Self Care

How to become a psychology teacher

April 20, 2021

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Psychology teachers generally possess a keen interest in human behavior and enjoy working with students. The majority of psychology teachers usually work in high schools, while some lecture at graduate-level institutions such as colleges and universities. Psychology professors who work at higher education institutions such as universities are usually also fully licensed psychologists. However, whether you’re planning to teach at the high school or college level, working as a psychology teacher can be an extremely rewarding career. 

In this article, we have teamed up with experts from job aggregator Jooble to take a closer look at what it takes to become a psychology teacher and the various levels of education and certifications required.

What exactly does a psychology teacher do?

Psychology teachers teach psychology theory as well as engage their students in practical psychological instruction, educating their pupils on basic human psychological behavior, and describing various mental disorders, therapies, and treatments. Depending on the grade level or area of study, the degree and depth of instruction will vary. Professors or doctors in psychology with a PsyD or PhD degree in Psychology may give instruction in psychology at universities, colleges, community colleges, or vocational institutions.

Some of the general responsibilities of a psychology teacher include:

  • Creating a curriculum 
  • Developing lesson plans 
  • Grading papers and tests
  • Advising/mentoring students
  • Keeping current with the latest developments in psychology
  • Publishing in academic journals

Who employs psychology teachers?

Psychology teachers are employed at different educational levels, including:

  • High school
  • College-level
  • Online

1. High school 

Many psychology teachers work in public or private high schools, teaching students the fundamentals of psychology, including basic disorders. Working after hours is often required to prepare lessons and grade papers.

2. College-level 

Colleges and universities employ teachers with PsyD or PhD degrees in Psychology. College-level psychology teachers may undertake research in addition to teaching a wide range of in-depth courses in psychology. Professors of psychology frequently work with patients as clinical psychologists or counselors. Although they spend most of their time teaching, they may also carry out clinical research or publish academic papers on their specialty subjects. 

College-level psychology teachers may teach at:

  • Vocational schools
  • Community colleges
  • Universities and colleges
A group of people sitting in a lecture hallDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

3. Online teaching

Psychology teachers can also offer online courses to high school or college students in a virtual learning environment. They might concentrate on a particular field of psychology or provide teaching on more general psychology topics. Online psychology instructors create lesson plans and curricula similar to traditional formats of instruction.

The qualifications needed to become a psychology teacher

If you're thinking of pursuing a career as a psychology teacher, the following education and qualifications are required:

1. Obtaining a bachelor's degree

You can obtain a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in psychology degree, which is a typical major offered at many colleges and universities. Although both provide excellent training in psychology, students who want to teach or do research in this field frequently choose to complete a Bachelor of Science degree. 

2. Completing a student teaching program

The majority of undergraduate degrees involve a student teaching program. Learning best practices for teaching psychology to students gives you the necessary practical experience to teach in a classroom. To find out more about the requirements for student teachers, consult with your college advisor.

3. Obtaining a master's degree

To teach psychology at the college level, many colleges require a master's degree from their applicants. More in-depth psychology courses are included in the two-year curriculum. High school psychology teachers may also benefit from obtaining a master's degree as it may boost their career prospects as well as increase their earning potential.

4. Licensing requirements

Although the qualifications for becoming a high school psychology teacher differ from state to state, all states require a teaching license after graduating. However, teaching certification may not always be required to teach in private schools, despite it being required for public schools. When instructing at the college or university level, there is no need for state licensing.

5. Getting experience

One of the best ways to obtain experience is to inquire about teaching positions at organizations that interest you. Depending on the staffing and resources of the institution, some may ask you to teach classes in social sciences besides psychology. Consider participating in extracurricular activities or summer school programs to increase your experience, especially during your first few years of teaching.

6. Consider joining professional associations

There are numerous professional organizations for psychology teachers, and these groups are a fantastic opportunity to network with others, participate in conferences, and stay informed regarding the latest developments in the field of psychology.

7. Furthering your education

Consider pursuing a PhD in Psychology after receiving your bachelor's and master's degrees. This can improve your prospects of teaching at the graduate level as well as pursuing other research and academic options in this field. 

The average salary of a psychology teacher

A college or university professor makes an average of $64,000 per year compared to a high school psychology teacher's average salary of $46,000. The location, amount of education, and type of learning institution will affect the level of annual salary earned.

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