how long does it take to become a psychologist

How long does it take to become a psychologist and what skills are required

Working as a psychologist attracts more and more young professionals. Already in high school, students think about how to become a psychologist and make their plans for the future. Such a field of expertise is liked by people who seek to help others in solving their life problems, to have creative work. At the same time, the skills received during training at the psychological faculty or refresher courses help the psychologist themself to cope more easily with problems and be more satisfied with life.

how long does it take to become a psychologist

How to become a psychologist

Psychology is a complicated profession because it involves constant contact with different people. Some seek help on their own, others are forced to do so without realizing their needs. Nonetheless, the profession is in demand in different areas of work: psychologists are invited to work in educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, among them hr-specialists are chosen. Many large businesses cooperate with such specialists to provide their staff members with psychological support against the background of anxiety, a large number of duties and personal problems.

Psychologist’s services include communication with the client, performing training and consultations (individual, pair or group), assessment of psychological state and personal qualities of people, help in difficult life situations, etc., but specific responsibilities depend on the specialization and place of work. For example, in large companies, the psychologist advises management on work with the team, while in schools and preschools, he or she deals with psychological development and education of children.

According to the classification “Five types of professions”, the work of the psychologist belongs to the category “Man – person”, so its main subject of attention – people, their relations, feelings. Before thinking about how to become a psychologist, it is worth finding out your abilities and interests. If you have realized that psychology is your goal and work on your calling, it is time to prepare. Let us find out what it takes to become a psychologist and how to achieve your dream.

How long does it take to become a psychologist 

  • 4-5 years to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree 
  • up to 4 years to obtain a Master’s Degree 
  • up to 8 years to obtain a Doctoral Degree

How much does a psychologist make with a masters degree

Students with a master’s degree in psychology will find an average salary range for this profession between $73,270-$95,710 on an annual basis.

How much does a clinical psychologist make with a PhD

A salary for a clinical psychologist with PhD can go as high as $124,000. Another source reports the average salary for clinical psychologists with a doctoral degree is $76,352, but the salary can go as high as $110,000.

Clinical psychologist PhD programs

There’s a variety of programs to choose from based on geo, skills, and budget. They include University at Albany, American University, Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas and University of Montana.

Studying to become a psychologist

The primary step in obtaining the desired career is to study. After graduation from school, gymnasium, lyceum or other general education institutions, it is required to enter the psychological faculty of the university. Most domestic universities offer applicants the profession of a psychologist, but more precise information can be found just on the website of the university or in the admissions committee. The form of study may be full-time or part-time.

Also, before admission, the applicant can register in preparatory courses at the university. Many universities offer such training so that the future student can learn more about the desired profession, acquire basic skills and be able to successfully continue their studies from the first year.

Psychologist schooling cost

Median annual tuition costs to earn a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (public institution):

  • In-state residents: $8,640
  • Non-residents: Just under $20,000

Median annual tuition costs to earn your doctorate in Clinical Psychology (public institution):

  • In-state residents: $11,000
  • Non-residents: $24,000

Median annual tuition costs to earn a master’s and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology (a private institution):

  • Private institution master’s degree: $30,000
  • Private institution doctorate degree: $34,000

As you can see, psychologist schooling cost is not at all low, but the annual salaries for a clinical psychologist with PhD and master’s degrees are worth it.

Psychology training: university or courses

Upon college graduation, you will get a diploma as proof of your knowledge in one or more areas: counseling, preschool psychology and pedagogy, clinical psychology, etc. Do you think that’s all it takes to become a psychologist? No, you have obtained only basic education, which must be expanded and improved. Now a young specialist wants to master psychoanalysis, synth approach, gestalt approach or something else.

Also, a good psychologist should always improve: attend training sessions, communicate with colleagues and recognized experts, read books by profession, improve himself. In a word, to become a psychologist, you need to devote your life to psychology.

Personal qualities of the future psychologist

Professional orientation is an important part of career choice. This means that it will be challenging for you to become a psychologist and work in an occupation if you do not possess certain personal qualities.

Personal qualities to become a psychologist:

  • calm, judicious and tactful;
  • the ability to listen to your interlocutor, to put yourself in his shoes and understand;
  • the skill of empathy, which is combined with the ability to isolate oneself from the problems of others;
  • the ability to dispose of people, to create a comfortable company for them;
  • Ability to analyze, self-awareness, ability to draw conclusions;
  • observation and resistance to stress;
  • the ability to be an objective person and take a neutral position.

This basic set of personal qualities must necessarily be in the person who is going to become a psychologist. You should agree that psychology and interaction with people is a very delicate work, which not everyone can do. Your personal fitness for the profession also increases your chances of being satisfied with your own choice of specialization, which you may be engaged in throughout your life.

Please note, before you start training, it is important to find out the differences between three different occupations in the same psychological field:

difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist


This is an expert with a medical background, specializing as a medical or clinical psychologist or a psychologist who has mastered the psychotherapeutic techniques of the respective field of psychology. The former is treated with the method of prescription of medicines, the latter group works in parallel with specialists needed to correct the current state of the patient. These may be therapists, gynecologists, neurologists or neuropathologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists and sometimes psychiatrists. Both groups of specialists work with the mental health of patients.

Important: The psychologist has no medical education, so he has no right and does not diagnose, prescribe or prescribe drugs to his patients. Thus, the main category of attention of a specialist is psychologically healthy people who are experiencing difficult life situations, emotional shocks and other types of problems.


It is a specialist with basic medical education and learning who specializes in psychiatry (with additional education).

Important: the psychotherapist can prescribe medication, if necessary, combining it with medical treatment methods. The psychotherapist works with the mental health of patients who are in difficult conditions: apathy, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, phobias, etc.


This is a specialist with medical education who specializes in mental pathologies, i.e. disorders of the human mentality. He works with people who suffer from serious diseases such as schizophrenia, psychosis, epilepsy.


If you have decided to choose a career as a psychologist, be sure to think twice about your decision. This job has many advantages, it is in demand and promising, but do not forget that you are going to work with people. For this, you need to prepare yourself and learn to help others. If you want to learn more about psychology and work as a psychologist – contact the practitioners!

Becoming a psychologist without education is not possible, and to have a specialized higher education is incredibly important! Without education – you can just get involved in psychology. The level of competence, knowledge, environmental friendliness, professional boundaries, compliance with the principle of “do no harm” during work are the main pillars of the profession.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *