Psychologist License
   Psychology License | Dept. of Licensing

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Anyone who is interested in becoming a professional psychologist must first study for and ultimately acquire a psychology license in order to be able to do so, and it is no mean feat in order to get one. Gaining such a license involves a lot more than just taking one brief college course; on average, psychology students must complete something like five to seven years of graduate education in addition to their original bachelor's degree.

Given the sensitive nature of the issues and topics that many psychologists will probably come across in their career, however, it is perhaps more understandable why such an intense regime of study and training is required before such a license is handed out. In the United States, a Doctoral degree in psychology or some closely related field, a high grade on the National Psychology Licensing Exam (which is overseen by the Association of State and Provincial Boards of Psychology) and an average of two years (operating full time) field experience under the supervision of an already licensed psychologist are the minimum requirements to be considered to be granted a license to practice professional psychology.

The Doctoral degree in psychology (or related field) enables psychology students to learn about a wide variety of human behavior and the social, developmental learning, stress, cultural background and even biological basis for them. Subjects generally include normal development and growth, the formation of personality, and the causes of psychopathology and other psychological problems. Students also receive training in diagnostic evaluation techniques (how to identify psychological issues) and various counseling methods. The laws are very stringent across all fifty states in the United States, in order to prevent the public from being provided with psychological assistance from those not sufficiently trained or skilled to actually do so.

There are actually a number of different career paths that the eventual granting of such a license can lead to for the person now holding said license. The health and mental health care community is the most obvious but is far from the only career option open for someone in possession of a psychology license. A practicing psychologist can work in government departments or for big business, become teachers of psychology themselves in universities and colleges, or become what is known as social psychologists, restricting themselves exclusively to the practice of research and testing in the psychology field. Most usually, psychologists are described as falling into two categories - the scientist or scholar psychologist who conduct research as mentioned above, or the practitioner and professional psychologist, who apply their learned psychological knowledge to real life situations and individuals. American Psychological Association training models demand that licensed psychologists train to such an advanced degree that they are capable of ultimately devoting themselves to either career path.
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