The California Board of Psychology defines the process for becoming a psychologist in California. In order to work as a psychologist in the Golden State, a license is required, for which you will need to fulfill a series of educational and experience requirements. These requirements will take a certain number of years to complete. Let’s take a detailed look at the process and define how long it takes to become a psychologist in California.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in California?

Let us look at the path to become a psychologist in California to determine the amount of time it would take.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree – 4 years
  2. The first step to become a psychologist would be to get a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute. You may get this degree in psychology, though that is not a compulsion. Most graduate schools would accept students with a major in social sciences, while others would require the completion of certain pre-requisite courses before being accepted in a graduate program.

  1. Master’s Degree – 2 years
  2. Even though this degree is not necessary, it is considered a great way to understand the field of psychology better. You may want to go for majors such as counseling, school psychology or social work. In certain cases, you might be able to enter the workforce immediately after getting your degree, while in other cases, you might use it as a stepping stone towards a doctorate program. The path you take ultimately depends on your career goals.

  1. Doctorate Degree – 3 to 7 years
  2. The length of a doctoral program depends on several factors, including the specialization you choose to pursue and whether or not you have earned a master’s degree. In order to become a licensed psychologist in the state of California, you will need to earn a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology). The degree you pursue will depend on your career goals eventually. For instance, if you want a career in research, a Ph.D. might be the best choice. On the other hand, if you want to opt for professional practice, you ought to consider a Psy.D. degree.

  1. Training and License
  2. In order to get a license to work as a psychologists in California you should have a total of 3,000 hours of experience, which amounts to two years of work, under a licensed psychologist. 1,500 of these hours have to be completed after the completion of your doctorate degree. In order to get a license in the state of California, you will have to clear two tests. Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) is the first test. Once you clear that, you can apply to sit for the second test which is the California Psychology Law and Ethics Exam (CPLEE).

How Much Does a Psychologist Earn in California?

California is one of the best states to work in as a psychologist. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists was $108,350 in 2018. The state had the highest employment level in this occupation, with 17,310 people employed in this field.