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How To Make Your Career In Psychology 

Disclaimer : These are observations made from counseling sessions and shared to create awareness towards supporting Mental Health and the professional field. I am based in North India educated in a CBSE system , I share the process through this understanding and my personal experience.

Our blog series as it is formulating now on the topics on what is Mental Health and knowing about the field , brings us from What , Who and in this blog the HOW 

Often in social gatherings and even career counselling sessions that I took in my earlier years a common question would be “ How to become a Psychologist in India “

So I take upon this supportive space of my words to share the answer – Lets begin with educational qualifications required to become a psychologist 

A CBSE board offers Psychology as a subject in 11th & 12th can be taken up by pursuing Arts , Science & Commerce streams as per the particular school rules. 

Undergraduate courses have a common entrance test for university if you would like to pursue your higher education in India . For foreign universities the process is different and I can be contacted to take you through the process for foreign admissions.

After 12th Standard , in the present scenario you would have to give entrance tests and for some universities even sit for interviews. Having a basic knowledge about what psychology is and why  you would like to study it on the set would be a good way to prepare for it. Generally a good percentage in 12th standard is the merit that gets you admission in undergraduate course.Under UGC guidelines now it is a 4 years course.

The degree trajectory to follow – 

  • Undergraduate Level –  B.Sc/B.A in Psychology, Clinical Psychology or Applied Psychology
  • Graduate – Specialisation at the postgraduate level, with MA or MSc in Psychology, Social Work, or Counselling.
  • Highest Degree in the field –  PhD or MPhil 
  • *Specialisation courses , certifications and diplomas are essential to be added to ones academic repertoire to remain relevant and evolving as a practising Psychologist or just being in academia “

Giving individuals an overview of the scope of the subject , I am sharing an infographic taken from an online source – 

As the reader would be able to appreciate as a subject Psychology is a holistic degree to branch further into the subject or diversify with the learnt skill sets in other domains. As versatile the field is it is also challenging as discussed in previous blogs.

From the day the individual decides to begin attempting to understand psychology professionally they are evolving personally as well and as one aims for Graduate and specialisation courses the arduous discovery of oneself is the gift of psychology to every novice.

As the sub field area of interest is picked up, the career choice also formulates the different sectors that can be explored by doing internships , observations & training in hospitals and other industrial settings.

To point out the present colleges don’t do overactive campus placement but the Private Universities in North India are changing the scenario by including internships in the course at UG & PG level which encourages industry interaction and opens up job opportunities.

Currently India lacks a common professional authority for licensing Psychologist ( it is available for those who train themselves a Clinical Psychologist or SOcial Workers in Mental Health & Rehab ) . After Post Graduation the general practice is to call yourself a Psychologist and work as one , only after completing specialisation courses and certifications one can be using specific sub field terms to denote one self.

The path to becoming a Psychologist and beginning to earn a respectable income is as long as 9 years after 12th standard and a life long learning and skill upgradation journey. 

A piece of advice even most seasoned professionals across India would agree if an individual wants to take up psychology they should also be in therapy/counseling themselves from the onset of the academic journey. As the strains and tolls at each step need to be understood , coping mechanisms placed within yourself and also experience receiving support to be able to support others as a Psychologist 

The field is changing , administratively and in the coming few years a common governing body is envisaged thus for young individuals Psychology can be a gift to themselves and their skills a gift to others!

“Meet yourself on the professional path and improve the holistic essence of yourself to serve others along with equipping yourself for life.”

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Aarti Ahuja
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