumer sciences/human sciences, communication

Colleges to look into:

“The best college is the one that is best for you. The college you choose should depend on not only one that has a psychology major...but one that fits your needs with how comfortable you feel being away from home, financial resources, and support. I'd recommend visiting and talking to as many colleges as you can, and trust your instincts about if that college feels like a good fit for you..." -Megan Pietrucha

Here are some good examples of colleges to look into that psychology is popular in:

Aims Community College

Greeley, Colorado

University of Arkansas Community College at Hope

Hope, Arizona

American River College

Sacramento, California

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Tifton, Georgia

Alexandria Technical and Community College

Alexandria, Minnesota


The most important thing I have learned is that even though the process of becoming a psychologist is very long, and very difficult, it is going to be worth it in the end if you really want it. You get to work with different kinds of people, and respect the the unique beauty of every individual. You get to study the emotions they are feeling during different situations, help them with their self esteem, give them a little more hope, and make people feel better no matter what they go through.

If you want to know a little more about psychology, check out this interesting video!

[PSYC200] 1. What is Psychology?