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Working Conditions of Psychologists

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  • careers in psychology
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If you've ever considered becoming a psychologist, then you've probably wondered a little bit about what the working conditions might be like. As with many other professions, a psychologist's specialty area and individual workplace are the major determinants of the working conditions. For example, a forensic psychologist might spend his or her day working in courthouses, police stations or criminal detention centers. A clinical psychologist on the other hand, might spend his or her day working in a hospital or other mental health setting.

Psychologists, especially clinical and counseling psychologists, often work in private practice. This means that they have their own offices and are able to establish their own work schedule. It is important to note that many psychologists who run their own businesses frequently work evening and weekend hours in order to accommodate the schedules of their clients.

Some psychologists work shift schedules, including those employed in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers and other health care facilities. This often includes working night shifts and weekends.

Psychologists employed in academic settings, government or business settings generally have a more predictable schedule that follows normal daytime hours. However, those teaching at the university level may also have to teach courses during evenings or weekends. Psychologists employed by colleges and universities often spend time teaching classes and conducting research, but they may also be required to perform administrative duties.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor, psychologists today often work in collaboration with other professionals. They may consult with other psychologists, physicians, psychiatrists, physical therapists and other professions as part of a mental health treatment team. The handbook also states that psychologists frequently deal with work pressures including schedules, deadlines and overtime. Difficult clients, emotionally charged situations and other stressful situations are also common.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Psychologists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm

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