What Psychology Degree Is Best If I want to Study and Treat Depression?

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If you want a career in which you will treat depression in patients or other clients, you are likely to have plenty of job security. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), major depression is among the most common mental disorders in the U.S. and the condition takes a great toll on those affected. In 2012, 6.9 percent of adults experienced at least one major depressive episode. Psychologists and counselors, as well as other mental health staff and researchers, are needed to help those suffering from depression. How can you join the fight?

Undergraduate Studies

If you plan to pursue a career treating depression, you need formal education. To work in a psychiatric hospital or long-term care facility where you will interact with depressed individuals on a daily basis, you need some healthcare training.

This training can begin with community college classes that lead to attaining certification as a nurse’s aide. You may also choose to become a psychiatric nurse, which can be done by obtaining either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing followed by completing the certification to become an RN.

Many students pursuing a career in counseling or psychology prefer to do so from a social studies or social work stand point. If you wish to work as a psychologist or counselor, you should choose a bachelor’s program in a related field. You might choose to major in psychology with a minor in social work, or you might choose a different major altogether but complete courses in counseling and psychology as you work toward your undergraduate degree.

If your goal is to clinically treat depression from a medical standpoint, you might wish to do this by becoming a psychiatrist. To do this, you need to complete an undergraduate pre-med program.

Graduate School

Many people who treat depressed patients have advanced degrees. You can work as a counselor for people who struggle with depression by obtaining a master’s degree that meets the requirements of certification in your state of residence. Common programs include master’s of counseling psychology and master’s of social work degree programs. You can get information about accredited counseling programs from the American Psychological Association(APA).

Naturally, if you wish to treat depressed individuals as a psychiatrist, you need to attend medical school. After completing your general coursework, you will be required to complete at three-year psychiatric residency before going into private practice or getting a job as a psychiatrist at an in-patient care facility.

Some psychologists involved in the treatment of depression don’t regularly work in clinical settings. If you are interested in finding a cure for depression, you might wish to work as a research psychologist or as a research physician in a related field such as neuropsychology or neurobiology. Research that helps us understand the reasons behind depression can assist us in finding cures for what has become an epidemic in the United States.

There are many ways in which you can pursue a career to help those battling depression. Now that you’ve read about some of these options, do you think you want to pursue a job in which you treat depression?

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