Here’s How You Make a Lucrative Career in Psychology in India

Mental health has always been sidelined by people as unimportant. But, the present world has understood its importance and hence, Psychology as a career has a bright future. Psychology is a very diverse field, one that is expected to see tremendous growth.  Since psychology is the study of human mind and behavior, it has numerous applications in all walks of life — work, family, relationships, sports, industries and in organizational spaces. As a result, one has the option to choose from a varied range of specializations, including but not limited to forensic psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology and organizational/industrial psychology.

If you believe that you are passionate about this field and are open to experiences, understanding human behavior and would like to contribute to the development of the human species, then this would be a good option as a career.

Branches in Psychology: 

Clinical Psychology: This field deals with the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of psychological disorders. Clinical psychologists do amazing work with people who have difficulty dealing with life. They work in hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers, NGOs etc. Given the emotional pressures people go through, the demand for good clinical psychologists is expected to rise.

Counselling Psychology: Counseling psychologists helps clients deal with personal and interpersonal problems that they face in daily life. These are people who don’t suffer from any major mental health issues, but may have certain issues in their daily functioning, which they are unable to deal on their own. Application may vary, in forms of career counselling, relationship/marital counselling, guidance counselling, and rehabilitation counselling. Counselors work in therapy centers, private set-ups, career centers, schools, NGOs and organizations. Counselling, today, is required across all walks of life, and the need for it will only continue to grow.

Organizational/Industrial Psychology: O/I psychologists apply psychological principles to the workplace. They study workplace issues at the individual, group and organizational levels in order to enhance the productivity of the employees and ultimately the organization.

People with specializations in organizational behavior can work as human resource development specialists, organizational consultants, HR managers, etc. The need for evaluating emotional and social intelligence is on the go. Organizations now need employees equipped with new-age skills, and heightened motivation, and emotional regulation.

Developmental/Child Psychology: Developmental psychology is a field dedicated to the study of how human beings develop over the course of their lifetime. Although developmental psychology covers the whole life span, its most popular variant is child psychology. Child psychologists deal with psychomotor, cognitive, emotional and social development of children and infants. They can again work in child therapy centers, schools, NGOs. Child psychologists also play a big role in special education.

Sports Psychology: Sports psychology deals with the study of factors that can impact an athlete’s performance, including cognitive, emotional, motivational and physiological factors. They can work with sports teams, sports coaching centers, academies, and leagues. A field that promises to improve the performance and motivation of sportsmen and athletes is bound to gain importance, given the frenzy of sports in the country.  Although relatively new in India, sports psychology is expected to grow immensely.

Forensic Psychology: Forensic psychology presents a unique application of psychology to legal and justice systems, especially in context of witness testimony, and specific content. Forensic psychologists play a key role in understanding the psyche of the criminal, and the intent of crime, and also in defining quantum, and nature of sentencing. Further in cases where child custody is in question, the role of forensic psychologists assumes greater importance. With a new legal era coming into picture, forensic psychologists are expected to impact policy making as well.

Eligibility criteria & Courses: 

The path to pursue Psychology in India (irrespective of the specialization) is same at the onset. One needs to pass Class XII with any stream (psychology as a subject in Class XI & XII is encouraged). 

One can pursue BA or B.Sc in Psychology. A BA degree will cover humanities subjkects like Sociology, History, Political Science, Economics. A B.Sc degree will link Psychology to the science behind it.  A master’s programme in Psychology is often required to begin career as a psychologist. Depending upon your objective, you might be required to pursue additional qualifications. A M.Phil is required to practise as a clinical psychologist, and one may pursue a diploma in guidance and counselling to begin their career in developmental, and counselling psychology.

Psychology presents a great career option today amidst the changes in our lifestyle due to an increase in the use of gadgets and its impact on us. The future only holds greater opportunities.

Skills required: 

Cultural Counseling Competence:  We live in a global world and are interacting with a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. As psychologists we have a responsibility to be cultural informed and leaders within the field of cultural diversity. This means having cultural self-awareness, knowledge of other cultures, and skills in delivering culturally appropriate services and interventions. Treatment is more effective and clients are more likely to remain in therapy when clients view their psychologist as being culturally competent. The dangers of cultural incompetence include client’s prematurely terminating treatment, refraining from entering treatment and ongoing mental health disparities. Culturally competent psychologists are skilled in addressing issues of power and privilege, and providing a safe environment in which diversity is respected and valued.
Empathy: Clients want to feel heard and understood. In order to do this, psychologists have to be empathic. Very often clients come in having made or are making bad decisions. It likely they feel judged and ashamed about their situations. Building a rapport based on trust, respect and empathy can empower clients to be vulnerable and open to make positive changes in their life. In fact, one of the largest predictors in therapeutic success is the relationship between the client and the clinician.
Self-Care Skills: You will hear stories of great triumph and success, but you also hear stories of trauma and abuse. The realities of some clients can be difficult to handle and psychologists have their own lives and personal struggles to deal with, so it is imperative that psychologists engage in ongoing self-care. You cannot expect to be helpful to others if you  do not prioritize our own mental wellness.

Job Opportunities:

  1. Child Psychologist
  2. Clinical/Forensic Psychologist
  3. Behavioural Psychologist – Family/Marriage Counsellors, Behavioural Health Counsellors, Industrial/Organizational Counsellors
  4. Academic Psychologists – Research Psychologists, Psychology Professors, Lab Managers
  5. Neurophysicist
  6. Sports Psychologist

Salary scope:

In India, the average salary of a psychologist is around Rs. 3-4 lakh per annum. The greater the experience and specialisation, the more is the income.  Average salary per annum in the US is $70,000.

(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services). 

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