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What is Psychology?

Psychology is an excellent career option for those who are interested in learning about and understanding the human condition. And there is a real need for psychology professionals currently, both in Kansas and the rest of the United States. The past few years have taken a toll on people, and many are struggling to cope. They are seeking assistance in remaining productive members of society or, if they fell on hard times, finding ways to return to the life they once enjoyed. Psychology professionals are just the people to assist in that journey.

Many times, when people think of a psychologist, they picture the stereotypical middle-aged man sitting in a chair, smoking a pipe while he asks probing questions about a patient’s childhood. Although it’s fair to say that this does still go on, the psychology profession has progressed past that point. There are many tools that a psychology professional employs to assist patients with navigating through their current mental health crisis. Some professionals work in facilities that treat mental health or addiction issues, while others work with outpatients in individual or group settings. Even those who choose to specialize in one particular area can experience vastly different patients in a day. The profession is never dull, and it is ideal for someone who enjoys a challenge on a daily basis.

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Psychology Education in kansas

There are numerous options for someone who wants to work as a psychology professional. Whether you want to work with children, adults, the elderly, veterans, addicts, or people living with mental health issues, you can create an important and fulfilling career. In the state of Kansas, there are more than 1,000 people employed in the psychology field, in both clinical and research capacities. On average these professionals make $87,000 per year. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for psychology professionals in expected to increase by 8% between now and 2030. The need is there and, if you have the desire to help people understand themselves on a deeper level, then this is a good time to pursue a career as a psychology professional. Below is some information to help you get started. You’ll find educational paths, licensing requirement, and some potential career ideas when you are ready to begin working in the field.

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There are several degrees you can receive in the field of psychology. However, as with most professions, the more education you have the further you can progress in your career. Below are the four most common level of education you can receive in psychology.

Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

An associate degree in psychology will provide a foundational education in psychology, as well as a broader general education in most cases. This can be enough to whet a person’s appetite and prompt them to pursue further education, so it is a good place to start for someone who wants to make sure this is the career path they want to take.

It provides an overview of the kind of work a person might do as a psychology professional and students may study the following subjects as part of their curriculum:

  • Behavioral Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Ethics
  • Human Development
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Intro to Sociology

The degree typically takes four semesters (two years) to complete. Upon graduation, a person can attain employment at treatment centers or other mental health facilities but will not be allowed to offer any sort of therapy or counseling.

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Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is the first rung on the ladder to becoming a psychology professional and students will gain the knowledge needed to start their careers. These programs help with developing problem solving and critical thinking skills and they also introduce the study of neuroscience while honing students needed communication skills. Bachelor’s degrees require four years of study as well as at least one internship during their academic career.

Some of the courses in a psychology degree program might include:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Life Span Development
  • Psychology in Everyday Life
  • Sensation and Perception
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Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)

The next step for someone who wants to work as a clinician or counselor is earning a master’s degree in psychology. Graduate degree programs usually take three to five years and consist of classroom training, possibly an internship, and a capstone or comprehensive exam.

Students enrolled in a graduate program will study courses such as:

  • Clinical Psychopharmacology
  • Ethics
  • Group Dynamics
  • Learning and Cognition
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Principles of Neuroscience
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PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)

Doctorate students have two options when it comes to terminal degrees. The first option is the PhD, or the Doctorate of Letters in Psychology, which is ideal for those who want to work in research or want to teach psychology at the university level. For those who want to become clinicians and work with patients, the Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) is an option. Both degrees take between five and seven years to complete, and a dissertation must be written and successfully defended.

Some of the classes included in the doctorate programs include:

  • Assessment, Statistics and Research Techniques
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Multicultural Consistencies

It is possible to complete all the coursework and clinicals required and work as a counselor at some capacity without completing a dissertation. This is referred to as a PhD – ABD or PsyD – ABD. ABD stands for “all but dissertation”. However, in many states, Kansas included, to receive a license to practice you must complete your doctorate degree, including the dissertation.

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Become a Psychologist in Kansas

The first step is getting the education you need to work in your chosen area. For most people, this means attaining a bachelor’s and a graduate degree from the start. This means you should be prepared to be in school for at least seven years. It’s important that both your undergraduate and graduate degrees are from schools that have psychology programs that are accredited by recognized accreditation boards. This means the American Psychology Association recognizes the board as credible. Getting a degree from an unaccredited school, or from a school with an accreditation not recognized by the APA, could be disastrous, because you will not be able to sit for a licensing exam or apply for a license. So, it’s imperative that you select schools that fulfill those requirements.

During this time, you will complete many clinicals and internships. Make the time to network with these individuals and facilities, because they can be important to you when it is time to begin the job search. In many cases, these people will also be called upon to speak about your performance. You want to make as good an impression as possible.

In the state of Kansas, to become licensed, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be of good moral standing and good character
  • Hold a doctorate degree in psychology
  • Have two years of supervised work experience
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a minimum score of 70%
  • You must have a licensure application on file with the Behavioral Science Regulatory Board BSRB

Once you have completed all the steps and the license has been granted, you are ready to start your career as a clinical psychology professional in the state of Kansas. To work in other areas, check with each organization’s requirements. It’s possible to have a successful career as a psychology professional without a PhD or PsyD, it just depends on your career focus.

Careers for Psychology Graduates

  • Psychiatric Technician:
    Psychiatric technicians assist with the day-to-day care of psychiatric patients in facilities and group homes. They may help with feeding, bathing, providing medication, and other daily activities a person might have. They are also often safe people for patients to talk to. This is a position a person with a two-year degree or a new bachelor’s degree graduate might hold. It is a good way to help a person decide if they want to work with people with mental health issues or might prefer to work with another group in the psychology field.
  • Social Worker:
    A social worker is another profession that is heavily stereotyped. Social workers do more than take children from their homes and place them in foster care; they work with all ages of people, from the elderly to veterans and the average adult who is struggling in some capacity. They are a bridge between the general public and agencies that can provide assistance to people who need it. This position requires patience and compassion because most people seeking help are not at the best and, therefore, communication can be strenuous. A social worker needs to know how to diffuse situations so solutions can be found.

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  • Victim Advocate:
    Victim advocates represent clients during legal proceedings. They work with adults and children who are survivors of domestic, sexual, and other forms of abuse. They help to advise the client about how court procedures will occur and offer general support. Many victim advocates are social workers, but psychologists can be advocates as well. Advocates can be appointed by the court or can work independently through other social service agencies.
  • Substance Abuse/Addictions Counselor:
    Substance abuse and addiction counselors work with people who are trying to overcome addiction issues. Some counselors choose to focus on certain additions over others, such as drugs and alcohol, while other work with all types of addictions. The counseling may be done on both an individual and group level and can take place off-site or at a facility for in-patients and out-patients. Counselors have techniques they use to assist a person with working through their addictions, identifying the triggers and learning ways to avoid these issues in the future so they can protect their sobriety.
  • Community Service Manager:
    A community services manager works as a bridge between the community and social service organizations to provide outreach and assistance where needed. They are very active in their communities and are often the first to know about a new situation that needs addressed and can gather the right people to find a solution for the problem.

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