Psychology is a very important field of study these days. The services of psychologists are needed in almost every sector of human existence. The field of psychology covers a very wide scope which is why it is becoming one of the most sought after professions today.
When you consider how much psychologists contribute to our lives, it is evident that they should be earning a handsome salary monthly. This is part of the motivation to work as a psychologist in South Africa, even though there are other sources of motivation.
We will be looking at psychologists’ salary in South Africa in this post. We will also consider what the job entails, the different fields under psychiatry, and the requirements to become a psychologist.
What is psychology?
Before we define who a psychologist is, it is imperative that we consider what the term psychology means. In a nutshell, psychology is the science that focuses on the study of the human mind and behavior. It usually considers thought patterns, feelings, conscious, and unconscious actions and phenomena.
Psychology is classified under social science and it desires to understand humans, individually and in groups. By their studies, they are able to establish general principles and also go ahead to research specific cases. Though this knowledge is used in assessing and treating mental problems, it is also used in proffering solutions to problems faced by different human societies.
Who is a psychologist?
In layman terms, a psychologist is a person who is a specialist in the field of psychiatry. This is a bit vague and does not cover the whole responsibilities of a psychologist. Taking a deeper look at their responsibilities, they study both normal and abnormal human processes and behaviors.
To do this they consider mental states, emotions, perception, cognitive, and social processes. They take time to experiment on how individuals relate and react to each other in different environments. These professionals are saddled with a whole lot of responsibility and so you should expect that they earn well.
How much do Psychologists earn in South Africa?
As we have discussed already in this post, there are different fields of psychology in South Africa. These different psychologists earn differently depending on the unique natures of their jobs. The most common type of psychologist in South Africa is the clinical psychologist.
The average take home for a clinical psychologist per year is R359 118. This is expected to increase with advancement in experience and expertise. The only skill that tends to pay less than this average is counseling.
Psychologists in South Africa
These professionals work with a broad range of individuals, business organizations, couples, workplace employees, and families. They handle counseling sessions, psychological assessments, and psychotherapy. Through a series of predetermined tests, they are able to study abilities, interests, and behaviors and by so doing they can understand and predict actions and explain them.
Asides working with hospitals and organizing psychotherapy sessions for individuals and couples, they could dedicate their time to community consultation. As consultants, they engage in preventative work by teaching people how to deal with problems before they arise.
They offer training to individuals on the community level as well as in private and public organizations to develop problem-solving skills. Their services are also required in forensics as they are key to the resolution of criminal and custody cases.
Fields of specialization under psychology
There are a couple of specialized fields under psychology. The ones operational in South Africa include:
- Clinical Psychologists. They usually work in public or private hospitals, providing therapeutic and diagnostic services to clients under mental and emotional stress.
- Clinical neuropsychologists. They are focused on the diagnosis and assessment of impairments that affect the brain. This leads them to evaluate how such impairments affect emotions, personality, thought patterns, and personality. After diagnosis, they are involved in the management and rehabilitation of patients.
- Child psychologists. These professionals may work in private practice or in institutions dedicated to child development. Their services are geared towards individuals below the age of 18 facing emotional and mental distress. Most of these individuals are known to have suffered trauma from sexual, psychological, and physical abuse.
- Counseling Psychologists. They provide counseling and psychotherapy sessions to couples, individuals, organizations, and people groups. Most of their clients are going through the effects of social and emotional trauma. They also offer marriage counseling, general guidance, and career counseling.
- Sports Psychologists. Their services are channeled towards sportspeople who are facing challenges with performing optimally due to several reasons. They help with personal improvement, enhancing performance, adjustment, and wellness skills, etc.
- Forensic Psychologists. They research into cases before the court to provide evidence regarding child abuse, custody disputes, and criminal behavior.
- Research psychologists. They provide answers to a variety of questions by engaging in research related to statistics, data analysis and computing, etc. Their services are employed in government departments, media, management institutes, and public opinion research bodies.
Other fields include:
- Educational psychologists
- Industrial psychologists
- Community psychologists
- Academic psychologists
Educational requirements and training
Every institution has its own set of educational requirements that must be met for an applicant to be offered provisional admission to study psychology. Generally, you are required to have excelled in mathematics and life sciences.
The first degree takes a duration of 5 years at a university. Following this is a 12-month internship at an accredited institution. It is only after this that an individual can be accepted to study at Masters Level. At this point, you can specialize in any of the fields described above.
Potential employers of Psychologists in South Africa
We have already established the fact that the services of a psychologist are in very high demand in South Africa. These are the potential employers of psychologists in South Africa:
- Colleges and universities.
- Consulting agencies
- Correctional institutions
- Religious organizations
- Private businesses and organizations
- Government agencies, SANDF
- Psychiatric hospitals (private and public)
- Community-based rehabilitation facilities.
We cannot deny the fact that psychologists are very important in our society today. They deserve the amount they earn and you could also be in their shoes if you are still in search of a career path. Good luck.