How to become a Psychologist in India- A Complete Guide

June 27, 2024
how to become a psychologist

Quick Summary

  • Psychologists are professionals who diagnose and treat mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and addiction.
  • In India, the minimum requirement for becoming a psychologist is a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field from a recognized university.
  • Clinical, counseling, media and industry psychology are some of the specializations in this field.
  • The average salary of a psychologist is around 4 lakhs per annum.

Table of Contents

Psychology is an exciting and rewarding career choice that has gained significant popularity in India in recent years. With the increasing demand for mental health services and the growing awareness of the importance of mental health, the scope of psychology in India is vast. Many students are curious about how to become a psychologist in India, and there are several paths to pursue this career. In this article, we will explore the career options in psychology, the scope of psychology in India, and the steps to becoming a psychologist in India. But first, let’s understand what psychology is and its various sub-fields.

What Does A Psychologist Do?

Psychologists in India specialise in areas such as clinical, forensic, counselling, educational, organizational, child, and military psychology. They diagnose and treat mental health illness like depression, anxiety, and addiction, offering therapy and behavioural interventions. Roles include social psychologists, counsellors, career advisors, and community workers. Common duties involve identifying and addressing clients’ problems, researching human behaviour, and providing support for stress management. Whether in clinical practice or research, they play a vital role in understanding and improving mental well-being. Exploring diverse career paths ensures finding the right fit for aspiring psychologists in India.

How to Become a Psychologist?

Once a student has decided to study psychology, they must be wondering how to become a psychologist. What to do after studying psychology? How to get a psychology degree? What kind of experiences do we need?

To be a psychologist, you have to follow certain steps:

  1. Get a bachelor’s degree
  2. Gain some experience
  3. Enrol in Postgraduate School
  4. Complete Doctorate Degree
  5. Do Internships
  6. Get Licensed

Step 1: Get a bachelor’s degree

Students need a formal education to start their career in psychology. They can do a BA or BSc in psychology. Most of the students major in the subject while others opt for Psychology with additional subjects like English, Sociology, Political Science, etc. If students have decided to become a psychologist and their career path is clear, then majoring in psychology at a reputed college would be a good option.

Step 2: Gain some experience

Gain some professional experience after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Getting experience in a professional setting before pursuing a master’s is always a good way to put theoretical knowledge into practice. Students can start doing internships or become research project trainees under the guidance of senior psychologists or professors. The internship will also help them to learn and understand different areas of psychology. Based on their experience, they can later decide what specialisation they need to acquire to advance their career.

Step 3: Get Into a Specialized Field

After gaining some professional experience, students can go for specialisation. Since psychology is a broad branch for which specialisation is required. They can choose their post graduate degree in fields such as clinical psychology, media, health, education, and sports psychology. Post-graduation is usually 2 years which they will learn in-depth about the selected specialisation.

Step 4: Complete Doctorate Degree

After completing a master’s degree, you have to go for higher studies and complete a doctoral program. Although completing a Ph.D. is not required, most psychologists practice with their master’s degree. But it also comes with some drawbacks. Psychologists with a master’s degree can practice in person. They have to work under a Ph.D. holder psychologist. Therefore, a doctoral degree in psychology is necessary for becoming a psychologist. The doctoral program is of five years duration and may take up to seven years to complete.

Step 5: Do Internships

After completing their doctoral degree, students must complete their internship, where they gain experience in their chosen field. This will help them understand the professional environment and hone their skills in handling patients and develop their communication skills. The length of the internship can vary. It may take a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of two years to complete.

Step 6: Get Licensed

If students are thinking about the final step of how to become a psychologist in India, it is that they should have a license. After students have completed their education and gained professional experience, a license is required to work as a psychologist. Most Indian states require a license to permit to work as a psychologist. These licensing laws vary by state. To earn a license, students must complete their doctoral degree and practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. After which they can sit for the exam of Professional Practice in Psychology. After passing the exam, they can become a licensed psychologist and choose to start a private practice or work for organizations.

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Psychologist Career Path

In the field of psychology, there are several career paths that students can pursue. Here are some of the career options available for individuals who want to pursue a career in psychology:

1. Counselling Psychologist:

As a counsellor, one can provide therapeutic services to individuals and groups, depending on their expertise. Counsellors can work in schools, government organisations, and industries.

2. Professor:

After completing a master’s or doctoral degree, students can teach psychology in colleges and universities. Professors can conduct research, write books, and mentor students.

3. Researcher:

After completing the doctoral degree, individuals can become researchers in their chosen specialisation. They conduct experiments, collect data, analyse it, and interpret the results.

4. Biopsychologist:

Biopsychologists are interested in the relationship between biology and psychology. They study behavioral research as well as neuropsychiatric and developmental psychology.

5. Family Psychologist:

Family psychologists focus on issues related to mind and behaviour within families. They help families understand and resolve conflicts, develop better communication skills, and improve their relationships.

6. School Psychologist:

School psychologists focus on the emotional problems, learning disabilities, mood, and behaviour of children in school. They help students with academic, social, and emotional problems.

7. Rehabilitation Psychologist:

Rehabilitation psychologists work with people who have disabilities, addiction problems, or people who have suffered a major physical and emotional injury. They work in hospitals or rehabilitation centres and help individuals overcome their challenges and improve their quality of life.

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The vast field of Psychology opens a wide range of specialisations. Students can choose either Arts or Science stream and can further pursue an undergraduate degree, preferably a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology or Bachelor of Science in Psychology. If you want to know how to become a psychologist, let us help you understand what courses to take to become one.

