Can I become a psychologist at 40?

In this brief guide we are going to answer the question ‘’Can I become a psychologist at 40?” Many people decide to start their studies a little later, we will see if it’s possible to achieve it.

Can I become a psychologist at 40?

Yes, you can become a psychologist at 40. Of course, starting at 40 will shorten your career. But you can certainly study and practice the profession if you want to. 

Taking a university degree is an activity suitable for all ages. Whatever they say, the number doesn’t matter. If you are motivated to start a new stage and resume student life, there’s no one to stop you.

Of course, there is no magic formula when choosing a career. Very different factors come into play in this decision: vocation, interests, career opportunities, experience, etc. You are the one who best knows your possibilities and the type of training that attracts you the most.

There are many people who don’t dare to start new studies because they believe that age is a great limitation for this aspect, but the reality is that studying psychology at 40 is possible.

Studying psychology at 40 is possible, in fact, you can have a better understanding of the information you need to learn to get your degree.

Anyway, we advise you to follow these steps before making a decision.

  • Take a vocational test.
  • Decide which branch of study interests you the most.
  • Consult the offer of new degrees for this course.
  • Get in touch with a professional counselor.
  • Ask other people who have studied the same career.

What do I have to keep in mind before deciding?

Although each person is different, there are frequently asked questions. Today, the educational system evolves very quickly. Therefore, if we haven’t studied for a few years, it’s normal for us to feel disoriented or a little scared. In this sense, it can help us to be aware of some previous questions:

  • The career can be a plus in our professional life. However, it doesn’t need to be related to our work. We can study for pleasure.
  • Good handling of new technologies is vital. Virtual classrooms are a basic tool for any teacher.
  • Teaching methods: Some teachers avoid lectures and ask for more participation; others opt for traditional methods.
  • The offer of distance studies has increased in recent years. Online degrees are adapted to day-to-day obligations.
  • Tuition prices vary widely between public and private universities.
  • A good level of languages ​​is recommended to successfully pass the master’s degree.

Do people study after 40?

Yes, you’re not the only one. According to reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for 2010 enrolled approximately 3.7 million students over the age of 35. By 2021 this is expected to increase to more than 4.5 million students.

Marie Hammond, a professor of psychology at Tennessee State University, comments “It looks like a growing trend.” Hammond notes that “It is not unreasonable to see people change careers when they have spent many years working.”

Hammond believes that recognizing the differences between older students will benefit the student and the entire class. ” Programs must prepare for these students, and discover how to take advantage of their experiences ” she said.

Advantages of studying a career after 40

We will not deny it. At first you will have to go through a period of adaptation and not everything will be easy. However, studying after 30 has many more advantages than it seems.

Maturity and wisdom

Eventually, hopefully, you will bring a greater sense of maturity and wisdom to the profession, which would not happen if you were 20 years old. You are in a maturity stage. You have clearer your priorities and you value this opportunity. 

  • You put more effort into managing time and organizing tasks.
  • Work experience gives you the ability to analyze and solve problems.

Studying clinical psychology is a demanding endeavor that will often require you to know yourself well to help your clients.

The best psychologists have great self-understanding and ability to control their own behaviors. They can evaluate their competencies and use supervision well. 

Perception for customers 

Psychology is one of those careers where being older can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

Clients often want to see someone for treatment that they believe has the same or more life experience as they do.

  • Studies improve your professional profile and open new doors for you.
  • Training is a constant process that lasts throughout life.

Disadvantages of studying for a degree after 40

Despite everything, age and personal circumstances can create small problems. Being aware of this helps us to prevent them and to face them with more serenity. These are some of the most frequent handicaps:

1. The initial confusion. At first, doubts and questions will arise. Do not be discouraged!

2. Study habits. You will have to recover the schedules and study techniques.

3. The age difference with classmates. If you would like to establish relationships, it will not be a problem.

4. Day-to-day obligations. You will have to find a system to combine studies with work and family.

5.   Dealing with clients can be stressful and exhausting.

What does a psychologist do? 

