Psychology as a career in India | Everything you need to know.

So, you are probably finishing your schooling this year and wondering what career option to choose out of the billion other options thrown at you right now. You might be fascinated by psychology, after all, it’s the study of you, me, humans, all of us. How we do, what we do.

You might want to read people, see through them, understand their real intentions and what not. From job opportunities to the type of psychologists that are going to be in demand in the coming future and what we are going to study. We are going to answer all of them.

As psychology graduates, we are also going to tell you about the real picture of what it’s like pursuing a career in psychology, especially in India. Because, let’s be real, out of the hundred resources you are going to find online on the web, nobody is going to tell you about the real picture, only the steps. Now, before getting to our experiences, we would first like to clarify what you have to do to be a psychologist in India.

And then we can discuss if it’s worth pursuing and what are the challenges we have faced and are still facing. First, you need a bachelor’s in psychology, BA or BSc. Then you have to do a master’s in psychology, MMSc.

Then you will need to do an internship or training under a psychologist, if you want to become a counselling psychologist. But if you are interested in becoming a clinical psychologist, then you have to do MPhil, which is need to be RCI approved. And lastly, you can also do a PhD if you want to go into the professor line.

But for that, you will have to clear NET examinations, which are also kind of tricky. As simple as these steps are, there are many layers to it. And with our own personal experiences, we will try to cover all of them.

Now, let’s quickly go into the difference between a clinical psychologist and a counselling psychologist. A clinical psychologist will typically help you with your mental disorders, maybe autism or OCD. But on the other hand, a counselling psychologist will help you deal with your day-to-day life, relationship problems, depression, stress or anxiety.

Basically, will help you to get a more balanced life. There is also organizational psychology, sports psychology, health psychology and forensic psychology. But with what we have experienced, the organizational and counselling psychology are going to be the most demanding in the future.

I would like to add that the job opportunities are high as the mental health stigma is breaking day after day, especially when our generation is realizing its value. The demand for psychologists is obviously rising. But even with this perfect scenario, there are things that need to be considered before going into the field of psychology.

If you are from a upper middle class family or even from a rich family, then there are points you might not need to be worried about. But if you are from a normal middle class family like we are, you have to do something as soon as possible. Think about financially securing your parents and what not.

Then there are some things that you need to be aware of before jumping into this career. With that said, even if you are from a rich family and money isn’t your big concern, even then you can benefit from this article a lot. As there are many points that we are going to mention from our own experience as well, which are going to be beneficial for you as well.

Now, let me begin with the most important aspect of any career, money. It’s not like you cannot earn from this field, but it’s not like you can earn in lakhs in this field. The reality lies somewhere in the middle.

The journey of becoming a psychologist is pretty long. And trust me, even if you know that and are ready to take the risk, such a long process with no money can definitely get your confidence pretty soon. And most of you might be doing your bachelors from your hometown, which is a wise decision considering you’ll have no money out of your profession for at least five years.

Even after completing your masters, you can’t quickly begin to earn. And the most surprising part is that it is so difficult to find good internships under a proper psychologist who can train you. Imagine studying for years and not even getting paid for the internship.

It just kills the motivation of any student and discourages them to go any further into this field. And even if you think you can simply open your own clinic after completing masters in psychology, how are you going to give therapy with no practical experience? It just becomes the whole chicken and the egg story. And the route is even more difficult for clinical psychology, where you need two more years plus the whole college and entrance scenarios, which brings us to our next point.

As we said, it’s best to complete your bachelors from your hometown if possible. But if you can afford, definitely try to get a good college for that too. But it’s important for you to understand that college will never give you the practical knowledge you’re looking for.

You will always have to figure things out on your own. Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it from a normal college or a fancy one in Delhi. Do not expect to get admission in the college and figure it out letting.

You’ll still have to make your own way out of the tunnel. The only thing colleges can help you with is to get you a little exposure or maybe if the faculty is good, they can show you the way. But it’s mostly going to be the theoretical part.

Do not expect the practical knowledge of the field from most of the colleges. Due to the ignorant attitude for psychology in most colleges, doing at least the masters from a good college is necessary for exposure. But you cannot rely on them.

Although, good exposure may help you build meaningful connections. But because psychology is still new, good colleges are pretty rare. And if colleges are good, seat size, competition is too high, then enters the stressful entrance exams.

As we said, colleges are rare and competition is high. And now CUET-2 has entered the competition, which is creating the whole NEET and JEE situation. For those of you who don’t know what CUET is, it is Common University Entrance Test where all the central universities participate, even VU and VHU.

So instead of giving different university exams or different entrance exams, you only have to give one entrance exam and you are eligible for all the universities. Which has its own merits and demerits. If you are assuming that you are taking a completely different road away from all the entrance exams choosing psychology, then you are 100% wrong.

So if you want to get into a good college, it’s going to be a little tricky and it feels discouraging to work so hard and then just indulge in the syllabus. Which brings us to the next point. You might have some high expectations.

Seen all the cool movies about psychology and therapy? Well, that can attract you to this fascinating field. But at the same time, take you off reality. Do not forget that just like any other subject, psychology is a discipline too.

The thing that disappointed us a little was how heavily theoretical the subject can be sometimes. Don’t get us wrong here. The theories are really funny, taught correctly, which is the whole point.

