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Psychologist

Psychologists assess, diagnose and treat psychological, emotional and behavioural disorders. They research, develop and apply theories about relational behaviour and mental processes. They also teach and consult.

Also Known As

Clinical Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Industrial Psychologist, Organizational Psychologist, Rehabilitation Services Practitioner, Research Psychologist, Social Scientist, Therapist, Research Scientist, Counsellor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Psychologists (4151) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Psychologists (E021) 
  • 2011 NOC: Psychologists (4151) 
  • 2016 NOC: Psychologists (4151) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Psychologists
2006 NOC : 4151

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

SOCIAL

Interest in mentoring in order to counsel clients and provide therapy; in helping clients manage physical illness and disorders, and in offering mediation services

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to formulate hypotheses and experimental designs, conduct studies and publish research papers, educational texts and articles; and to plan intervention programs and conduct program evaluation

METHODICAL

Interest in reviewing literature and administering psychological tests

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Psychologists study and manage the way humans behave. Their work can involve individuals, families or large groups (such as government or corporations). The field is broad and they usually specialize in one area.

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat emotions or adjustment related problems. They may treat children, adults, families or groups. They may assess and treat the psychological factors linked to physical health problems. They may use various methods to assess problems and to design, carry out and evaluate treatment programs. They may specialize in areas such as:

  • adults or children
  • health
  • forensics
  • neuropsychology

Clinical psychologists spend a lot of their time in direct contact with clients. They work in hospitals, clinics, mental health facilities, prisons or private practice.

Counselling psychologists provide one-on-one, group or family counselling services. They spend a lot of their time directly with clients. Some may do consulting work for schools, social service agencies and businesses. Others may work in clinics, community agencies, schools, rehabilitation centres or private practice.

School psychologists assess and treat children who have educational, vocational and emotional problems. They may provide consulting services related to managing classrooms. They work for school boards or in private practice.

Industrial or organizational psychologists find solutions for problems in business and industry. For example, they may focus on:

  • choosing and placing personnel
  • training and developing staff
  • managing organizational growth and change
  • measuring and assessing performance
  • improving quality of work life
  • studying consumer psychology
  • studying human factors psychology

Some large companies have psychologists on staff. Most hire them as consultants.

Research or experimental psychologists conduct research in specific areas (such as human development, psychopathology, social psychology, neuroscience, perception, motivation, emotion, learning, language or personality). They may observe and interview people to understand the way they behave. They may work in labs and focus on relationships. Or they may study the way animals behave.

Research psychologists tend to work for colleges or universities. They may also work for government departments or private research agencies.

Psychologists work in many other areas, including forensic psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, rehabilitation psychology and sport psychology.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Research psychologists spend most of their time in offices and labs. Others may work in different settings. Some travel to several locations (for example, school to school).

Hours of work vary depending on many factors such as the needs of clients. Work hours may combine regular office hours with some evenings and weekends.

Traits & Skills
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Those who work directly with people need to possess:

  • a real interest in helping others
  • emotional maturity and stability
  • empathy
  • excellent communication skills
  • a willingness to keep learning new approaches
  • flexibility

They should enjoy:

  • helping people
  • pulling information together
  • creative problem solving
  • using a step-by-step approach to literary research
  • translating research and theories into practice
  • conducting psychological tests
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

In Alberta, the minimum education requirement for psychologists is a master's degree. It must include the coursework required to register with the College of Alberta Psychologists. It may be a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Counselling (MC), Master of Science (M.Sc.) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree as long as it includes the courses required to be a Registered Psychologist.

In most provinces (and American states), a psychologist must have at least a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD or EdD) in a relevant aspect of psychology. Most clinical psychologists have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Those who specialize in fields such as clinical neuropsychology may have further training.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Psychologist

Psychologists assess, diagnose, treat, guide, and support persons or groups of persons to enhance development, effective living and quality of life or to prevent, remedy or ameliorate mental, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and interpersonal difficulties; and teach, supervise or consult in the practice of psychology.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Psychologists Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Registered members, who are authorized by the College, provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only registered members may call themselves psychologists.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Psychologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Psychologists work in:

  • mental health clinics
  • correctional facilities
  • hospitals
  • private practices
  • rehab centres
  • schools
  • business and industrial settings
  • post-secondary institutions

More and more, psychologists work in program development and evaluation, community consulting and administering social services and mental health services provided by government and community agencies.

With experience or further education, psychologists may administer programs or teach at the post-secondary level.

In Alberta, 77% of people employed as psychologists work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the population.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 4151: Psychologists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 94 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

In general, psychologists in the private sector earn more than those who work in other sectors. A suggested fee schedule for private practice can be found on the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta (PAA) website.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Psychologists

2016 NOC : 4151
Average Wage
$48.97
Per Hour
Average Salary
$85,499.00
Per Year
Average Hours
33.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4151 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $29.20 $46.27 $36.64 $35.48
Overall $32.88 $62.01 $48.97 $48.36
Top $36.22 $66.63 $54.07 $53.36

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

51%
51%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

11%
11%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Psychological Association website: www.cpa.ca

College of Alberta Psychologists website: www.cap.ab.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

Psychologists' Association of Alberta website: www.psychologistsassociation.ab.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 19, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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