How Long Does It Take To Become A Psychologist?

Working in psychology entails engaging in the practice of or conducting research in the branch of science that deals with the mind, thinking, and behavior. 

Psychologists can work in various roles, many of which are satisfying in their unique ways. 

Psychologists positively impact people’s lives by assisting them in comprehending and changing their thoughts and behaviors or by carrying out research to develop psychology. 

If you’re curious about how long it takes to become a psychologist, you’ll probably discover that perseverance is a quality that students who pursue this opportunity must possess.

Becoming a psychologist takes time and effort; it’s not a vocation you can pursue quickly. 

You should prepare for a long time for your job if you’re going to devote the time necessary to complete the coursework, fieldwork, and research necessary to become a fully certified psychologist.

This article describes how long it takes to become a psychologist, along with the tasks of the profession, educational and license requirements, work environment, remuneration, and employment prospects.

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What is a Psychology School Like?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is the first step to becoming a psychologist. 

You can also earn degrees in fields like anthropology, social work, sociology, or education closely related to your chosen field. 

After earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to decide what to do next. 

Usually, you’ll continue on to a master’s or doctoral degree. 

However, a doctorate and a bachelor’s degree are required if you want to work as a clinical psychologist. 

The exact degree requirements may not apply to other specialties. 

For instance, a master’s degree can be used in place of a doctorate to become a certified marital or family therapist.

Is Attending a Psychology School Worth It?

If you’re interested in pursuing a profession in psychology and are intrigued about how the mind functions, getting a psychology degree is worthwhile. 

Contrary to popular belief, graduates of psychology programs can find work in various industries, including social work, research, advertising, and law enforcement.

What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Psychologist?

From the two-year associate’s degree to the doctoral level, psychology degrees are available at every educational level imaginable. 

These degrees typically require one to two years of study, but they can take up to seven years to complete. 

The years you spend in school may increase because some of these degrees accumulate on top of one another. 

Since you must have completed at least eight years of education, a Ph.D. in psychology, for instance, involves four to seven years of study.

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Two-Year Degrees in Psychology

The associate’s degree in psychology is the one that can be obtained the quickest for those who are new to higher education. 

Associate’s degree programs, often offered by community colleges and junior colleges, usually have at least 60 college credits and can be finished in two years of full-time study, provided that students take a whole load of courses. 

General education courses make up a sizable portion of an associate’s degree program. 

However, students pursuing an associate’s degree in psychology may enroll in courses in developmental psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, forensic psychology, personality theory, and child or adolescent psychology.

Psychology degrees at the associate level frequently serve as a bridge to a bachelor’s degree. 

Your employment options in psychology will be severely constrained if you decide against pursuing more education. 

Only in disciplines like mental health and human services may associate’s degrees in psychology equip students for junior-level positions.

Four-Year Degrees in Psychology

Undergraduate psychology programs are very popular. 

The typical number of college credits needed to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology is 120. 

A psychology Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is frequently available to full-time students who complete their studies in four years. 

Even more so if they switch majors during their undergraduate career, it’s not unusual for students to get their bachelor’s degrees in more than four years. 

Studying the mind, mental processes, and behavior is something that students who enroll in a bachelor’s program in psychology learn about at the undergraduate level. 

Coursework in experimental psychology, aberrant psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and physiological psychology is typically included in degree programs.

A psychology bachelor’s degree program may include coursework in topics ranging from learning psychology to the psychology of personality. 

Students frequently enroll in experimental psychology, statistics, data analysis, and psychological research courses since research is essential in psychology. 

Even if they don’t want to work in a clinical or research capacity, psychology bachelor’s degree holders should have a solid understanding of the field’s theoretical frameworks and methods for psychological testing and evaluation.

Even though receiving your psychology bachelor’s degree is a significant accomplishment and step toward your profession, it does not automatically qualify you as a psychologist. 

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, you need a master’s degree, if not a Ph.D., to hold that position (BLS).

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Master’s Degrees in Psychology

There are numerous master’s programs in psychology. However, not all of them will fully prepare you for positions as a practicing psychologists. 

According to the BLS, this graduate degree may be sufficient to secure employment as a psychologist in industrial-organizational psychology. 

For employment as a psychologist in any other area of psychology, you must have advanced academic training beyond a master’s degree. 

Although certain universities offer stand-alone master’s degree programs in clinical, counseling, or research psychology, these degrees are frequently obtained while pursuing a Ph.D.

