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A Comprehensive Guide for a Career as a Psychologist

Career as a Psychologist

If your mind is often boggled by the way our brain processes information, how we learn, why we forget; how we think, why we feel, why people react the way they do, etc.; then your quest is likely to be answered by Psychology.   Psychology is a science that helps us understand, describe and predict human (and animal) behaviors. It also explains cognitive processes, affective states, experiences and states of consciousness. This study is growing dynamically with the ever-evolving society.

Psychology is a multifaceted discipline which lies at the crossroads of other disciplines like biology, medicine, sociology, linguistics, medicine, anthropology, history and education as its content overlaps with other subjects, with unfailing regularity It is considered both as a Science and a Social Science, even though a majority of schools, offer it with the Humanities stream.  

What is ‘not’ Psychology?

You may have heard a lot of notions about Psychology which is commonly constructed and concretize the already existing myths regarding Psychology. For instance, we often hear that psychology is a ‘luxury for the rich’ and that it does not have much scope in the Indian context.

It is essential to deconstruct these false notions prevalent about the subject so that you can make a well-informed career decision:

  • Psychology will not help you read minds, or predict what the other person will do next. Psychology is not an occult science but it empowers you to derive meaning from the otherwise not so obvious situations.  
  • A lot of students perceive psychology as easy and think that it would require no hard work. As they say, there is no shortcut to success! Psychology includes a lot of understanding and critical thinking as the subject matter deals with humans. In most of the boards like CBSE, there is due weightage allotted to practical work as well. Psychology is a challenging yet interesting subject. You can succeed in your efforts and determination.  
  • People think that psychologists get paid huge sums of money for listening and giving advice which their family and folks can also give. They think that psychologists waste their time researching stuff which is typically common sense. Just because something seems true does not necessarily make it so. Psychologists study these research questions in a scientific manner and predict human behaviors based on the results and observations. Our commonly held beliefs and attitudes are assessed for truth and falsehood in a rational and objective way.  
  • An interesting misconception is that psychology will help you hypnotize people and extract their private information against their wishes. Hypnotism is a special technique that is practiced by a particular school of thought and their therapists. Not every counselor or psychologist knows how to practice it. So the next time you hear any such myth, don’t forget to debunk it. After all, awareness is contagious too!  

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Career Prospects

The increasingly complex world has helped opportunities for psychology graduates to grow manifold. These range from working in hospitals and schools to NGOs and corporate houses. An undergraduate course in Psychology is career-oriented as it offers a theoretical understanding of the major schools of thought along with providing practical skills in psychometric testing and various psychological tools.

Specializations in the areas of Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Organizational Behavior (OB), Rehabilitative Psychology, Health Psychology, Sports Psychology and Medical Psychology are available. Those of you who opt for Counseling Psychology can further specialize in marital counseling, child counseling, family counseling, drug rehabilitation and trauma counseling.

You can add to your skills by opting for additional courses like Special Education and learning disabilities which train you to become special educators; both in mainstream and special schools. As a matter of fact, it is now mandatory for schools to employ both a counselor and a special educator.

Given the complexity of managing and retaining human capital, there is a growing demand for psychologists in the corporate sector as well. An MBA degree preceded by graduation in psychology, preferably Human Resource Management, is well sought in corporate sector. Well-established companies seek such professionals for recruitment, training, talent management, and learning and development.

Research analysts studying consumer behavior and market trends are also sought by market research companies.   One can pursue a career in journalism, public relations and advertising too. A specialization in forensic psychology can get jobs in police departments and crime branches.

You can study social work and pursue careers in NGOs, family courts and social welfare organizations. Further specialization in child and women welfare, educational needs and criminal behavior can be obtained. There is a lot of scopes to pursue a career in academics as a researcher, school teacher, and assistant professor.

After post-graduation in Psychology one can pursue B. Ed. and work as a PGT Psychology or clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) which is held every six months for eligibility as an assistant professor by the University Grants Commission (UGC). UGC also qualifies the meritorious candidates for Junior Research Fund (JRF) for pursuing a Ph.D.  

Your career choice notwithstanding, there are a few basic prerequisite qualities and skills that you need to possess, for a successful career in Psychology.

  • Firstly, you should have good interpersonal skills and an inherent interest in human behavior.
  • Secondly, you should be able to empathize with people and be patient and tolerant of various situations.
  • Apart from this, trustworthiness, open-mindedness and emotional stability are also essential qualities of an effective psychologist.

Studying psychology will not only give you a wide spectrum of career options to choose from but is also likely to add positivity and harmony to your life. Apart from the financial benefits, intrinsic satisfaction and rewarding relationships are almost certain with a career in Psychology. What else can one ask for!


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9 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Guide for a Career as a Psychologist”

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