I'm in high school, and I want to be a psychologist

I just wanted to get to know one so I can hear about their college experience and the courses they took. I also wanted to know if they enjoy their job and how long they were in school.

Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Eric Ström, JD, MA, LMHC
Attorney & Licensed Mental Health Counselor
It's a great idea for you to reach out to find a psychologist to talk to if this is a field you might be interested in pursuing. 

Regarding the length of schooling, it generally takes 4 years of college and an additional 4 to 7 years of graduate school to earn a doctorate degree to become a psychologist. 

There are also other similar professions, including counseling that don't require a doctorate degree. Licensed counselors generally completed 4 years of college and an additional 2 years of graduate school. 

If you are thinking about a career in psychology, the local APA chapter would be a good place to start to find a local psychologist to talk to. Here's a link to the NJ APA chapter:
https://www.psychologynj.org/
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care nor legal advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist/attorney nor does it create a therapist-client nor attorney-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Cynthia Finefrock
Cynthia Finefrock
Assisting with neurodiversity, autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Hi! My name's Cindy. I'm not a psychologist, but I am a pre-licensed professional counselor. I can share with you some details about my college experience and afterward. I attended Texas Woman's University, earning a Master of Science in Counseling & Development with an emphasis on Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I did my internship at the university's community clinic and took electives in expressive arts, dreamwork, and couples counseling. The degree program took me three years to complete, even with getting hit by a car in the middle of it all. If you hurry, you can take two years LOL.

My bachelor's degree was from the same school, in general studies, with concentrations in sociology and women's studies. Depending on the school you decide to go to, you can enter grad school with a variety of undergraduate experiences. In undergrad, you could study relevant fields like psychology, music therapy, sociology, women's / gender studies, theology, religion, etc.

TWU is CACREP accredited, which is an important feature to look for in a counseling master's degree program. Luckily for me, I did not need to take the GRE, but some schools require it. In general, a master's degree in counseling includes the following classes:

* Ethics and professionalism

* Counseling theory and practice

* Multicultural counseling

* Diagnosis and treatment planning

* Addictions counseling

* Crisis intervention

* Clinical mental health counseling

* Career counseling

* Lifespan human development

* Research methods

* Psychological assessment

* Group counseling

* Pre-practicum, practicum, and internship

* Portfolio

The upside to getting your master's degree in counseling is that you don't need to get a doctoral degree in order to pursue your license! The challenge is that, once you graduate, the job-seeking process can be a chicken-and-egg scenario where you need the pre-license in order to get a job and gain experience, but you need a job to gain experience and pay for license-related costs (LPC-supervision, application, testing, etc.). Add social or access barriers, such as low income, disability, minority status, prejudice, discrimination, and/or bureaucratic nonsense into the mix, and you've got yourself a doozy, which can result in lack of income for two years, repeated encounters with Murphy's Law, volunteering to earn hours that you need to be getting paid for, and working a unique job that initially permits you to earn counseling hours and then revokes said permission upon hiring you. (Ahem, that didn't happen to me... at all).

The good news is, you have 5 years to earn your full licensure, you can choose if you work virtually or in-person depending upon where you're hired, and you get to learn marketing and networking strategies along the way. Once you are afforded the experience you deserve, you may find specialty passions you never thought about pursuing before! This could include both counseling passions and side-interests!

Just keep an open mind and try all possible avenues for you, because gaining clients is hard work, requiring self-promotion and quite possibly multi-vocational pursuits.

In summary, it's a long, hard road, but it's worth it. I could literally answer so many more questions and share so many more experiences about this, so ask away!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Samantha  Osborne
Samantha Osborne
Encouraging and Compassionate

Mental Health is an exciting and rewarding field.  I hear you saying that you want to be a psychologist, and that is one path to working in mental health.  You could study psychology, social work or counseling to become a practicing therapist. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist.  I currently provide assessments and supervise several counselors in a large clinic in Asheville.  I also have a private practice online. I studied Sociology and Interpersonal Communication as an undergraduate, and then I received a counseling masters degree.   My master's degree was comprised of several supervised practice courses and theory courses.    I really enjoyed my education, and I find my career equally rewarding and enjoyable. If you are considering working in the field, I recommend emailing several counselors, social workers, and psychologists in your area and setting up an informational interview.  Not everyone you contact will be willing to give you their time, but many may.   This will help you determine which path to therapy may be right for you.  Licensing restrictions and abilities vary state to state and a local practitioner may be able to provide you with a specific list of challenges/triumphs about their particular license and education.    Psychologists are usually PhD level practitioners and require more education to begin.  LCSWs , LPCs and LMFTS can practice with a master's degree.  Best of luck! This is an exciting time.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Submit your own question

More Answers