The standard length of study for a master’s degree is one to two years, and it usually includes a thesis that may be based on sources. 

The study of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, experimental psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology are among the specialties that provide master’s degrees. 

Minimum 30 graduate credits and 60 credits are needed for master’s degrees.

Graduate Specialization in Psychology

The specialist-level graduate degree is one form of degree that is rarely discussed. 

At least 60 graduate study credits are required for these degrees. 

The Education Specialist (EdS) and the Specialist in Psychology (PsyS), two specialist-level degrees that can help students get jobs as school psychologists, are two examples. 

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, master’s degrees that require 60 credits of study are also specialist-level degrees, even though the word “master” appears in the title of the degree.

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Doctorates in Psychology

The classic research-based Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree and the professional practice-based Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree are the two most popular doctoral degrees in psychology. 

A psychology doctorate requires extensive study and long hours of fieldwork. 

Psychology doctoral degree programs can take up to seven years to complete and call for a minimum of four years of study, research, or fieldwork. 

According to Psychology Today, getting a Ph.D. usually takes five to seven years instead of four to six years, making it slightly more time-consuming than getting a PsyD.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Psychologist?

Depending on your learning rate and professional objectives, being a psychologist can take anywhere between eight and twelve years. 

For instance, the time it takes to pursue this job increases because senior positions sometimes require extra education. 

Looking at how long it takes to accomplish certain steps in this professional path, we can see that:

  • A bachelor’s degree can be obtained in four years on average. 
  • It can take two to three years to finish a master’s program. 
  • You might require four to seven additional years of education to earn a doctorate. 
  • One to two years may be needed for training and license.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Psychologist?

After finishing the necessary undergraduate courses, becoming a psychologist might cost anywhere from $1,700 to $50,000 in tuition and fees, depending on the state or nation where you live and the school offering the training.

Salary and Job Outlook for Psychologists after Study

From 2020 to 2030, psychologists can anticipate an employment growth of 8%, which is as fast as the average for all other occupations in the labor force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

Over the same ten years, the BLS projects that there will be around 13,400 new positions available for psychologists. 

A large portion of these job opportunities might result from psychologists leaving employment or changing to other professions.

A psychologist’s yearly income in the United States is $94,684. 

Your income in this field may differ depending on your experience, education, place of employment, and company. 

Consider upgrading your degree to help you become eligible for advanced roles with larger earning potentials if you’re looking for a bigger wage. 

Along with a sizable pay, you can also be eligible for employee perks like disability insurance, 401(k) matching, and flexible scheduling.


A psychology degree is a document that attests to a candidate’s formal academic instruction in psychology, which is the study of human behavior and mental processes. 

To interpret and comprehend people’s ideas, feelings, and actions, those in this field do scientific research and analysis. 

A psychology degree can be a fantastic choice for you and your future career if you’re interested in ideas like consciousness, memory, and reasoning.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How long does training for a psychology degree take? 

A psychology bachelor’s degree can be obtained in four or five years if you are enrolled full-time in classes. A further two to three years are required if you choose to pursue a master’s degree. It might take four to seven years to earn a Ph.D. in psychology.

Is it worthwhile to become a psychologist? 

Being a psychologist can be very fulfilling if you like interacting with people and assisting them in realizing their full potential. Despite the difficulties you will inevitably encounter, you may feel satisfied after witnessing your clients make genuine strides and work toward their objectives.

How demanding are psychologists’ jobs? 

It can be difficult and draining to deal with customers. 
Helping people overcome and manage their mental and emotional challenges is typically the most significant challenge and greatest satisfaction of becoming a psychologist. Having to deal with other people’s concerns daily is challenging; it is a fact.

What goes on in a psychologist’s day? 

Psychologists commonly do the following tasks: Investigate behavior and brain activity. Interview, survey, and observe people. Determine the causes of organizational, behavioral, emotional, and psychological problems and provide diagnoses.

What kind of person makes the best psychologist? 

Psychologists are frequently investigative people, implying that they are inquisitive individuals who enjoy thinking alone. Additionally, they tend to be social, which means they do best when they can engage, influence, or assist others.

What does a typical day in a psychologist’s life entail? 

Clinical psychologists typically carry out many duties daily, including patient interviews, evaluations, diagnostic tests, psychotherapy, and program administration. There are several specialized areas in the field of clinical psychology.


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