Do you have a wealth of psychology knowledge and education, but you still aren’t quite satisfied professionally? Do you think that obtaining your doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) will allow you to satisfy your career goals? If this is an educational path you are considering, then continue reading below to determine how to best pursue this so that you will receive the best benefits possible. Of course, before you can gain admittance into a doctor of psychology degree program you should have completed your bachelor’s degree in a psychology related field. It is common for students who are pursuing a doctor of psychology degree to have their undergraduate degree in areas such as developmental psychology, general psychology, or abnormal psychology.
As you work on the course work that is required to obtain your doctor of psychology degree you will be learning the skills and knowledge that you will need to work in a clinical type setting. You should expect it to take between five and six years of course work in order for you to be adequately trained to work as a licensed psychologist. During this course of study, you will likely be required to complete a one year internship that will allow you to put into practice the knowledge you have been learning within the classroom. A graduate degree program will focus more on the act of practicing psychology as opposed to the research aspect of the field of psychology. Keep in mind, after completing the required course work you will also have to earn a passing score on the national psychology licensing examination.
As you work to obtain your doctor of psychology degree you should expect to take numerous courses that are research oriented. In addition, they focus on advanced emotional and neurological functions. For instance, a psychopharmacology course will examine how medicine can affect a patient’s biological and neurological functions and how placebos and social pressures can affect a person’s behavior. You will also be required to complete a personality theories course. This class will introduce you to major theories of psychotherapy and the differences and similarities of an individual’s personality. It is also common for you to be required to successfully complete an emotions and motivations course.
This class will have students to explore problem solving, memory, imagery, decision making, and consciousness. In addition, the four theories relative to emotion will be extensively studied. You should expect to conduct psychological research within a classroom setting. This course will train you to collect, verify, and analyze psychological data while maintaining the privacy of your clients. It is common for this to be conducted under the supervision of a mentoring teacher. A group process class will also be required within this degree program. This class will teach you how to properly conduct group therapy sessions and techniques that would be appropriate for you to use in these sessions. Another important part of this class will have you learning how to explain the purpose and benefits of therapy to groups that are enrolled in therapy sessions.
It is common for psychologists to choose an area of specialization such as industrial psychology, clinical psychology, school psychology, developmental psychology, or social psychology. Many doctors of psychology choose to open their own psychology practice, while others work in research universities, hospitals, or rehabilitation organizations. It is important to understand that the licensing requirements for psychologists vary from one state to another, so you will want to check into what is dictated by the state you reside in. However, most all states require practicing psychologists to complete continuing education hours in order to maintain their licensure.