Certification Requirements for a Psychologist's Assistant

Requirements for this career vary and are often at the discretion of the hiring psychologist, although most education and training standards are similar across the country. Keep reading to learn more about becoming a certified psychological assistant. Schools offering Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Assistant Psychologist Job Description

Assistant clinical psychologists perform limited counselling and assessment within a psychological services program. This role may be employed by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, clinic or psychological corporation in a mental health, children's services, intellectual disability or correctional services field. As an assistant, they may work under the supervision of a certified psychologist.

Duties can include administering and scoring psychological tests and assisting in patients' therapy. They may also write and review reports on the psychological behaviour of their residents. Experimental psychologists' assistants participate in the design and execution of psychological experiments.

Psychological Assistant Salary, Skills, and Certification

Average Salary (2019) $57,630*
Key Skills Interpersonal communication, compassion, proficient in extensive research methods**
Licensure Licensing and certification requirements vary by state***
Similar Occupations Psychiatric aide, youth service worker, psychologist**

Sources: ZipRecruiter*, Iowa Department Of Administrative Services**, various government sources***

Acquiring Your Psychological Assistant Certification

Individuals will need to become a registered psychological assistant in order to practice in the field. Certification requirements will vary among states; for example, PA requirements in Nevada involve at least 1750 hours of supervised post-doctoral training on top of other academic requirements, while states like California only state the necessity of a master's and doctoral degree - along with a passing score on the preliminary doctoral exams to qualify for registration.

The certification process will likely involve a criminal background check and processing fee (may also differ from state to state).

General Hiring Requirements

Psychologists' assistants most often work with clinical psychologists in medical settings or with experimental psychologists, but some other types of psychologists also hire assistants. Psychologists usually look for people who have taken college classes in psychology and have experience working in psychological settings.

Education Requirements

The state registration process for assistant psychologists will typically require a doctoral degree from a psychological studies program. Some states may require these programs to be accredited by the American Psychological Association. Some states may also require the completion of a master's degree in a psychology field (ex. California). However, some states may only require the completion of a bachelor's degree, as in the case with Iowa.

Those completing an undergraduate degree in the psychological field may choose to major in related fields such as special education, guidance and counselling, behavioural psychology, among others.

Work Experience and Skill Requirements

Psychological assistant jobs usually require an understanding of how to diagnose and treat a variety of mental and emotional issues. Additionally, knowledge of clerical and office management tasks is beneficial, since many psychologists' assistants perform some of these duties. Assistants who work with experimental psychologists should have a firm understanding of psychological research and design methods before looking for a job. They must also have a thorough knowledge of the research methods, ethical standards, and policies of the industry. As they will be working with people of different personalities and behavioural backgrounds, psychological assistants must also be well-abled in tactfully and effectively communicating with such individuals.

Some states will require supervised, on-the-job training in the field prior to certification. In some cases, this work experience may even substitute the hours of required collegiate education.

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