How to Start a Career In Psychology

Career In Psychology In India — Salary, Skills, and Institutes

How to Start a Career In Psychology
Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. Psychologists study a person’s reactions, emotions, and behavior, and apply their understanding of that behavior to treat the associated behavioral problems.

Treatment is focused on therapy and counseling, rather than prescribing medications for a “quick fix.

” Psychologists are, therefore, responsible for identifying psychological, emotional, and/or behavioral issues, as well as diagnosing any specific disorders, by using information gleaned from patient interviews, patient’s tests and records, and medical reference materials.

It is also the psychologist’s job to come up with an individualized treatment plan for each patient, and to modify it as necessary over time (depending on the patient’s progress).

(Also read: Difference Between Psychologist and Psychiatrist)

The requirements to become a licensed psychologist are:

  • Pass the 10+2 exam preferably with Psychology as one of the subjects
  • Complete a Bachelor (BA or BS) in Psychology degree (the curriculum of which focuses on “personality development, psychotherapy, stress management and neuro-psychology”)
  • Specialization at the postgraduate level, where one can get an M.A. or M.Sc. in either Psychology, Social Work, or Counseling
  • Further specialization at the doctoral level is available as well via PhD or M.Phil

The postgraduate and doctoral programs focus their studies more on research, which is great for pursuing either a research or teaching job, whereas the graduate degrees (Bachelors) emphasize practice, such as counseling.

In order to practice Counseling Psychology, you only need to have a BA/BS in Psychology, or in a related field ( Education or Social Work).

Graduate (Bachelors) degree programs are 3 years long, Postgraduate (Masters) degree programs are 2 years long, and Doctoral (MPhil or PhD) programs are 2 years long (can extend depending on research and studies involved).

Personal Skills in a Psychologist

In order to be successful in the field of psychology, one must have:

  • a very analytical mind for diagnosis
  • excellent communication skills to effectively counsel patients who suffer from mental/behavioral issues
  • a lot of patience, which grants the psychologist the ability to remain cool under pressure when dealing with a particularly difficult case or a challenging patient
  • a genuine passion for helping people overcome their own mental/behavioral challenges
  • compassion combined with drive are the two most important personality traits in a psychologist

(Also read: Careers in Psychiatry)
Aspirants who have successfully competed their training in psychology can make their mark and pursue a career as a psychologist in the following lucrative branches of psychology.

Clinical psychologists assess and treat people with psychological problems. They may act as therapists for people who are experiencing normal psychological crises (e.g.

, grief) or for individuals suffering from chronic psychiatric disorders.

Some clinical psychologists are generalists who work with a wide variety of populations, while others work with specific groups such as children, the elderly, or those with specific disorders

Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychologists do many of the same things that clinical psychologists do.

However, counseling psychologists tend to focus more on persons with adjustment problems rather than on persons suffering from severe psychological disorders.

They may be trained in psychology departments or in education departments. Counseling psychologists are employed in academic settings, college counseling centers, community mental health centers.

Health Psychology

Health psychologists are concerned with psychology's contributions to the promotion and maintenance of good health and the prevention and treatment of illness.

They may design and conduct programs to help individuals stop smoking, lose weight, shed alcoholism, manage stress, and stay physically fit.

They are employed in hospitals, medical schools, rehabilitation centers, public health agencies, academic settings, and private practice.

Teaching and Research

If you're interested in teaching undergraduate, master's-level, or doctoral-level students, you will probably work in a university setting, where you will probably also do research.

If an individual is not interested in teaching and wants to focus on research, he/she can work for government agencies (for example, the Center for Disease Control) or for private research organizations.

To work as a psychologist in these settings, one would need a Ph.D. in psychology.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

I/O psychologists (as they are usually called) are concerned with the relationships between people and their work environments. They may develop new ways to increase workplace productivity or be involved in personnel selection. They are employed in business, government agencies, factories, industrial set-ups, corporate houses, and academic establishments.

Sports Psychology

Sports psychologists are concerned with the psychological factors that improve athletic performance. They also look at the effects of exercise and physical activity on psychological adjustment and health. Sports psychologists typically work in academic settings and/or as consultants for sports teams. 

Jain University, Bangalore & Amity School of Physical Education & Sports Sciences offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Psychology

Agency/Community Counseling

Graduate programs in agency or community counseling train you to provide counseling services in human service agencies in the local community—for example, in community mental health centers. They may also train you to administer a limited number of psychological tests (vocational interest tests, for example).

