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How Do I Become an Environmental Psychologist?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Environmental psychology is a relatively new field that examines the interactions between humans and their surrounding environment. This includes relationships to the natural world and their living situations, whether they are rural or urban environments. As a result, there are few if any specific degree programs to pursue in order to become an environmental psychologist. People who wish to become an environmental psychologist will generally need to design their own educational path in order to get enough of a background in psychological and research principles, as well as environmental studies and land use planning.

Anyone who wants to become an environmental psychologist should have a complete understanding of what the field really is. In general, it is a field heavily focused on research and working in teams of people with varying specialties, all concerned with human interaction with the environment. Psychology traditionally focuses on the interactions between people, but environmental psychology is focused on the way people experience and make use of their surrounding world. Because of this, counseling is typically not a part of environmental psychology, even though many people associate the field of psychology with it.

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An advanced degree will generally be required of anyone who wants to become an environmental psychologist. Most people begin with a bachelor's degree in psychology, sometimes with a minor or a second major in environmental studies. Graduate school or a doctoral degree might be a bit more challenging, but a master's degree is often required for higher level positions in research fields. Of course, this may not always be the case, so be sure to do your research ahead of time. Some people will choose to pursue a master's degree in psychological research along with courses in the environmental realm, such as conservation psychology or land-use and urban planning courses; others will pursue a degree in environmental studies with the addition of some psychology classes.

As you can see, the path to become an environmental psychologist can be different for everyone based on your specific goals. Many people find it helpful to also pursue practical experience in the field as much as possible to make them even more employable. Research experience, for example, is one of the best ways to improve your chances of becoming an environmental psychologist. This could be accomplished through internships; colleges and universities can be some of the best sources of these internships, along with graduate assistantships, or even postdoc fellowships for people working in this field.

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