How Are Counselors and Therapists Trained? What Education Do They Need?

A doctoral degree to practice psychology requires at least 4-6 years of full-time study after completing an undergraduate degree. Therapists go through 2-3 years of full time studies. Coursework includes areas such as ethics, statistics, individual differences and the biological, cognitive-affective and social bases of behavior, as well as specific training in psychological assessment and therapy.

While in graduate school, psychology students may also participate in research and teaching. A one-year full-time supervised internship is required prior to graduation and in most states an additional year of supervised practice is required before licensure.

Psychologists must pass a national examination and addition examination specific to the state in which they are being licensed. Once licensed to practice, psychologists must keep up their knowledge, which is demonstrated by earning several hours of continuing education credits annually, as required by their state’s license and regulations.

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