Behavioral psychologists use research-based learning theories to help patients modify their behaviors, and use behavior therapy to treat anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse, and mental illness. The field is sometimes also known as cognitive-behavioral psychology.
Psychologists who work from a private practice have the ability to set their own hours, but most psychologists work on a full-time basis. The individual practitioner may choose to offer weekend or evening hours to his or her clients. Those that are employed by other organizations, including hospitals, in-patient mental health facilities, and schools, will likely work full-time schedules during regular business hours. There is a small amount of risk associated with careers in the field of mental health, especially for those who are working directly with patients who may become agitated or physically aggressive.
|Degree Level||Doctoral degree required for clinical psychologists|
|Experience||1-3 years of experience in the field|
|Licensing and Certification||State license is required to practice; certification is optional, but common|
|Key Skills||Strong verbal and written communication skills; analytical, observational, and problem-solving skills; knowledge of research and data collection|
|Salary||$68, 900 per year (Median salary for all clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, May 2014)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Board of Professional Psychology
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
It is not mandatory for psychologists to have an undergraduate degree in psychology. However, students without a bachelor's degree in psychology may be required to take prerequisites when pursuing graduate study. Many schools do offer bachelor's degree programs in psychology, which include courses in general, developmental and behavioral psychology. In addition, students usually take courses in research methods and statistics.
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