The work is similar to that done by a person with a master's or doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology, psychotherapy, and, perhaps, limited psychological testing.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychologists attempt to understand the basic aspects of human learning and to develop materials and strategies for enhancing the learning process.

For example, an educational psychologist might study reading and then develop a new technique for teaching reading.

Educational psychologists are typically trained in departments of education (known as departments of psychology) and employed in colleges and universities.

School Counseling

School counselors work with children who are troubled, helping such children function more effectively with their peers and teachers, deal with family problems, etc. They work at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

School Psychology

School psychologists do a lot of testing—mostly of children who are encountering difficulties in school—to try to diagnose the problem and, sometimes, to suggest ways of dealing with the problem. School psychologists are typically trained in departments of education (vs. departments of psychology) and work in public school systems.

Social Work

Another career option to consider if you're interested in counseling is social work. As is true with other disciplines, there are a variety of allied fields in social work.

Social workers who practice psychotherapy are usually called either clinical social workers or psychiatric social workers. Clinical social workers are trained to diagnose and treat psychological problems.

Psychiatric social workers provide services to individuals, married couples, families, and small groups. They work in mental health centers, counseling centers, sheltered workshops, hospitals, and schools. They may also have their own private practice

(Also read: Preparation Tips For CBSE Class 12 Psychology)

Pay Package for Psychologists

Psychology is a highly rewarding and lucrative field of study. A psychologist salary depends on many factors his/her qualification, area of specialization, and experience in the profession. Professional psychologists with M.Phil and Ph.

D degree earn quite handsomely. Those engaged in private practice have more scope for earnings.

In this field, your starting salary can vary between INR 1.79 LPA to INR 6.23 LPA.

As one establishes himself in the field and specializes in any of its branches, he can earn more.

University Road, Delhi 110 007Phone South Campus: 011-24119832Phone North Campus: 011-2766709, 27667011, 27667190Fax: 011-27667049Website:



  • ‎MA Psychology
  • MA Applied Psychology
  • Ph.D. Psychology

IIPR office: 080 41307111Office of Admission: +91 7022619130

E-mail: [email protected]

Integrated Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

University of Rajasthan

JLN Marg,Jaipur 302004,RajasthanPhone: 91-141-2711070Fax: 91-141-2711799

Email:[email protected]


Loyola College

Phone: +91-44-28178200Fax: +91-44-28175566

Email: [email protected]


Jamia Millia University

Jamia Nagar, New DelhiPin-10025Tel: 26984650, 26985180Fax: 011-26981232

Email: [email protected]


University of Mumbai

M.G. Road, FortMumbai — 400 032, Maharashtra,Phone: 22 — 2652825Fax: 22 — 2652832Website:

University of Calcutta

Senate House,87 /1 College Street,Kolkata-700 073, West BengalTel: 033 22410071(O) 24106741(R)Fax: 22413222

E-mail: [email protected]


Guru Nanak Dev University

Amritsar — 143 005, PunjabTel:2450601-14 (14 lines)Fax: 0183-2258819, 2258820

E-mail: [email protected]



What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?

How to Start a Career In Psychology

Psychology is the study of the human mind and behavior, offering the chance to explore unanswered questions about the brain, such as how it functions under stress, how it learns language, how it remembers facts or how mental illness can affect the way it works. During your psychology degree you can choose to specialize in specific areas of psychology such as health, clinical, educational, research, occupational, counseling, neuro, sport and exercise, and forensic.

For advice on finding a graduate job, download our free guide on how to find a job after university. 

So, what can you do with a psychology degree?

There are many different options available to psychology degree holders, depending on your specializations and interests, such as:

Although many roles will be available to you with an undergraduate degree, some more highly specialized roles may require further study. Of the psychology careers which don’t require further study, training is usually available on the job to ensure you continue moving forward in your career.

Read on for some insight into the types of careers open to you with an undergraduate psychology degree (BA or BSc).

Typical psychology careers

With a psychology degree, you’re well placed to pursue careers in both arts and scientific fields, depending on your personal interests. There are many options within public and private healthcare, education, mental health support, social work, therapy and counseling. These roles may be advisory, research-led, treatment-led or therapeutic.

There are also a number of less typical roles for psychology graduates, including jobs in media and other creative industries. Overviews of these typical and not-so-typical careers with a psychology degree are outlined below.

Psychology careers in healthcare and therapy

Chartered psychologist

With further study and training you’ll be able to gain qualification as a chartered psychologist. Within this highly specialized role, you’ll work with people of all backgrounds, both patients and clients.

You’ll analyze behaviors, thoughts and emotions in order to better understand and advise on certain actions and/or psychological issues.

