Have you thought about becoming a therapist? Therapists play important roles in helping people cope with all kinds of situations such as depression, anxiety, mental illness, distress and physical ailments. As you can see, there are many different types of therapist so you have a wide range of venues to choose from. Some therapists go into social work, physical therapy, marriage and family, psychology and some even go into psychiatry. All of these careers have different educational requirements as well as practical hands-on training.
To be a social worker, it is a good idea to have a master’s degree. If you’re interested in marriage and family therapy, consider that fact that you will probably be in private practice and it is best to have a minimum of a master’s degree. If you’re interested in becoming a psychologist, it is best that you have a Ph.D. degree but it is possible to stop at a master’s degree depending on what you want to do. Psychologists who become Ph.D.s often teach and conduct research in university. With a master’s in psychology, you can work in mental health agencies, colleges, private business and government.
If you decide to get really serious, you might want to consider becoming a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are required to go to med school and complete a residency. Once licensed and certified they can diagnose and prescribe medications. Becoming a licensed psychiatrist is grueling and not for everyone.
To determine what kind of therapist you would like to become, set up an appointment (a kind of interview) with a therapists and find out more about the coursework required for a particular field and find out what a day in the life of that kind of therapist is like. Find out what educational path they took to get where they are today.
Once you have determined the field you want, you can start looking for a school. No matter what, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree for any of the therapist positions. If you need to go to the graduate level to become licensed and/or certified for your field, make sure that you fulfill all the prerequisites in your undergraduate work so that you can begin immediately in a master’s or Ph.D. level studies. Check with the graduate program that’s appropriate for you to find out what they require of your bachelor’s degree. Therapists positions require coursework in psychology, science, humanities and sociology so this will really keep you on your toes.
Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to apply to the appropriate therapist graduate program. Your graduate work will include classroom lectures, research and supervised practical training. Chances are you will need at least two years of clinical experience (a kind of internship) under the guidance of a licensed therapist in a clinical or private practice after you graduate. This is required before you can be licensed. Most states require you to take a licensing exam. You must pass this exam to be licensed. Make sure you practice for this. To find out exactly what exam(s) are required, check with your state. Your supervisor can probably help you with this as well. Depending on what state you practice in, you may need to renew your license every year. Make sure you keep up on that.
Once you are licensed, you are on your way to securing a therapist position. If you’re thinking about setting up a private practice, you might want to start with an established group practice first. This will help you learn the ropes of running a business as well as get more experience with patients. Once you get this experience under your belt, you’ll be better prepared to handle being on your own. Keep in mind that you’ll have to have some capital available to get your business going.
This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s
official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.