Health psychologist is scientists who research the link between physical health and behavior. These particular psychologists use their findings to determine links between mental health and physical health and, through the years they have found mental health effects can be the cause of various illnesses. Aside from analyzing patients, health psychologists use their knowledge to teach in various universities and medical schools to educate larger groups of their findings. These psychologists can work in both private and public sector. There are some community-based careers within health psychology that include help with drug abusers, teenage pregnancies, family matters and so on.
If you are intrigued by the human mind and want to make a difference in the medical world, health psychology may be the best career option for you. Below is a quick guide on how to become a health, psychologist.
Although not an easy career to get into, becoming a health psychologist is extremely rewarding, this said, it does involve a lot of hard work.
Before becoming a health psychologist, you will need to earn some qualifications. Firstly, you will need to earn an undergraduate level degree. Although it is preferable to gain a degree in psychology, there are some other options. Applicants to undergraduate psychology programs often have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This test is an admissions requirement for many universities across the US.
Gaining work experience on either a voluntary or paid level is an extremely good way of upping your chances of getting into a graduate program. While this is not mandatory, it will make your chances of getting into your chosen university much higher as admissions boards often prefer the extra “real world” experience.
As it is a health related subject, you will need to acquire a doctoral degree rather than a master's degree. Some doctoral degrees do require students to acquire a master’s first but in most cases it is not an obligation. Students are often asked, while completing their doctoral degree, to complete a one-year internship accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Once students have attained both their undergraduate and doctoral degrees, most go on to train in a post-doctoral setting. Doing so allows students to get the experience they need to start working as a health psychologist. Although not a necessity, it allows students to work in a real work environment under licensed, certified psychologists in a clinic. In addition to acquiring an amazing set of skills and preparing yourself for a career in the sector, a post-doctoral degree will help you build professional relationships and learn from others wisdom.
Get Your License and Certification
Getting the correct licensing is a must. It is impossible to practice as a health psychologist without it. In addition to this, it is impossible to acquire a practice license without the right qualifications. It is imperative that candidates have at least an undergraduate and doctoral degree in psychology, have an internship, have one to two years’ experience in the field and pass the licensing exam. Once you have acquired all these qualifications and your license, you will be able to get certified.
So you’ve done all your training, and you are now a licensed health psychologist. You’ve gone through writing thesis after thesis and trained for every exam that came your way, congratulations! Unfortunately due to the field you have chosen you will be required to continue education throughout your career as you are working in a medical field.
To keep your license current, you will be required to continue studying. Although most states set their individual requirements, most want you to be tested every two years. Aside from the state requirements it is great for health psychologists to keep up to date with current educational trends. By actively continuing your education while you are pursuing your career you will be one step ahead of the game at all times. You can be the best of the best and potentially get that promotion or raise you have always wanted.
Follow Your Dreams
So we’ve established that becoming a health psychologist is not necessarily a walk in the park. However, it is an incredibly rewarding profession to pursue. Your training will allow you to understand the relationship between the human mind and body and in turn this research will help you prevent certain mind related illnesses. Remember there are many schools and universities that offer you the chance to get started. If you aren’t able to attend a particular university, there are many other options online to study towards your dream career.