How to Become a Counseling Psychologist

How to Become a Counseling Psychologist

Today’s ever-changing fast paced world causes a lot of stress on people’s lives. There are often times where people have a hard time dealing with issues on their own and need help and guidance. Trained specialists are needed to provide one-on-one treatment to address all types of concerns that occur throughout the stages of life. This is where counseling psychologists come in.

What does a counseling psychologist do?

A Counseling psychologist helps people deal with problems that occur in everyday life from personal issues to career problems. They help their patients with social, emotional, educational, vocational, developmental, health, and organizational concerns. Their main goal is to improve the overall well being and reduce stress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and help their patients live more functioning and fulfilling lives. Counseling psychologists use a variety of activities such as testing, interviewing, and intervention in their plans of treatment. Treatment plans may be short or long term and they are usually related to a specific problem and include outlined goals. Counseling psychologists often integrate research, theory, and practice into treatment plans.

What kind of training does a counseling psychologist need?

Counseling psychologists usually have a master degree in counseling or a doctoral degree in counseling psychology. Those with a master degree can work in many different settings and are typically supervised by a doctoral level psychologist. Doctoral programs generally have more clinical and research experience and are usually required for independent practice. Currently the American Psychological Associated (APA) accredits doctoral education programs in counseling psychology and institutions that provide internships.

Counseling psychologists must be licensed in all states to be involved in direct patient care or have an independent practice. Licensing laws are different from state to state and the type of position. Counseling psychologists typically need a doctorate in psychology, 1 to 2 years of professional experience, and an approved internship to obtain a license.

What are the prospects for a career in counseling psychology?

Faster than average growth in employment is projected for all psychologists, increasing 15% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Growth will be fueled by increased demand for psychological services in many different settings. Counseling psychologists will be needed to help people handle addiction, stress, marriage and family problems, job issues, and other issues.

The best job opportunities will be for counseling psychologists that have a doctoral degree and extensive experience.

How much do counseling psychologists make?

As of June 2009, the middle 50 percent of counseling psychologists earned annual salaries between $52,370 and $67,080. The top 10% earned annual salaries over $73,987 (2).

A counseling psychologist position is an excellent choice for people who have a general interest in helping people overcome their problems. Individuals must be mature, emotionally stable, and be able to effectively deal with patient problems. Great communication skills, sensitivity, compassion, and the ability to lead and inspire other people are also essential qualities of counseling psychologists.

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