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What is Psychology?

Maine has a huge stake in the educational services, healthcare, and social assistance industry, with these together ranking as the second biggest industry in the state based on GDP.

Since the educational services, healthcare, and social assistance is a top industry in Maine, the state offers locally useful degrees such as PhD/Doctorate degrees in school psychology, clinical psychology PhD programs, and master’s psychology degrees in psychological sciences including cognitive, biological, and social psychology.

Due to the high demand for psychology professionals in Maine, the above degree programs are a great choice for people who want to pursue careers as a school psychologist, clinical child psychologist, clinical neuropsychologist, or another job in the psychology field.

Also sometimes known as mental health professionals, psychology professionals strive to understand why people think and behave the way they do. When people think of psychology professionals, many of them envision a man or woman providing talk therapy to a client across a desk, or while they sit on a couch in a calming office environment. While psychologists and psychiatrists are certainly psychology professionals, there are actually many more professionals who work in the psychology field.

As part of their everyday work, psychology professionals are expected to execute treatment plans, identify the signs of mental illness, make referrals, monitor patients’ mental conditions, and collaborate with other mental health professionals. The top psychology professionals in Maine, and throughout the country, have the following skills and characteristics: patience, problem-solving abilities, research skills, interpersonal skills, and empathy.

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Psychology Education in Maine

Associate Degree in Psychology (AS)

An associate psychology degree is perfect for students who want to explore the psychology field or transfer to a four-year college that offers a bachelor’s psychology degree program.

Current students enrolled in psychology degree programs will typically take courses in human development, abnormal psychology, and statistics. These courses will provide students with the basics of human behavior and an understanding of research methods.

Graduates of these psychology degree programs will be able to obtain an entry-level position as psychiatric technicians and in similar careers. The top psychology schools for an associate psychology degree in Maine are Southern Maine Community College and Kennebec Valley Community College.

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Bachelor's Degree in Psychology (BS)

A bachelor’s psychology degree is a specifically designed to prepare students for careers in psychology/counseling, social work, victim/witness assistance, community corrections, and domestic violence advocacy.

By offering key campus courses such as social psychology, personality development, and biological psychology, these psychology degree programs successfully help students deeply understand human behavior. During these programs, students should also gain scientific reasoning skills, enabling them to think critically in work settings.

Students who would like to earn a bachelor’s psychology degree should consider attending the University of Maine, University of Maine-Presque Isle, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, University of Maine-Machias, Husson University, University of Southern Maine, or Thomas College.

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Master's Degree in Psychology (MS or MC)

A master’s psychology degree or MBA with a focus in financial psychology, organizational psychology, or something similar can be a great choice for future psychology professionals want to secure a managerial career as a human resource manager, social service manager, data analyst manager, or another management position in the business field. A graduate degree program can also prepare student for careers in teaching and counseling.

Depending on the specific master’s psychology degree or MBA program chosen, students can pursue concentrations such as clinical child psychology, clinical neuropsychology, or school psychology. Regardless of the concentration, graduate programs teach students advanced research skills, preparing them to excel in their career. Those enrolled in a master’s psychology degree program can also obtain hands-on experience through many internship hours.

The following colleges in Maine offer master’s psychology degree or MBA: University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine.

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PhD Degree in Psychology (PhD)

A PhD/Doctorate degree in psychological sciences is highly recommended for future psychology professionals who would like to obtain a career as a psychologist or a prominent position in research or academia. Over the course of this program, students can work with faculty that has many years of experience researching several psychology topics.

A PhD/Doctorate degree in psychological sciences is often tailored to individual students. Current students of this graduate program may be required to take courses such as research methods, functional behavior assessment, and fundamentals of counseling theories. They may also be required to complete a research project.

The University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine are the only colleges in Maine that offer a PhD/Doctorate degree in psychology.

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Become a Psychologist in Maine

While students should have some idea of the career that they want to pursue in the psychology field, many of them are looking for guidance. Here’s exactly how to become a psychology professional in Maine.

  • Earn a Psychology Degree

    The reality is that most employers in the psychology field will not hire psychology professionals unless they have a psychology degree. Future psychology professionals who want to secure an entry-level position such as a psychiatric technician should receive at least an associate psychology degree, though even in these positions employers might prefer candidates that have bachelor’s degrees.

    A bachelor’s psychology degree is highly recommended for future psychology professionals who have aspirations to work as a substance abuse/addictions counselor. A master’s psychology degree is the perfect choice for those who want a career in human resources, teaching, social work, and counseling. In fact, a master’s is required for most psychology licenses. For future psychology professionals who want to work in research, they need to receive a PhD/Doctorate degree in psychology.

  • Receive Professional Licenses and Certifications

    Maine requires future psychology professionals to receive professional certifications for the specific psychology career that they want to pursue. There are several career options for various fields that fall under psychology including teaching, research, counseling, and more.

    For those interested in a career as a licensed psychologist, they’ll need to receive a psychology license after graduating from a board-approved doctoral program. Since psychiatrists are medical doctors, future psychiatrists need to earn an MD license.

