How to Become a Psychologist in India?

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How to Become a Psychologist in India

Every now and then, we face many struggles and are required to fight our own battles independently. The toughest of them all is to fight with the demons of mental illness. In this fast-paced era, people often find it difficult to identify the root cause of mental and emotional stress and are thus not able to reach out for help when needed the most. In such cases, the Psychologists/Psychiatrists turn out to be the knight in the shining armor! Though both aim at treating mental illness, there is a significant difference between psychologists and psychiatrist. So, when it comes to psychologists, through various techniques and methodologies, these therapists counsel people and pull them out from the hollow mental zones they are sinking into. Therefore, if you want to know about how to become a Psychologist in India after class 12th then here is a blog that will elucidate the process in a step-by-step way!

What is Psychology?

The study of human health and behaviour as it is influenced by the mind is known as psychology. Psychology courses are available in India at various levels, i.e. Psychology diploma courses, psychology certificate courses, psychology bachelor degree courses, and psychology postgraduate degrees are all available. There are also several research-level courses in Psychology, as well as part-time or online courses in Psychology. While psychology is a large field in and of itself, every course that involves studying Human anatomy and related disciplines includes fundamental ideas of psychology in its course curriculum. Psychology is commonly taught in counselling programs, physiotherapy therapeutic programs, and other medical programs. A psychology course entails studying and comprehending human brain development, consciousness, behaviour, and personality, as well as other related areas.

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What Does a Psychologist Do?

Humans are amongst the most complex creatures which require an understanding of the various elements that affect our mind a behaviour. To answer many complicated questions and deal with our daily stresses, psychologists study the human mind scientifically. It is the perfect subject for those with an inquisitive mind, and a passion for helping people. The following are a few things psychologists do as a part of their career or research.

  • Psychologissts who are inclined to research conduct researches and experiments to understand the various process in our brain and behaviour.
  • Psychologists help people deal with their stresses, identify behavioral and emotional patterns in clients, diagnose disorders, make treatment plans, and help people overcome those disorders.
  • Psychologists also gain specializations in a particular field that helps them narrow down the options for research and study. A few common specializations in psychology include Industrial, Counseling, Clinical, Environmental, Social, Sports, etc.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree 

If you are pondering about how to become a psychologist in India, the foremost step towards this is to pursue an undergraduate degree in the domain. A bachelor’s degree like BA Psychology or BSc Psychology not only builds a strong foundational knowledge of the field but also improves competencies like communication skills.

Numerous Psychology Courses are offered by a majority of esteemed institutions in the country. You can choose the variant as per your choice but it is important to note that the career prospects will vary based on the course. Let us have a look at some of the prominent options available in the country.

Step 2: Gain Some Professional Experience

If a person is interested in Experimental Psychology, they can get experience by assisting a professor with their research project as an intern. Working with physically challenged children and promoting social awareness are both beneficial in terms of acquiring experience. If you want to take the Developmental Psychology course, you must first volunteer at a mental health hospital or clinic. Every year, workshops on themes ranging from hypnosis to dream analysis are held. This differs from one college to the next. If a student obtains experience while studying psychology, he or she may find it simpler to find work after graduation.

Step 3: Pursue A Specialised Course

Upon successfully completing your bachelor’s program in Psychology, you should consider pursuing a master’s degree as it will help gain advanced knowledge of the field. Since Psychology is a vast field, one can find scores of areas in which they can specialize through enticing programs like MSc Psychology, MA Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology, etc. Those who have not studied the subject at the bachelor’s level can also enroll in a master’s degree by qualifying for an entrance examination. On the contrary, students who have graduated in Psychology can directly get admitted based on marks secured at the bachelor’s level [admission criteria can vary based on the university you are applying to]. As it is a higher-level degree, it is necessary to choose a specialization in the master’s program. Following are some of the options that you can consider: 

A postgraduation degree in this field is a very crucial step to build your career in Psychology. On the journey of your 2-year course, you will get to study Counselling theories, research methods, social and cultural diversity issues in counselling, etc. In the final year of your course, you will have to submit your dissertation project which counts as an important criterion of receiving your degree.