As a chartered psychologist, you’ll have the option to specialize in a number of areas, including occupational psychology, educational psychology, sport and mental health.

(Note: If you wish to become a psychiatrist – a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders – you will need to gain a medical degree.)


A psychotherapist will work with individuals, couples, groups or families, to help their clients overcome psychological issues, including emotional and relationship-related issues, stress and even addiction.

Depending on what you choose to specialize in during your degree, as well as your personal interests, you can choose to act as a psychotherapist using a number of approaches. These include cognitive behavioral methods, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies, as well as art therapy, drama therapy, humanistic and integrative psychotherapy, hypno-psychotherapy and experiential therapy.

Social worker

A social worker is someone who works with people who are going through difficult periods in their lives; including groups such as children or the elderly, people with disabilities and victims of crime and abuse.

The role of a social worker is to safeguard these people from harm and provide support in order to allow people to improve their situations.

Social workers may work within schools, homes, hospitals or other public agencies and will tend to specialize in working with children and families or vulnerable adults.


As a counselor you’ll be involved in helping people come to better terms with their lives and experiences through exploration of feelings and emotions. You’ll work within a confidential setting and be expected to listen attentively to your clients.

Key traits of a counselor include the ability to listen, empathize, offer respect and patience, as well as to analyze the issues at play in order to enable the client to better cope with their situation and help support them in making choices.

psychotherapy, counseling is often a form of talking therapy and can encompass areas including marriage and family, health, abuse, rehabilitation, education, grief, mental health, career guidance and pediatrics.

Psychology careers in education

 Psychology graduates interested in the education sector have a number of different options.

As well as educational therapy, educational psychology and social work within education, psychology graduates may qualify as teachers, working in primary, secondary or tertiary level education.

They may instead work within social services to help support learning in the community at all ages, or within the prison sector to provide support for young offenders.

To become an educational psychologist, you will need the same qualifications as any psychologist (a master’s degree and further training). This is a role concerned with the development of young people in educational settings, with the aim of enhancing learning and dealing with social and emotional issues or learning difficulties.

To teach psychology, depending on the level you choose, you’ll need an additional teaching qualification. To enter careers in tertiary education (colleges and universities) you will ly need a further qualification, such as a master’s and/or PhD. Roles in higher education are ly to encompass both teaching and research (see below).

Psychology careers in research

Psychology careers in research may be based within research agencies, public and private organizations or in universities. University-based careers vary but tend to combine research and teaching.

Research careers within other sectors are even more wide-ranging but could mean contributing to governmental policy development or issues of importance for industry.

You could also work for a charity or other non-profit organization, perhaps conducting research to help resolve challenges such as speech impediments, brain damage, child development or the impact of legal and illegal drugs on psychological health.

Less typical careers with a psychology degree

As a psychology graduate at bachelor level, there are thousands of opportunities for you outside healthcare and educational roles if you know where to look.

This is due to the varied transferable skills you gain from your degree, as well as widespread recognition of the advantages of having psychological and analytical expertise.

In broad terms, psychology graduates can be found working in all sectors of society, including media, criminal justice and rehabilitation, advertising, business and management, sports, public agencies and the legal sector. Some less typical careers with a psychology degree are outlined below…

Media and advertising careers

It might not be an obvious choice for psychology graduates, but media careers are varied, with ample opportunities to apply the skills a psychology degree will hone.

Psychology graduates can impart valuable insights into human behavior, as well as offering the ability to analyze problems, listen attentively, give considered responses and act with empathy and reason.

Because of this, media roles within all departments including management, production, scheduling and writing are well within reach for psychology graduates.

Human resources and communications careers

Psychology is all about understanding people and how they think, making human resources and communications careers another good match. These roles, available in both the public and private sectors, encompass areas such as employee satisfaction, professional development, training, recruitment, PR, payroll and internal communications.

Business and management careers

Thanks to a keen sense of how to handle both data and people, business and management careers are another good option for psychology graduates.

Although further training and work experience are ly to be required before entering managerial roles, you could start out by pursuing careers within business consultancy, marketing, sales, advertising or business development, before working your way up the ladder.

A psychology degree may also provide a good basis for careers in IT, finance, the legal sector, government administration and market research.

‘What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?’ is part of our ‘What Can You Do With…’ series. 

We have also covered art, biology, business, communications, computer science, English, engineering, fashion, history, geography, law, marketing, mathematics, performing arts, philosophy, politics, sociology, chemistry, economics and physics.

This article was originally published in January 2015. It was last updated in October 2019.

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