    The state offers the following licenses for alcohol and drug counselors: Alcohol and Drug Counseling Aide, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and Certified Clinical Supervisor.

    Future psychology professionals who would like to obtain a career as a counselor should earn one of these licenses: Professional Counselor, Clinical Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Counselor, or Pastoral Counselor.

    The state provides these licenses for future social workers: Licensed Social Worker, Licensed Master Social Worker, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

    Maine also offers teaching certifications for future teachers including Provisional Certification, Professional Certification, Master Certification, and Conditional Certification. For those who wish to teach psychology, you will want to check the requirements for teaching psychology at the college level.

  • Join Professional Psychology Organizations

    Future psychology professionals should also consider joining psychology organizations.

    • The Maine Psychological Association is a local organization that provides many educational resources to its members. As a member, psychology professionals will be able to stay abreast of the laws, regulations, and other important topics related to the psychology field. The organization has been proudly serving psychological professionals for more than 70 years.
    • The Maine Association of School Psychologists is a prominent local organization that supports school psychologists. Since its establishment, the organization has provided these professionals with information on current best practices, certification requirements, professional development resources, and network opportunities. Members also gain access to local job postings and a forum.
    • The Mental Health Associates of Maine is the perfect organization for psychology professionals who want to learn more about how to treat people with mental health conditions. It presents members with comprehensive training so that members can better help people who suffer from an extensive array of issues such as trauma, depression, and anxiety. The overarching goal of the organization is to equip members with the necessary knowledge to provide the best mental health care to clients.
    • The American Psychological Organization is the one of the largest organizations for psychology professionals. Over the years, the organization has successful provided members many professional growth resources such as mentorship, career development, networking, and practice management. The organization wants psychology professionals to make a big impact in the community, so it also offers members many powerful leadership trainings. The organization is highly recommended for professionals who have careers in education, practice, research, or public interest.
    • The American Counseling Organization is committed to serving psychology professionals with counseling careers. When psychology professionals join this organization, they will have access to job opportunities, prominent publications, networking connections, educational trainings, and member discounts. Members can even attend an annual conference, where they’ll be able to connect with many psychology professionals and earn continuing education credits.

Careers for Psychology Graduates

  • Psychiatric Technician:
    this is an entry-level position in the psychology field. Psychiatric technicians are supposed to care for patients with mental health conditions. They’re expected to perform important duties such as executing treatment plans, giving oral medication, assisting patients with activities of daily living, facilitating educational and therapeutic activities, and observing patients’ mental conditions. They can work in a wide variety of settings including nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative youth centers, federal/state prisons, group homes, addiction treatment facilities, and more.
  • Child Counselor/Psychologist:

    As child counselors/psychologists, these professionals pride themselves on supporting children with mental health conditions. These psychology professionals focus on treating and studying children with mental health conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    The most common tasks of child counselors include providing counseling and therapy, facilitating group therapy, communicating with parents and guardians, and helping children become more resilient. They may perform psychological evaluations, create personalized treatments plans, execute interventions, develop outreach programs, and observe the treatment progress of every child.

  • Psychology Researcher:
    The overarching goal of psychology researchers is to study how people think and behave. Many psychology professionals pursue careers as psychology researchers because they’re fascinated by the research. Often referred to as experimental psychologists, research psychologists perform experiments exploring key topics such as school psychology, mental health treatment, neuroscience, nonverbal communication, dreams, and more. Many research psychologists publish their research in prominent journals and speak about their findings at conferences.

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  • Residential Counselor:

    The job description of residential counselors typically involves providing support for people in a residential setting. They are generally expected to monitor all of the residents, help residents with activities of daily living, offer recreational activities, give oral medications, and collaborate effectively with healthcare professionals.

    The most effective residential counselors are able to remain calm in a fast-paced environment, communicate in a concise manner, maintain an approachable personality, and identify the symptoms of mental conditions. They are also extremely passionate about serving people with a wide variety of challenges.

  • Clinical Therapist:
    Clinical therapists can provide treatment in a wide range of settings such as hospitals, private practices, schools, prisons, and clinics. Regardless of where they choose to work, they perform the following duties: assessments, developing treatment plans, providing therapy to patients, managing cases, and working with other healthcare professionals.
  • Psychiatrist:
    Psychiatrists are psychology professionals who specialize in providing treatments options for people with mental illnesses. As medical doctors, psychiatrists are able to write prescriptions for their patients who need medication. These psychology professionals can treat many mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They can provide treatment for children, seniors, pregnant women, people with addictions, and others.
  • Marriage and Family Counselor:
    Marriage and family counselors are primarily responsible for providing counseling to couples and families. Many people depend on these psychology professionals to many different conditions, from anxiety and depression to grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. These professionals can be employed in private practice, mental health centers, hospitals, and clinics. In order to perform their job well, they must have excellent problem-solving, communication, and organization skills.

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