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Psychologist is a general term for a huge group of scientists, researchers, counselors, and teachers. Psychologists can work as counselors, providing individual, group or family counseling services for children and adults. They may be employed in clinics, schools or rehabilitation centers, or in private practice where they spend the majority of their time in direct contact with their clients. Unlike psychiatrists, these clinical psychologists cannot prescribe medication.

Some psychologists have independent practices and work on contract to schools, treating children who have educational or emotional problems, while some are consultants in the corporate world, developing solutions for problems in business and industry, and helping developers decide on the next big product.

Some psychologists concentrate on research and experiments, specializing in areas such as human development, child studies, adolescent behavior, human emotion, social patterns, learning strategies, languages, or personality. Their research may involve observing and interviewing people to gain insight into behavior, or working in laboratory settings, conducting various psychological experiments. Research psychologists usually work at colleges and universities, in government research departments or private research agencies. Some of their time will be spent applying for grant money, as well as writing up reports on their findings.

While psychologists perform their work in so many different ways, in so many types of environments, they certainly influence one another. Research psychologists never have direct contact with people in a counseling fashion, and yet a researcher at a university studying the impact of death on a family can have an important influence on a psychologist who works counseling families. A psychologist who specializes in studying child development and early learning behaviors will have an impact on the psychologists working as consultants for a depatment of education. This is because all research psychologists are required to publish their findings, and all psychologists know to read those studies, and apply them to their work. There are dozens of varieties of psychologists, and yet they are all important to one another, as well as to society as a whole.
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  Interests and Skills  
Psychologists are scientists. Those interested in a career as a psychologist should be analytical, rational, with a good memory and an inquisitive mind. It is important to have good writing and communication skills, and to be able to speak with children, the mentally ill, and professionals alike. Psychologists are interested in the mental health and mental development of people. They typically have a keen interest in academics, and enjoy studying, reading, and analyzing other peoples' theories and psychological discoveries. Psychologists must be methodical, organized, patient, and willing to search for answers to seemingly impossible questions.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Analyze patients and diagnose a mental block or illness
  • Develop treatment plans for patients
  • Conduct research on live subjects, including using tests and interviews to make conclusions
  • Write reports and articles on research
  • Apply for grants to pay for research
  • Teach university classes
  • Plan and implement workshops
  • Give talks at various events
  • Advise companies, school boards, and other organizations
  • It is difficult to explain a typical day for a psychologist because of all the different capacities in which they work. Each psychologist, regardless of what they concentrate on, will spend time analyzing data and meeting with other psychologists to compare experiences and knowledge. Some psychologists may spend a large portion of their day with clients. They will usually have nice, comfortable offices, and get the chance to travel, in order to meet with other psychologists, give lectures, and consult with other experts in their field of study.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Where a psychologist works depends on what a psychologist does. Psychologists who counsel people can be found in hospitals, clinics, universities, correctional facilities, shelters, group homes and government agencies. Some psychologists work in schools, or in corporations. Psychologists who focus on teaching and research are at universities, in offices and laboratories. They work alongside other psychologists, scientists, doctors, and social workers. They may work evenings and weekends, or regular, 9 to 5 days, depending on the area they choose to focus on.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Psychologists can work as researchers, professors, and all sorts of counselors. They can be government employees, or work for the private sector advising companies, or in their own clinics. They can publish articles, self-help books, as well as textbooks and other academic writing.

  Educational Paths  
Psychologists, working in all areas and capacities, must have at least completed a master's degree in psychology. This means going to school for four years to complete an undergraduate degree, and then returning for two to three more years of intense specialized study. Often, psychologists choose to complete a doctoral (PhD) program afterwards. This means that they can be licensed to work. To be licensed they have to pass a professional test and do supervised clinical work after they complete their university studies.


  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
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