Canada’s Best Jobs 2014: Psychologist

A personal trainer for the brain

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psychologist

A team of psychologists consulting at a family counseling centre. (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star/Getty)

Median Salary: $77,875
Change in salary (2007–2013): +18%
Total employees: 10,700

Just like many aspects of the healthcare industry, you have to travel a long road of qualifications in order to become a certified psychologist in Canada. Once you jump through all the hoops though, a well-paying job focused on helping people become their best selves awaits you.

How to qualify: To practice psychology, you’ll need an undergraduate and a Master’s degree, as well as your Ph. D. Doctoral programs in psychology can also be specialized (for example, Forbes studied clinical psychology). The accreditation process varies by province and your Ph.D. program, as you have to register with the provincial body that oversees psychology in your area of residence in order to be a licensed psychologist. Prior to being licensed, most provinces require psychologists to complete a period of supervised workplace experience, as well as an ethics exam.

Money: A deciding factor for income amongst psychologists in Canada may be whether they choose to work at an institution (such as a hospital, for example) or work in a private practice. This is according to the experience of Dr. Lindsey Forbes, who has her own clinical psychology practice in London, Ont. Institutional psychologists normally can expect to make around $100,000, she says, while those in private practice can fetch anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 per year. Each province also has different guidelines for the hourly rates that psychologists can charge, and each psychologist sets their own rate. The recommended rate in Ontario, for example, is $225 per hour, while the Psychologists Association of Alberta recommends $180 an hour.

Outlook: According to Employment and Social Development Canada, the job prospect outlook for psychologists is expected to be good until at least 2020. Their most recent job outlook study states that there will be a combined 77,000 job postings between 2011 and 2020 for psychologists, social workers, counsellors, clergy and probation officers, and just 69,000 job seekers in these areas in total.

What it’s Like: Forbes says strong interpersonal skills and empathy for others are two important attributes for psychologists. She also notes that while psychology is often seen as a form of treatment, it can also be used to empower clients—for example, she concentrates primarily on sports psychology and in educational assessments to help kids with anxiety and learning disabilities. “Psychologists are not necessarily just there to treat dysfunction or help people who are just really struggling,” says Forbes. “Part of what I do is to enhance performance, to really take people who might be functioning well and help them to get to the next level so they can perform at their very best.”

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