How Do I Become A Counseling Psychologist?

If you enjoy helping people solve their life problems, then a career as a counseling psychologist may be right for you. When you are a counseling psychologist, you have the opportunity to get paid to listen to other people’s problems. Of course, part of your job is also helping people overcome significant emotional barriers that block them from achieving a stable and peaceful life. You should be an emotionally resilient and strong person in order to become a counseling psychologist. Maybe you have wondered, “How do I become a counseling psychologist?” If this career appeals to you, then you should be prepared to devote a significant number of years in pursuing the education that this high level career demands.

What’s it like to be a counseling psychologist?

When you are a counseling psychologist, you have the opportunity to gain a true understanding of the struggles that humans face. The majority of your time is spent in meeting with patients on a one-on-one basis. They may have lost a loved one or been involved in a serious accident. They may have an eating disorder or other issues that they are battling with. It is your job to pinpoint the exact issue that an individual is suffering in his or her life. You will listen to the ways in which a patient describes an emotion that he or she feels. You will also listen to a patient recount his or her history and help that patient come to an understanding of an issue that plagues him or her. One of your other tasks may be to help a patient develop a positive way to respond to negative emotions. You may help a patient learn how to become conscious of his or her emotions and help him or her deal with them in a healthy manner. Part of your job may be suggesting forms of therapeutic healing, such as drawing, exercise or meditation.

Education Requirements

To become a counseling psychologist, it is important for a person to obtain a doctorate. One will also have to pass a certification exam for the state in which he or she intends to practice. To enter into this field, one can have a college degree in psychology or counseling. It is also wise for a person to obtain internship experience during his or her college years. An internship experience can provide a person with the opportunity to learn how to run an independent counseling practice. It can also help a person learn different counseling techniques that may not be taught in a college program.

Salary & How to Get a Job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the starting salary for a counseling psychologist is about $68,000 a year. One may earn a higher salary if he or she works for a counseling company for five or more years. When a person wants to become a counseling psychologist, it is essential to network with other established professionals in the field. One will likely go to work for a major counseling center upon graduation from a college program. The majority of counseling psychologists work for a major counseling center. After one works for a center for a few years, then he or she may be able to go on and open an independent counseling center.