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Preparing for a Psychology Career in High School

Home > Ask the Guidance Counselor > Psychologist > How can high school students prepare for a psychology career?

If you're still in high school and you're thinking about eventually pursuing a career in psychology, what can you do now to prepare for it?

Volunteering

First, seek out volunteer opportunities to make a difference in the life of others. Most of these volunteer roles come with training. For instance, see whether you can be trained as a "peer counselor." You'll probably be given information on basic issues and how to help other students get the right help. This kind of work can give you a feeling for what it might like to be a counselor.

Other kinds of work might be helping on a hotline, working with troubled children, tutoring a child with a difficulty such as autism, or becoming a camp counselor. Any kind of role that encourages you to pay attention to others, use good listening skills, and to try to be helpful can be a good first step for the field.

Psychology classes

In addition, you might be take psychology-related classes in high school such as sociology or child development. A few high schools might even have a course like Abnormal Psychology. If none exist at your high school, there are online psychology courses to look into.

You may also want to see whether you can set up informational interviews with psychologists to find out more about what it is really like.

If you decides to go on in the field, it will be important to earn a bachelor's degree first. If you're really interested in psychology, that's the main major to consider. However, it is not necessary to have a major in psychology in order to go on to enroll for a doctoral degree program in psychology. You could choose to study a related course area such as literature, sociology, human development, women's studies, or philosophy.

While you're in college, look into psychology-related internships or volunteer jobs. These jobs both give students a sense of what the work is like as well as provide good material for a resume. It may turn out that, in fact, you donot want to be clinician after all, or you might decide to go in a slightly different direction such as education.

Psychologist Training

Those who definitively decide to become a psychologist, may eventually need to complete a doctorate, which includes a supervised internship. Psychologists also need to finish a certain number of supervised hours in post-doctoral training and sit for a state licensing exam.

Finally, the website for the American Psychological Association can be a rich source of information for future psychologists.

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