Step 4: Pursue a Doctorate Degree

The majority of disciplines in Psychology require students to earn a doctorate degree like PhD in Psychology. A PhD in Psychology is a doctoral-level program that provides intensive research training for people interested in pursuing a career as an academician or as a clinical psychologist. The course covers a wide range of topics in psychology, including cognition, perception, neuroscience, and behaviour. This curriculum generally lasts 4 years for full-time students and 7-8 years for part-time students. 

Step 5: Do Internships

It is always advisable to do as many internships as possible to ace in a given field of study and to build a successful career. Generally, it is advisable that students must complete at least a two-year internship. Many students will benefit from this experience since they will receive on-the-job training. A student will also learn whether or not the specialty is right for them. During this time, the applicant will profit from the joy of serving others. Internships in clinical and counselling psychology may require approval from some reputable organizations since positions in mental health facilities may require an authorized internship.

Step 6 Get Certified

Those who have earned a degree from the university which is affiliated with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), will receive certification as soon as you complete your program. There is an alternate way as well for those who have pursued Psychology courses from the non-affiliated institutes. Such graduates need to apply for the certification under RCI. 

Note: Those who have graduated with MSc in Clinical Psychology degree must complete a Master in Philosophy (MPhil) in Clinical Psychology in order to get certified by the RCI.

Skills Required to Become a Psychologist

Since psychology is an interdisciplinary blend of medical science as well as sociological and other related aspects, there are certain skills that you will need to become a successful psychologist. Here’s a list of the major skills you must inculcate and imbibe in yourself in order to follow the career path of a Psychologist:

  • Analytical skills to diagnose the issues and problems faced by a patient.
  • Excellent communication skills to counsel and advice patients on their mental and behavioural issues.
  • You must be empathetic towards understanding the struggles and challenges pertaining to mental and psychological health.
  • Observational skills to keenly perceive, detect and note the patient’s behaviour and thus detecting the issues they are tackling.
  • Compassionate and kind towards understanding the struggles of mental health for every individual.
  • Advanced knowledge of psychological theories, counselling and treatment.
  • Keen interest in human behaviour, thought process and related aspects.
  • Brilliant listening and questioning skills.

Top Colleges in India to Become a Psychologist

Selecting an institution for UG and PG education is the most vital part of your career. This is because a good institution will not only equip you with the career skills related to the field of Psychology but will also impart practical and theoretical knowledge comprehensively. So, if you are wondering how to become a psychologist in India then have a look at some of the famous institutions from where you can pursue a degree in Psychology: 

  1. Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
  2. Christ University, Bangalore
  3. Presidency College, Chennai
  4. Keshav Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi
  5. Ashoka University, Sonepat
  6. DAV College, Chandigarh
  7. St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
  8. Fergusson College, Pune
  9. Indraprastha College for Women, New Delhi
  10. Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
  11. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  12. Modern College of Arts Science and Commerce, Pune
  13. Aligarh Muslim University
  14. Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  15. Jesus & Mary College, New Delhi

Career Opportunities and Salary

After obtaining a degree in Psychology, an array of employment opportunities opens up. To kick start your career as a Psychologist in India, it is mandatory to complete an internship with an organization of your choice. Interning in the field will help you gain professional experience and will give insights into the job responsibilities. Dwelling upon your chosen field of specialization, you can pursue a career in Community Psychology or any other sub-field. Further, if you want to enter academia, you can go for a PhD in Psychology. Below mentioned are some of the top job profiles that you can explore:

