Should I Choose to Become a Psychologist or a Counselor?
Psychologist or Counselor? Psychologists and counselors are considered highly trained and respected mental health practitioners. Both roles are usually tasked with serving individuals in the capacity of assisting them in getting through emotionally trying times and situations. Those who practice in both fields will require state licensure. Both professions provide services that can properly reimbursed through insurance companies. In many ways, the two professions share many similar responsibilities and roles. Let’s explain some of the differences between the two professions.
Training for Psychologists and Counselors
- Usually requires a minimum Master’s degree in Psychology to obtain this title; often, a PhD is required. Many people do think of a psychologist as having a PhD.
- Use research-based psychological behavioral approach to treating clients.
- Must adhere to higher standards in regards to ethics and confidentiality as governed by the state board.
- Usually refers only to those licensed by a state board to provide Psychological therapy.
- Able to practice direct therapy with patients in private practice.
- Able to teach at colleges or universities.
- Can determine and conduct clinical evaluations of a client’s mental health condition and diagnose mental illnesses.
- Often refers to both licensed clinicians that hold advanced degrees and offering other types of counseling.
- Counselors work with directly with patients to determine best preferred outcomes.
- Counselors are not required to have the same degree of advanced training, or licensure, as a psychologist; though counselors often will have a Master’s degree.
PhD programs for psychologists are extremely competitive. Test scores and strong grades are essential. Some programs have a heavier focus on research than do others. Some of these schools will place a great significance on facets such as how much undergraduate research you accomplished.
Programs follow APA standards. There will be lots of statistics and quantitative analysis. Tests that are psychometric in detail will be included. A PhD psychology candidate often must complete a dissertation, along with research activity.
What does a Psychologist Do?
A psychologist’s practice usually includes the implementation of a wide range of a variety of tests for clients; these tests will include IQ tests and tests of neurological function.
Counselors are usually more limited than psychologists in the tests they can perform. Some states require counselors to pursue additional training so that they can gain understanding and properly administer psychometric assessments. Counselors may have limitations on performing only certain types of tests under specific conditions. The state may require that counselors working on qualification in psychometric assessment be appropriately supervised by a psychologist.
Psychologists often work with clients posing serious mental illness issues. Psychologists are trained to perform psychotherapy with a wide range of clients. Often, general therapy responsibilities will be assigned to counselors, or other Master’s level mental health professionals. One reason for this is that counselors are often more affordable than psychologists. Insurance requirements and standards often have an effect on what type of therapist a client will see.
Ultimately, clients can often choose for themselves whether they want to see a counselor or a psychologist. The choice is often yours.
Career Expectations for Psychologists and Counselors
While both fields are demonstrating steady growth, the demand for Counselors is growing stronger.
Both careers allow you to apply your substantial knowledge to those in need.