In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about psychology as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a Psychologist.

Who's a Psychologist?

Psychology is the study of human behaviour. As a psychologist you will study this behaviour to understand an individual’s thoughts and feelings. This information that you gather will then have to be used to provide your clients with any emotional or mental support they require. Having said that, there are different fields of psychology you can get into like social, developmental, clinical, industrial, etc. Depending on your specialisation, you will help people with different challenges they face like trouble adjusting to daily life, relationship issues, or work stress, etc.

Are you passionate about Psychology? Want to pursue it as a future career option? Explore a day in the life of a Psychologist- Dr. Meeta Shah

What will you do?

Providing therapy

Your primary job as a psychologist would be to provide short-term or long-term mental health care. Some clients might have chronic issues that require ongoing help through appropriate therapeutic methods.

Example: Dealing with clients of substance abuse will require you to frequently review their progress and discuss the challenges when they fail.

Studying human behaviour

You would be required to understand human behaviour through observations, asking questions, conducting tests, etc.

Example: During your session, you would observe your client’s body language to understand what makes them close off, or uncomfortable and their reactions or answers to certain questions. You will also conduct tests like the Rorschach test to examine their personality.

Counselling students

As you grow in your career as a psychologist, schools, colleges and other training institutions might seek your help for their students. Not only can you guide these students to choose the correct career path but you may also have to deal with those who have learning disabilities and other behavioural issues that hamper their progress.

Example: A student suffering from domestic abuse might be withdrawn from most of their peers but are likely to open up to a psychologist who provides them with a safe environment to express their feelings.

Helping in goal achievement

One of the most important ways you will have to help your patients is to guide them towards setting goals and ensuring that they achieve them. For this, you will have to keep a record of your patients’ progress and understand their challenges when they fail at any step.

Example: If your client is in an unhealthy marriage, their foremost goal will be to stand on their own two feet and then end the relationship once they are self-dependent.

Conducting research

Not all psychologists work individually with people. In fact, you might sometimes be required to conduct research through lab experiments or by surveying a group of people to make evaluations that can help in the study of the human mind and behaviour.

Example: You could be required to study how regular use of mobile phones in the night can affect sleep patterns and eventually, modify the psyche of the society.

Take the Mentoria career assessment test, to find out how well-suited you are as a Psychologist.

Where will you work?


While a number of hospitals tend to reach out to independent psychologists, some also hire in-house experts. You could work at local, government or private hospitals as a mental health practitioner, substance abuse counsellor, or a physician.

Visiting your clients

If you wish to work as an independent psychologist, you can either invite your patients to your office or visit them in schools, organisations, healthcare centres, or even their homes. As a freelance counsellor, you won’t have to follow any dress code but it is important to look formal yet approachable at the same time.


If you choose to specialise in child psychology, you could also function out of a school. Educational institutions generally employ psychologists in positions of counselling, administration, and teaching. Here, you will be working during school hours to help students with any problems they face.

How do you get there?

STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

While the science stream helps you understand the physiological side to human behaviour, arts deals with the functioning of human society and social construct, which plays an important role in the study of psychology.

If you want to pursue a BA in Psychology, choose arts. Make sure to take up psychology as one of your subjects in junior college along with history, sociology, etc.

STEP 2: Graduate Degree

Pursue a BA with a major in Psychology, a three-year course, while choosing a sub-field in either social psychology, counselling psychology, organisational psychology, or any other option that might interest you. You can pursue this degree from colleges like St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai), Gargi College (Delhi), etc.

STEP 3: Internship

You can choose between a school and a hospital for your internship or also work directly under an independent psychologist. Your performance here is the key to landing a full-time job.

STEP 4: Post-Graduation

Pursue an MA in Psychology, a two-year course, for which you must pick a specialisation in either psychology, social work or counselling to gain a better understanding of your subject while building your career in the field. You can pursue an MA in Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College for Women (Delhi), Fergusson College (Pune), etc.

STEP 5: Land a Job

Once you have obtained a Master’s degree in psychology, you can begin working as a psychologist. You can start by assisting a senior psychologist, or you can get a job as a trainee psychologist.

STEP 6: PhD/MPhil

You can continue to study and get a Doctorate degree in psychology if you wish to. However, this is optional. You would have to spend an additional 2-5 years doing an in-depth study of your chosen field of specialisation. This includes advanced research on the subject as well as participation in internships and other activities. The course covers human development, historical and social influence on a person and communities, dream interpretation, addiction, and personality disorders among other topics.

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

Since psychology is considered as the science of the human mind and behaviour, this is the best path for its study.You could choose to take science in your junior college if you wish to pursue a BSc in Psychology

STEP 2: Graduate Degree

Pursue a BSc in Psychology, a three-year course from colleges like Lady Shri Ram College for Women (Delhi), Christ University (Bangalore), etc.

STEP 3: Internship

Volunteer at a school, hospital or a private clinic to get some hands-on experience. As an intern, you will get the opportunity to work in the field and learn the craft from experts.

STEP 4: Postgraduate Degree

Pursue an M.Sc in Psychology, a two-year course right after your graduation from colleges like Christ University (Bangalore), Bethune College (Kolkata), etc. At this point, you must pick a specialisation to build your skills in your area of interest. You will also be required to write a dissertation on your subject and work under a trained psychologist for a period of 2-3 months. The career options that open to you after this degree may vary from educational and social psychologist to staff recruiter, on the basis of the specialisation you pick.