Some of the psychology branches in which students can do their specialisations are:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Industrial Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Media Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Military Psychology

1. Psychology Course After 12th

Students can opt for a graduate degree after the 12th. To be eligible for a bachelor’s degree, students need to have passed 12th with a minimum of 55%. Some of the bachelor’s degrees in psychology are:

  • BA Psychology
  • BSc Psychology
  • BSc Cognitive Science
  • BSc Sports Psychology
  • BSc Business Psychology
  • BSc Forensic Psychology
  • BSc Criminology
  • BSc Social Psychology
  • BA Media Studies

2. Psychology Course After Graduation

Students who have completed their graduation can opt for post-graduation in psychology. To be eligible for this, students must have graduated with a minimum of 55%. If students want to learn how to become a psychologist after graduation here are some of the master’s degrees in psychology that they can pursue.

  • MA Psychology
  • MSc Psychology
  • MSc Cognitive Science
  • MA Behavioural Science
  • MSc Sports Psychology
  • MSc Business Psychology
  • MSc Forensic Psychology
  • MSc Criminology
  • MSc Social Psychology

3. Diploma and Certificate in Psychology

If students are wondering how to become a psychologist with a diploma in psychology and whether they can practice it in India, then here is a quick guide.

Students who wish to study psychology but are unwilling to practice can also take certificate and diploma courses in psychology. Diploma and Certificate courses are short-term with a maximum duration of 1 year.

Unlike graduation and post-graduation, there are no strict eligibility criteria for diploma and certificate courses. You can do diploma and certificate psychology courses after 12th, graduation or post-graduation.

Psychologist Scope and Salary in India 2024

Now that students know how to become a psychologist, they must be wondering what the scope of psychology is and how much can a psychologist earn in India.

There is a growing demand for psychologists and psychiatrists in India which makes it a good career option. As more and more people are becoming aware of mental health issues, their surroundings, and their development, people are turning to clinical, child and counseling psychologists to understand themselves and others better.

In 2017, Mental Healthcare Act was passed which promoted the importance and need for psychology. And now there is a need for psychologists in every field whether it is education or sports. The need for psychologists in every field opens up a wide range. And today they are not limited to just counseling or clinical.

After graduating with a psychology degree, there is a lot of scope in India that opens up to students. They can work in hospitals, NGOs, organisations, schools and universities, or even set up their own clinic.

One can start their career as a psychologist after their master’s degree in their field of specialisation. If one wants to practice as a clinical psychologist, then he/she must have MPhil. Otherwise, a diploma degree is required to start a career as a counselling psychologist.

Now you learned about how to become a psychologist and its scope, let us know more about its salary.

Psychologists earn decent salaries. Their salary varies based on their experience, nature of work, the organisation in which they work, and their specialisation.

Starting Salary of Psychologist

The starting salary can be anywhere between ₹ 12,000 to ₹ 20,000.

Salary of Experienced Psychologist

The salary of experienced psychologists can be anywhere between ₹ 30,000 to ₹ 70,000.

Salary of Psychologist based on Specialisation:

1. Clinical Psychologists: 

Clinical psychologists can earn up to ₹ 9.0 Lakhs annually. The average salary of clinical psychologists is ₹ 4.5 Lakhs.

2. Forensic Psychologists: 

Forensic psychologists can earn up to ₹ 5.65 Lakhs annually. The average salary of forensic psychologists is ₹ 5.3 Lakhs.

3. Child Psychologists: 

Child psychologists can earn up to ₹ 5.0 Lakhs annually. The average salary of child psychologists is ₹ 3.0 Lakhs.

4. Sports Psychologists: 

Sports psychologists can earn up to ₹ 10.0 Lakhs annually. The average salary of sports psychologists is ₹ 14.6 Lakhs.

5. Educational Psychologists: 

Educational psychologists can earn up to ₹ 7.44 Lakhs annually. The average salary of educational psychologists is ₹ 5.0 Lakhs.

6. Media Psychologists: 

Media psychologists can earn up to ₹ 7.8 Lakhs annually. The average salary of media psychologists is  ₹ 5.5 Lakhs.

7. Industrial Psychologists: 

Industrial psychologists can earn up to ₹ 17.0 Lakhs annually. The average salary of industrial psychologists is ₹20.7 Lakhs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to study to become a psychologist?

If you are wondering how to become a psychologist, then after the 12th you can opt for a psychology degree. You must have earned a bachelor’s in psychology from a reputed college. You can choose BA or BSc degree in Psychology. After this, you can pursue a post-graduation and Ph.D. degree.

How long does it take to become a psychologist after 12?

Bachelor’s degree in psychology takes four years to complete and if you go for a Ph.D. degree then it will take six years to complete your studies. After that, you can gain experience in the industry. Hence, it will take up to six years to become a psychologist after the 12th.

Is psychology hard to study?

Studying psychology is not very difficult if you are interested in knowing this discipline. You just need dedication and interest in the subject to make it easy. However, many sub-branches of psychology make it complicated. But that doesn’t mean it’s harder than other degrees. Psychology is a practical subject, where you learn the theory and then apply it in real life which will make it easier to understand.

Does psychology need math?

Mathematics is not required in psychology. However, there are statistics in psychology and if you want to enroll in psychology then you must have basic knowledge of statistics. There is no compulsion for Maths or Statistics subjects in the 12th stream.

How do I start a career in psychology?

To start your career in psychology, you must have a bachelor’s degree in it. Also, you can do post-graduation and Ph.D. After completing your formal education, you need to practice as a psychologist. You can choose your specialisation and practice as a clinical or non-clinical psychologist in the chosen field.

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