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Psychologist

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

Also Known As

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

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

  • 4151: Psychologists

2006 NOC-S

  • E021: Psychologists

2011 NOC

  • 4151: Psychologists

2016 NOC

  • 4151: Psychologists

2021 NOC

  • 31200: Psychologists

2023 OaSIS

  • 31200.00: Psychologists
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Psychologists study and manage the way humans behave. They develop, use, score, and interpret results of tests that look at personality and intellectual functions. Such tests often form the foundation of a mental-health diagnosis and treatment. Their work can involve individuals, families, or large groups, such as government or corporations. Because of the academic nature of their education, psychologists are trained to do research and develop /evaluate programs. The field is broad, and they usually specialize in one area.

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat problems related to emotions and adjustment. They may treat children, adults, families, or groups. They may assess and treat 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 and rehabilitation services
  • Forensics
  • Neuropsychology (these psychologists may call themselves “clinical neuropsychologists” or “neuropsychologists”)

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 time in direct contact with clients. Some do consulting work for schools, social service agencies, and businesses. Others work in clinics, community agencies, schools, rehabilitation centres, or private practice.

School psychologists assess and treat children and young adults who have educational, vocational, and emotional problems. They may provide consulting services related to managing classrooms or providing learning assistance to students. They work for school boards, learning assistance centres in colleges or universities, 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. These can include 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, using scientific methods to gather data. They may work in labs and focus on relationships through experiments and questionnaires. 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, such as:

  • Forensic psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Rehabilitation psychology
  • Sports psychology
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Research psychologists spend most of their time in offices and labs. Others work in different settings, depending on their specialty. Some travel to several locations, such as school to school.

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

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Those who work directly with people need:

  • An interest in helping others
  • Emotional maturity and stability
  • Empathy
  • An objective, non-judgmental attitude
  • Communication skills
  • A willingness to keep learning new approaches to their work
  • Flexibility

They should enjoy:

  • Helping people
  • Pulling information together
  • Solving problems creatively
  • Using a step-by-step approach to research
  • Translating research and theories into practice
  • Conducting psychological tests
  • Learning continuously

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Psychologists

2016 NOC: 4151

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 27 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 19, 2021 and Jun 15, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Provincial or territorial Psychologist's Certificate of Registration
Attention to detail
Tasks: Provide therapy
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Construction Specialization: Judgement
Construction Specialization: Values and ethics
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Construction Specialization: Excellent oral communication
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • 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. Regardless of the specific degree, it must include the specific courses required to work as a Registered Psychologist.

In most other 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.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

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 Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Psychologist

Psychologists assess and diagnose challenges in thinking, feeling, and behaving. They develop and evaluate programs to help individuals, groups, or communities manage these challenges. They research, develop, and apply theories about relational behaviour and mental processes. They also teach, consult, and supervise.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf], Health Professions Restricted Activity Regulation [pdf], and Psychologists Profession Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) is mandatory. Only registered members may provide restricted activities specified in the Regulations. This includes those who:

  • 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
  • Supervise registered members who provide services to the public
  • Call themselves psychologists or registered psychologists

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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 government and community social and mental-health services.

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

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 4151: Psychologists occupational group, 81.3% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 4151: Psychologists occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 2% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 66 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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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
$51.30
Per Hour
Average Salary
$89,327.00
Per Year
Average Hours
33.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 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.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.36 $54.49 $38.31 $37.42
Overall $32.53 $62.54 $51.30 $49.54
Top $37.69 $70.51 $55.63 $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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
35%
35%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
34%
34%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
10%
10%
Vacancy Rate
4%
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 Mar 31, 2024

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 31, 2024. 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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