And sometimes it gets a little tricky to understand the practical use of all the theories that we are bombarded with. So be aware that psychology is just like any other normal subject. Which can give you a few nap sessions sometimes.

Do not expect to know everything and everyone around you from the theories. They of course can help you. But it will always be up to you how you perceive the theories and how you apply them.

Because the subject is quite subjective. Where enters the statistics? Yes, math isn’t leaving you guys. It’s gonna stay.

Jokes apart. The statistics aren’t that good. But of course you will have to study.

Do not expect psychology to be that easy or whatever. The biology part is pretty much there too. You know, the brain and our lovely system.

Enough of this negativity guys. Let’s discuss a few solutions we have in mind. Of course you can add some more problems and solutions.

But here are our suggestions. Number one, money. If you leave all your hopes to the degree, you can have problems to some degree.

You get? It will probably be beneficial for you to pick up a side skill. So that you at least have some base to fall on to. We took a lot of time to figure out what to do, how to do, when to do and we still are.

The thing is, any field that is new has these problems. When IT companies or corporates were not a thing in India, I am sure these situations were there too. You have the first mover advantage with some little disadvantages which will leave you with time and dedication.

Because trust me, this field is estimated to grow largely in India. You can do many things like workshops, pick up a side skill, stay active on social media. Until you are exactly where you want yourself to be.

The thing is, we Indians think that we should pick one profession after 12 and that should be our god and goddesses. But that is not the smartest decision, especially in today’s time. Also most of the internships do not provide any practical experience whatsoever.

Especially during your bachelors. In your masters the scenario can be different. You can get internships which actually provide you something.

Your experiences can be different if you are from a city like Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. But from a normal city it is possible that you might not get any practical experience from your internships. Some side skill may help you generate a passive income, especially till you complete your degree.

But if you want to earn as a psychologist, the most important thing for you will be knowledge and experience. A doctor will never be able to treat brain haemorrhage if he has only read about it. So in most ways we are doctors too.

That’s why it’s important to expand your practical knowledge as much as possible. Connect to as many people as possible in this field through LinkedIn or social media. Find like-minded people in your field.

I say don’t depend on your teacher and try to find your own study material online. And read your books carefully. Teachers and the teaching system might not be best suited for you.

You have to understand their limitations and start working on your own. From a long time, psychology was treated as a humanity subject. And its application from therapy and counselling was missing.

But if you want to make a living by helping people who are in need of it, then you have to break our traditional system a little. Things are definitely not served on plate, but you can find many opportunities. Your teachers might not be able to understand your opinion like you do.

But approaching them and making them understand your intentions will definitely help you. Read books, watch movies, TV shows and documentaries related to psychology. Then you’ll see the practical theories that we read in our textbooks in practical world too.

Trust me, any good central university will give you what you want as long as you do your work. You give your best, but believe me, getting into a good college does not guarantee success. It just gives you a slightly better route.

The talent is in you. Now the best part. Some theories might be boring on paper, but you can find interesting and fun ways to learn them online.

Crash course in practical psychology are some channels that can help you understand theories in a more fun and cool way. Where you can understand the practical usage of your textbook passages. It’s not like computer applications where most of the things need to be learnt only practically.

Try to find the balance. After all, human mind is all about balance. Some theories might be boring on paper, but don’t avoid them and study them only for exams.

If you don’t have knowledge for something, then you can’t apply them in real life as well. If you correlate the theories to your real life situation, try to observe people’s psyche around you. One day you’ll be able to make your own way.

Once again, if you’re actually interested, whatever happens, you’ll find it interesting and make it fun. The purpose of making this article was not to demotivate you, but to help you understand the whole situation before you make the decision. Because when we were in your situation, we had no one to help us.

Before finishing the article, we’d like to tell you guys that they’re flip side of every coin and we just wanted you to see both of them. Tell many people you’ll meet will give you a list of problems with their lucrative career. In the end, we’d like to add some things.

First of all, don’t worry about the internships that much. Because you’re not gonna get any good internship before your graduation. You’ll only get internships for the sake of certificates.

They won’t even give you any experience. So, don’t worry about them till graduation. During masters, you can get internships that will give you actually some experience.

The main point is, don’t worry about internships. Don’t stress too much. Your connections are definitely gonna be good because it’s psychology and people are going to be very empathetic and like-minded.

Once again, we’d like to add that the idea of making this article was to aware everyone about psychology as a career in India. Because many people come on your steps, they tell you what to do and etc. But nobody actually tells what the real picture is.

People can have various experiences depending upon their city and environment. But not everyone is living in Delhi, Kolkata or maybe Bangalore. People are from normal middle-class families who want to be a therapist or who want to become a psychologist.

So, what about them? So, this article was basically to aware them about some cautionary tales. Like any other career, it is always you. It is always your courage.

It is always your passion who will get you there. We didn’t make that article just to show you the negativity around us. Because at the end of the day, it’s up to you what you are gonna see.

The positive side of the thing and the negative side of the thing. So, just try to make your own way out of the problem. And once again, there is no shortcut in life or in any career.

If you just think that you will take this route and that route. Trust me, believe this thing that you will have to work. You will have to have that thing which any career requires.

Because hard work is everything. Yeah, I mean there are so many things out there about smart work. Smart work is not avoiding hard work.

It is allocating hard work. It’s smart work plus hard work. So, we hope we cleared most of your doubts and provided you enough information about the career side of psychology.

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