A career in psychology can pay very well, provide you with a fulfilling vocation in which you can help people in need, and situate you in a stable career with high public recognition and opportunities for advancement. Careers in psychology also require many years of expensive education and have the potential to cause high stress and require extensive hours of work.
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Advantage: Pay and Status
Psychologists can make anywhere from £45,500 to over £65,000 per year. Because of the extensive education required and the level of responsibility in the work, remuneration for psychologists is well above average. Many psychologists work in private practice with their own clients, while others are employed by large institutions such as hospitals. In both roles, psychologists enjoy a high level of social status and are often consulted as experts in their fields. Material well-being and a sense of belonging within a supportive community can contribute to a very satisfying quality of life for established psychologists.
Advantage: Challenge and Responsibility
Unlike some jobs, a career in psychology frequently provides new stimuli and challenging situations, which prevents this career from becoming boring and repetitive. Different clients all have different issues and needs, and the psychologist becomes very mentally engaged in attempting to decipher the complexities of the human mind and help patients to find balance and personal peace. This level of engagement makes psychology a very satisfying and fascinating career, and helps psychologists to continue the process of personal growth and learning. Many psychologists don't reach their peak in terms of insight and counselling skill until their later years.
Disadvantage: Getting There
The process of becoming a psychologist is very arduous and expensive, a fact that deters many potential psychologists. A master's degree is required to work as a psychologist in any setting, and a Ph.D. is needed for a career as a clinical psychologist. Following completion of the Ph.D., depending on what field the budding psychologist is entering, she must pass a difficult exam to qualify her as a licensed psychologist, and may need to serve a residency within an established institution. If a psychologist begins a private practice after all this, more years will be required to build up a clientele.
For some clinical psychologists, the regular pressure of dealing with the sometimes severe imbalances and difficulties of other people's lives can become a burden, and start to affect the satisfaction and happiness of the psychologist himself. Some begin to feel overly responsible for the well-being of their patients, and may feel guilty if their patients are not making progress. All of these pressures can combine to cause psychologists to leave the profession. Some transfer from clinical psychology to a research position, where they are not personally responsible for the well-being of others.
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