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Psychologist

What is this job like?

Psychologists study the human mind. They also try to explain why people act as they do. They do research to test their ideas about people's actions. Their research methods vary. They may get data from lab tests, interviews, and surveys.

Psychologists usually specialize. Some help people with mental problems, while others help people deal with divorce and death of a family member or friend. They work with people of all ages, but some work mainly with old people or young people.

Psychologists help people deal with problems of everyday living. Some work in schools to help students with behavior problems. Others may help solve problems in places where people work.

Some psychologists do research at colleges and private research centers. They study behavior using human beings and sometimes using animals, such as mice and monkeys.

Working conditions vary. Some work as part of a team. Some psychologists have their own offices and set their own hours. However, they may also work evenings and weekends to meet with their clients. Those who work in schools and clinics usually work regular hours.


How do you get ready?

Psychologists have to go to school for a long time. Some need a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree. This takes 5 to 7 years of study after completing college. Persons without Ph.D. degrees may work in some specialties or as research assistants.

Psychologists who have their own practice need a license from the State where they want to work. A license requires certain education and work experience, and passing a test. Psychologists who work with patients must be good with people. Those who do research have to be able to work by themselves and as part of a team.

How many jobs are there?

Psychologists held about 152,000 jobs in 2008. They work at many different places such as schools, hospitals, research firms, businesses, and government agencies.What about the future?

Employment of psychologists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018. Psychologists with a Ph.D. degree will have the best chance to get a job, and those with good computer and research skills will have an advantage. Persons without a Ph.D. will face more competition for jobs.


How much does this job pay?

In May 2008, psychologists had average yearly wages of $70,190.

However, earnings vary greatly. Earnings of successful, self-employed psychologists can be much higher.

Are there other jobs like this?

Counselors

Doctors

Social workers

Teachers—special education

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