Counseling Psychologist

by: Mackenzie Oakley

Description:

A mental health professional who works with patients on mental, emotional, and behavioral problems and disorders. Counseling psychologists usually will discus issues with patients and provide their advice on addressing the main problems and what treatment methods can be used. The psychologist serves people of all ages and cultural backgrounds in both individual and group settings. They also consult regularly with organizations seeking to enhance their effectiveness or the well being of their patients.
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Working conditions:

A counseling psychologist may spend most working hours at their own office. Others spend their hours working for someone else at a office, courthouse, mental hospital, school, police station, or rehabilitation centers. They are usually able to set their own hours if they own their own office. Also open to accommodating to their patients and what they have available for their hours.

Education requirements:

Those interested in counseling psychology careers will usually start by earning a four year Bachelor's degree in psychology. In order to start their careers, however, advanced degrees are usually necessary. A number of universities offer Master's and Doctoral degrees in counseling psychology. Counseling psychologists need to learn about the fundamentals of psychology and research methods, focusing on the different therapy and counseling techniques. Volunteering or working in a mental health setting demonstrates commitment to the counseling profession. Some undergraduate programs offer structured internships for credit that allow students to set up appropriate work experiences with mentors and then document their progress. This type of experience also gives a student an opportunity to develop a relationship with a counseling professional who may be able to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school applications.

Job outlook:

Individuals with masters degrees will experience intense competition for open positions since most organizations prefer hiring individuals with doctorate degrees. Psychologist with masters degree should not have problems finding counseling and psychological assistant positions. Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as people continue to turn to psychologists for help with their problems. Psychologists will also be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Psychological services are also needed for veterans suffering from war trauma, for survivors of other trauma, and for individuals with autism.

Salary:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of clinical and counseling psychologists was $72,540. Salaries are highly dependent on the counseling psychologist's area of specialization, which may push their salary up or down.

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