How to Become a Psychologist?

Are you thinking of becoming a Psychologist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Psychologist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Psychologist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Psychologist

Becoming a psychologist takes time, as candidates need to meet extensive requirements to practice. However, once you're in this field, it can be rewarding in many ways. If you're ready to dedicate your life to pursuing this challenging career path, follow these steps:

Inventory your soft skills.

Before you explore a career as a psychologist, take an inventory of your soft skills. Knowing if you have the right traits for this challenging role is invaluable. Successful psychologists possess many interpersonal qualities, like:

  • A passion for learning.
  • Empathy.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to set healthy boundaries.
  • Patience.
  • High ethical standards.

Get your bachelor's degree.

To become a practicing psychologist, you'll start by earning a degree in psychology. Depending on the university you attend, your program will earn you either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. This undergraduate study typically takes four years or 120 semester credits to complete.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Psychologist?

79% of people working as a Psychologist earned a GED / High School Degree

What skills do you need to be a Psychologist?

  • Work Ethic
  • Degree IN Psychology
  • PHD
  • Motivated
  • Diagnosis
  • Filing
  • Leadership
  • Integrator
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Psychologist in the United States.

Earn your master's degree.

Once you have your bachelor's in hand, you will want to pursue your master's degree immediately as a psychology candidate. Therefore, this program comes with admission prerequisites. However, as long as you complete your undergraduate degree in a related field, your coursework should meet those conditions. A master's in psychology requires 30 credit hours and takes up to three years to complete. This program may also serve as part of your doctoral degree's thesis.


Earn a doctorate.

Most states require psychologists to obtain a doctoral degree from an accredited institution prior to licensing. State boards generally recognize credentials in related areas, such as:

  • Clinical psychology.
  • Counseling.
  • School psychology.
  • Educational psychology.

To meet state standards, doctoral programs must be:

  • Under the direction of a licensed psychologist.
  • Developed by faculty specializing in health services.
  • Taught in an educational institution with the specific intent to train psychologists.
  • Organized with sequential coursework with set criteria for program completion.

Doctoral program students must also pass examinations and complete the minimum number of semester hours, in addition to completing a dissertation and a residency at their institution. Expect the curriculum to cover subject matters like:

  • Ethics.
  • Research.
  • Individuality.
  • Assessment.
  • Treatment.
  • Social behavior.

Gain experience.

Most states require a budding psychologist to earn at least 3,000 hours of experience before granting a license. The best way to satisfy those regulations is through internships and supervised clinical practice. Expect to invest a minimum of 2 years in your area of expertise before applying for your license.


Get licensed to practice.

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards developed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This test assists state psychology boards in evaluating the qualifications of potential candidates. It administers this standardized, knowledge-based examination to applicants for licensure and, once passes, certification to practice. Once you have obtained this certification, you are ready to search for psychologist jobs.

Psychologist Career Path


2 - 4Years of Experience
HK$360K - HK$360K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Senior Psychologist

2 - 4Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Psychologist IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Salary Trajectory

Psychologist Career Path

Psychologist I
Senior Psychologist
Psychologist Manager
Psychologist IV
Assistant Director of Psychology
Chief Psychologist

Related careers in the Healthcare Industry

Interested in other Healthcare careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Psychologist skills. Discover some of the most common Psychologist career transitions, along with skills overlap.

School Psychologist
13% skills overlap
8% transitioned to School Psychologist