STEP 5: Land a Job

Once you have obtained your Master’s degree, you can begin working as a psychologist. You can start by assisting a senior psychologist, or you can get a job as a trainee psychologist.

STEP 6: PhD/MPhil

If you wish to set up your own practice in the future, you have to spend an additional 2-5 years doing an in-depth study of the subject. This includes basic and applied research on an advanced level and its application to individuals, communities and organisations to promote healthy human development. You will continue working with patients throughout your course of study either independently or with other professionals.

What skills would you need?

Analytical and Data Skills

Analytical and Data Skills

You will receive huge amounts of data from your client. This data will have to be analysed effectively so you can find ways that will help your client reach their customers is the best way possible. While it is true that the more data you analyse, the more insights you generate; analytical thinking will help you narrow down your search and find your key actionable items, thus saving you a lot of time and resources.

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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

It’s harder than ever to get people’s attention, what with so much information being thrown at them. But, people cannot resist a good story. Every good marketing campaign has a story to tell their customers and relate to them on an emotional level. Marketers who tell great stories through their marketing campaigns are always in great demand.

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You need to perform research on the eggs, sperms and embryos you obtain from the patient. This will involve some long hours of research.

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Social Skills

Social Skills

You will be working on a lot of cool projects and will be meeting a lot of potential clients and customers on the job. And so, a big part of your job will involve interacting with these people. You could be great at coming up with ideas, but that is only one part of your job. You will need to talk and meet people, build a rapport with them, to establish your credibility. Especially if you’re a freelancer, you will need to have certain social skills.

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How do you make it to the top ranks?

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You can work at a school, a hospital or a clinic under a senior psychologist to get some hands-on experience in the field and learn from the experts. Here you would be responsible for tasks like maintaining client data, arranging for follow-ups, etc.

Trainee Psychologist

Once you have completed your internship, you can apply for a job in the field of your interest as a trainee. Here you would assist a specialist to gain the relevant experience you need to start your own practice.


Once you have gained relevant experience in your field, you can start working at institutions and healthcare facilities to help rehabilitate patients. Or, you could get certified as a career counsellor, and help people find their ideal career.

Counselling Psychologist

As you build credibility and gain experience in the field, you earn the title of a certified counsellor and work towards the improvement of your clients’ lives and mental well-being.


At this stage of your career, you are an expert and thus take on cases that are more serious in nature. Don’t stop developing your skills and knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in psychology to ensure you continue to stay at the top of your game.

Thinking of a career as a Psychologist? Take the Mentoria assessment test & talk to our career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path.

Pursuing your career locally VS abroad

As we already know, mental health is just about starting to be taken seriously in India. While there are top institutes like Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University, Aligarh University or Christ University where you can pursue a specialisation in psychology, there isn’t enough awareness about this field here yet. Even the scope of this career can be very limiting, especially in rural areas and smaller cities, where there is little to no information about a psychologist’s role in society. In cities, meanwhile, this career is booming but it does not match up to international standards. The cost of pursuing psychology in India can vary across universities but comes up to an average of INR 10,000 for the Bachelor’s degree and up to INR 15,000 for the Master’s degree.

Psychology has tremendous scope in developed countries like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Singapore. These countries realise the importance of this profession and thus psychology has a bright future here. Universities like Stanford, UCL, Princeton, Chicago, and Pennsylvania are known for their psychology programmes that provide both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The cost of pursuing the same may go up to INR 10,00,000 for Bachelor degrees and up to INR 15,00,000 for Master’s degrees. This only pertains to the tuition fees and you may have an additional cost of living for international options.

How much would you get paid?

While your exact salary figure will depend on where you work, your education, skills and experience, we can give you a general idea about what your pay scale would look like.

What are your career options?

Counselling Psychology

Some of the highest-earning psychologists work in this sector. Counselling psychologists are required in schools, NGOs, rehabilitation centres and other institutions, either to help their patients deal with a brief traumatic situation or provide long-term care related to a specific illness. For example, counsellors who work in rehabilitation centres deal with drug addicts, helping them cope with their addiction by slowly reducing the intake of their drug and ensuring no risk of a relapse.

Clinical Psychology

This branch of psychology is highly in demand. It is also the longest route to becoming an expert as it requires you to complete your MPhil, which could take three to five years after your Master’s specialisation. Clinical psychologists mainly deal with patients who require clinical attention. Their problems are more serious in nature and thus, these psychologists must use a more therapeutic approach in dealing with these patients or work parallelly with psychiatrists, who use medication as a method of treatment.

Research Psychology

Unlike other psychologists, those involved in research do not work directly with patients but study their experiences and behaviours for educational, occupational and clinical applications. As a research psychologist, you can also pursue a PhD in the field, to increase your expertise as well as your credibility.

Educational Psychology

One of the fastest-growing fields in psychology, this one can have you working either as a child psychologist exclusively or as a school psychologist. In schools and other educational institutions, psychologists help students during their educational years with counselling and training. Or, they work with students who have learning disabilities or other psychological issues that hamper their progress.

Organisational Psychology

Organisational psychologists work at multinational corporations or other small and medium enterprises, exclusively in the human resources department. Here, they handle the issues of employees and also devise ways to improve productivity within a team. They are also responsible for boosting the morale of employees and improving the overall environment of the organisation.

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