When we think of a psychologist, we usually think of a person taking notes with a patient on the other side of the table. However, their functions are much broader. Broadly speaking, psychology develops its activity in three areas:

  1. Educational Psychology: It focuses on intervention in educational situations. This includes the school, socio-educational framework and special education.
  2. Clinical psychology: Develops techniques and strategies for intervention on people’s behaviors and their disorders.
  3. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Organization and optimization of human resources. 

Psychologist’s job opportunities

Are you planning to study Psychology but are you worried about job opportunities? Fortunately, it’s a discipline with a wide range of options. These are some of the most frequent.

  • Public and private health centers.
  • Health foundations.
  • Psychological cabinets.
  • Schools.
  • Research centers and university teaching.
  • Sports entities.

What do I need to study psychology?

If you consider that Psychology is a career that you would like to study, either because the area attracts you, you want to turn your life around or simply for personal development, here we will tell you what you need to have to achieve success in this adventure!

Be a good listener

And yes, a good psychologist listens a lot more than he talks. The job of a mental health professional is to analyze the mental processes that are going on in the patient’s head.

Through all that information obtained from the conversation, traumas, conflicts or diseases that the person may be experiencing can be identified and, based on this, carry out procedures or provide tools to improve their quality of life.

And this requirement to study psychology brings us to the next one, which has a lot to do with the ability to listen to people without making judgments.

Have empathy

A professional is not cut out to judge her client, who, in this case, are their patients. Respecting people’s way of thinking and feelings is perhaps the most important requirement for studying psychology.

You cannot be the type of person who criticizes others’ life. On the contrary, you must have the ability to understand the situation that led to that behavior and, from this, understand their behavior.

Being able to emotionally distance yourself and put yourself in the place of the other to understand those motivations that led him to that reality is an indispensable skill of the area.

Emotional and mental balance

How could you teach someone to swim if you don’t know it yet? Do you get the point? A person who is dedicated to Psychology is one who helps others to overcome traumas or life situations that cause them a lot of mental and emotional instability.

That’s why to be a consistent professional you must have your mind in balance. In addition, if you want to dedicate yourself to this career, one of the requirements to study it’s that you be emotionally strong, since on many occasions you will face other people’s problems that can affect you personally.

This is all! These requirements to study Psychology are the most basic and important for you to evaluate if the career is really the most suitable for your future.

Psychologist at 40? Yes, absolutely.

Considering these advantages, future professionals over 30 years of age can start to carry out a study plan, according to their needs, without the risk of wasting time or money, since a professional career will always be an investment in the future.

If you want to become a psychologist, don’t worry about your age: instead, focus on developing your skills and competencies and you will do very well.

Age is just a number that shouldn’t impede any process in your life, don’t believe that because you are that age you cannot fulfill your dreams in the way that any young person could.

Don’t be afraid to start this learning adventure given how fascinating it can be for you.

In summary, Psychology is one of the most demanding careers in recent times, especially since it’s beginning to have a great relevance in society.

By becoming a psychologist at the age of 40, you can gain a better perspective on the world and how you will help your patients.

You just have to keep in mind that you have enough capacity to do it.

Studying psychology at 40 must be a great decision for you, but with everything you have read you will surely be able to achieve the goal you have set for yourself.

“In this day and age, people work until they are 65, so you might as well be doing what you want to be doing. If I have to work another 20 years, I want to be doing something where I feel fulfilled and energized.”

Maryann Latus

Indiana State University

FAQS: Can I become a psychologist at 40?

Is it worth being a psychologist?

Being a psychologist is worth it if you really like what you do, and have a strong desire to help people.

Is 50 too old to get a PhD in psychology?

If you already have an undergraduate degree, it’s not too late to get a Ph.D in psychology.

What is the least you can make as a psychologist?

The least a psychologist can make is $ 41,830 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.

How fast can I become a psychologist?

To become a psychologist you need at least 8 years of educational training, but it can take up to 12 years depending on the postgraduate programs you decide to take.

Is Psychology a useless degree?

No, Psychology degrees are not useless. What happens is that today the great interest in mental health has made the job more competitive.

In this brief guide answered the question ‘’Can I become a psychologist at 40?” Many people decide to start their studies a little later, and we confirm that it’s possible to achieve it.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

References

Myers, D.G. and DeWall, C. N. (2018) Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

Tracey, M. D. (2020). Older and wiser. Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.apa.org website: https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2006/03/wiser

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