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Psychologists have the demanding yet rewarding job of studying cognitive, emotional and social processes and behaviors in people. They conduct their studies through talk therapy and observation, and they report their findings and make diagnoses by interpreting and recording how their patients relate to their surroundings and to people in their lives. A key goal for psychologists is to understand and articulate the thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviors of their clients.
A normal day for a psychologist may include collecting information (through surveys, interviews, etc.), conducting studies of clients’ brain function and behavior, researching, identifying behavioral and emotional patterns in clients, diagnosing disorders, setting treatment plans, making referrals and writing. Psychologists who focus on research may find themselves writing articles and research papers to share the conclusions of their studies. Educating others is a main goal of psychologists who focus their careers in research.
Psychologists may evaluate patient behavior through experiments, psychoanalysis or psychotherapy. It may be necessary for them to give personality, performance, aptitude or intelligence tests, and it’s up to them to determine when those tests are needed.
There are many different types of psychologists in practice today. Here are five of the most common ones.
Education and licensure requirements vary by state, but it is common for clinical and counseling psychologists to need a doctoral degree. Forensic psychologists, neuropsychologists and health psychologists may obtain entry-level jobs with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology, but continuing education is almost always required. Most states require licensure to practice as a psychologist. The median annual wage for psychologists is $72,580, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.