  • Clinical Psychologist: These are medical practitioners who treat patients through various therapies. A clinical psychologist helps people cure their mental illness o disease through various methods and activities. Along with mental issues, clinical psychologists also treat patients with behavioural or emotional illnesses. All the treatments made by clinical psychologist does not involve any sort of medications, instead relies completely on activities, methods, and therapies.
  • Counselling Psychologist: Such professionals treat patients who seek help for mental problems that are not chronic in nature and can be treated easily through counselling sessions. A counselling psychologist will help you in getting rid of the disturbing mental thoughts and will equip you with some ways to stay focused on your future goals. Counselling psychologists also guide the patients in decision-making by evaluating the possible aspects of an upcoming decision.
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychologist: Industrial or Organizational Psychologists help people maintain a perfect balance between their personal and professional life. Often people lead lives with an improper balance between their work and normal living. In such cases, consulting an industrial psychologists is one of the most beneficial solutions. Organizational Psychologists will also help you in tackling the stressful scenarios at your workplace.
  • Educational Psychologists: They help educational institutes understand the varied aspects of human learning and devise ways to improve different learning methods for students. As the process of learning is two-way based, it is the role of an educational psychologist to advise the schools and universities with ways and approaches via which they can make learning engaging. Along with this, he educational psychologists also assists students in taking the right decision by making them analyze their interests and choices.

Other than the above-mentioned profiles, here are some other jobs you can opt for:

  • School Counsellor
  • Social Worker
  • Community Psychologist 
  • Teaching and Research 
  • Health Psychologist 

After reading all the above information and important steps pertaining to how to become a psychologist in India, it is equally important to further know about the salary scope and prospects of this industry or chosen field. Mainly, a psychologist’s salary will vary as per their qualifications, area of expertise, professional experience, and skills. To explore higher-level opportunities in Psychology, the major qualification you must have is MPhil and PhD in Psychology and you can get a handsome salary package. Further, you can also establish your own private practice which will need investment in the beginning. The initial and starting package for a Psychologist is somewhere between 1.80 LPA to 6.50 LPA (indicative) and with more work experience, you can aim for a higher salary package as well.

Top Universities Abroad to Become a Psychologist (BONUS)

Among the many study abroad programs, choosing to study psychology abroad is the best option as it opens you up the opportunity of studying a much wider range of programs. This will also give your studies an international perspective that can give you an edge in your future career. The following are the top universities across the world for psychology.

University Names QS World University Rankings 2022
Harvard University 5
Stanford University =3 
University of Cambridge =3
University of Oxford  2
University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley) 32
University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) 40
University College London (UCL) =8
Yale University =14
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1
University of Michigan (U-M) =23
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FAQs

How much does a psychologist earn in India? 

In India, the average starting salary of a Psychologist ranges around INR 4-5,00,000. 

How Can I Become a Psychologist?

If you are thinking about how to become a psychologist in India, then you must begin by earning the right UG degree,  PG degree, join an internship and then earn your license. Once you complete all of the above steps, you are good to go.

Is Psychology a good career in India?

Psychology is one of the most pursued career fields in our country. It offers an array of career options along with growth opportunities and worthy pay packages. After earning a degree in the choice of specialization in psychology, you can kick-start your career in the field. 

Is MBBS required to become a psychologist?

Psychological testing is not included in the MBBS curriculum. You may become a psychologist without completing an MBBS. However, in order to become a psychiatrist, you must first complete your MBBS. Counseling is permitted in Psychology, but pharmaceutical prescriptions are not.

Does it take 12 years to become a psychologist?

In most situations, it might take as little as eight years or as much as twelve years to become a certified psychologist. If you are thinking about a career in psychology, you should be aware of all of the educational and training requirements for becoming a licensed psychologist.

Does psychology need mathematics?

As experts have mentioned, you’ll need some basic arithmetic abilities. You must be familiar with algebra and the sequence of operations, but most importantly, you must be willing to study math. At the undergraduate level, most psychology programs need a rudimentary introduction to statistics.

Thus, we hope that this blog on ‘How to Become a Psychologist in India’ has helped you gain insight into the important details pertaining to the field which will help you formulate a plan towards a successful career! Psychology is a broad field with a number of branches available. Needless to say, choosing a stream that aligns with your professional goals can be tedious. Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will guide you in selecting the most suitable sub-branch using our comprehensive psychometric test! 

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