In a university, a psychologist is a professor who teaches or conducts research in the field of psychology.
Outside the university, the title "Psychologist" is reserved in the same way that the terms "Attorney" and "Physician" are limited. Anyone calling themselves a "Psychologist" or who practices psychology must be licensed by the State.
Most of the research in our field comes from university based professors, rather than from psychologists who are in practice. Some psychologists teach and practice, and also conduct research.
Except in academic settings, a psychologist is someone with a psychology license.
Licensing protects the public from individuals who might call themselves psychologists or practice psychology without proper qualifications.
Psychologists must have a doctoral degree, usually a Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy - or a Psy.D. - Doctor of Psychology. Some qualify with an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education).
In addition to a doctorate, a psychologist must also complete a specific number of hours of supervised training. Generally, this will involve two to three years working in clinics or hospitals before finishing the Ph.D., and at least one year of intense, full-time training after the degree is completed.
Psychologists also have to pass licensing examinations.
After graduation from college, it takes a minimum of five to six years to become a psychologist. It can often take six to eight years. Most psychologists have produced a doctoral dissertation, which is an original research project and a book length discussion of that research.
After the license is obtained, one may use the title "psychologist " and may practice using the methods, techniques and knowledge of our field.
Copyright, Paul G. Mattiuzzi,Ph.D.