What is a Career Psychologist?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2019
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A career psychologist is a licensed professional who provides counseling and resources to individuals who are uncertain of their career goals and options. He or she helps people determine their interests and abilities through evaluations, interviews, research, and aptitude tests. A career psychologist may also counsel people who are overly stressed at their jobs, those who are dealing with personal issues that affect their work, and individuals who are struggling to return to the workplace because of physical injury, mental illness, or addiction.

Many people, especially high school and college students, have difficulty making career decisions. Psychologists help such people investigate different career options based on their personalities, interests, and skills. A career psychologist frequently interviews students, administers aptitude tests, and suggests possible career choices based on the results. He or she may help people find job openings, construct resumes, and prepare for interviews. Career counselors and psychologists who focus on young adults might be employed by high schools and colleges.


Most career psychologists work in private practices, conducting sessions with clients on an appointment basis. A professional might meet with people who are having difficulty finding and maintaining work, as well as those having trouble adjusting to a new career. He or she might meet regularly with certain clients to provide ongoing therapy and evaluate their progress. Psychologists also help people with physical and mental disabilities find appropriate work and maintain independent lifestyles. Individuals with severe mental problems or physical anguish are often referred to psychiatrists or physicians who can provide further care.

To become a career psychologist, a person must usually receive a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited university. Doctoral programs usually take about five years of post-baccalaureate work to complete, and include 12 month internships at hospitals, clinics, or private offices. Graduates often work under the supervision and guidance of established psychologists for up to two years. A professional can then take a rigorous written exam administered by his or her state or country to become licensed. An experienced, respected career psychologist can pursue additional certification through a national organization, such as American Board of Professional Psychology, to improve his or her credentials.

The job market is constantly changing due to technological advances and a growing population. Most practicing career psychologists engage in continuing education so they may stay up to date on career trends, clinical journals and therapy techniques. In fact, continuing education is often a requirement for a psychologist to maintain his or her license.



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