Should I study Psychology in Singapore?
Do you have a strong desire to understand why your family and friends act a certain way, or why you think and feel differently from others? Are you someone who is inclined to reach out to people when they are in difficult situations or emotional distress?
Studying Psychology can provide the answers to your questions and equip you with the right skills to approach people in need!
Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour. It comprises several major disciplines such as social psychology, developmental psychology, and health psychology among others.
Social Psychology is about learning how social influences affect the way we think and feel and how they can lead us to certain actions. This field of study answers many of our questions regarding relationships, including why Taylor Swift gets older… but Jake Gyllenhaal’s lovers stay her age!
Developmental Psychology studies the lifespan of an individual, to understand how and why people change throughout life. This field of Psychology touches on areas like why children from broken families may struggle more in adulthood.
Health Psychology uncovers how our biological, psychological, and social factors affect each other and influence our health – people know smoking is bad for their health, but why do they continue doing it, and how do we stop it?
These are just a few Psychology fields out of many others – do they pique your interest so far?
There are four common Psychologist jobs in Singapore, namely Counselling Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Educational Psychologist, and Researching Psychologist.
According to the National Council of Social Service, the starting salary of an Associate Psychologist is around $3,400 and can steadily rise to about $4,200 or in some cases, higher. As your career advances to a Chief or Director level, you can be earning around $8,100 to $10,200 and beyond.
Counselling Psychologists’ role is also to assess their patients and develop and recommend suitable therapy programmes like Clinical Psychologists, but they handle a slightly different group of individuals.
Counselling Psychologists are approached when one needs help with dealing with crises, alleviating distress, or improving mental wellbeing. Unlike Clinical Psychologists, their patients usually do not suffer from serious mental disorders.
The population counselling psychologists work with includes various clients, ranging from children, couples, and families to organisations.
Clinical Psychologists often engage individuals who struggle with psychopathologies like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
The job scope of clinical psychologists includes assessing their clients through various methods like psychometric tests or observations and recommending suitable interventions. They also develop and execute psychotherapy programmes.
Educational Psychologists work with teachers, parents, and caregivers to deal with educational problems faced by students such as learning difficulties, special needs, and social or emotional problems that may affect their learning.
Their job responsibilities include conducting psychological assessments on students and providing interventions to support their learning and growth.
Just like the name suggests, Research Psychologists do research. They test hypotheses to discover causes of phenomena, what interventions to be implemented, how effective these interventions are, and more.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology is not enough for one to become a Psychologist. Minimally, you will need a Master’s Degree, along with other requirements, like fulfilling 1,000 hours of supervised practice.
A Psychology degree is very versatile and opens many doors aside from jobs directly related to Psychology. Common career pathways of Psychology students after graduation are Human Resource and Marketing.
Unfortunately, you cannot. As Psychiatrists are licensed doctors that can prescribe medicine, a medical degree is required.
While Psychology is focused on understanding the individual, Sociology studies the society and looks into macro-level issues like poverty and unemployment.
Due to recent events, the nation is starting to realise that psychological health is as important as physical health. The demand for counsellors and psychologists is increasing, with mental health-related organisations reporting a 20% increase in new cases compared to pre-pandemic years.
It may not be among the highest-paying jobs, but a career in Psychology can be rewarding when you find yourself able to help others get out of distressing situations and reach their potential.
If you are planning to take a degree in Psychology, it would be helpful to look into the different requirements and pre-requisites of each school.
Alternatively, if you are not ready to commit to a degree, there are also other Psychology diplomas and courses you can explore.
From what I know, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore Management University (SMU) have a similar system where we are required to take modules from different Social Science disciplines in our first year before declaring our major. I find this helpful as it allows us to get a feel of the study and be clearer on the demands of each major before we fully commit.
Another good thing about SMU is that they offer all their students the option to take a double major. As someone who is always in two minds about a career in Psychology, taking a second major in Marketing provides me with a wider range of choices after I graduate.
It may be discouraging at times when doing well does not guarantee a good grade because the bell curve is extremely competitive. For example, I could score A+ in all my components and my final grade would still just be an A, and lacking in any component could cause my grade to easily drop to a B+.
Before studying Psychology, I think that it is important to know that being a Psychologist is not only about being well-versed in the subject. It is important to know that they are required to be mentally strong to be able to handle the cases at work and protect their own mental health.
Additionally, a highly competitive environment may not be unique to this major or school, and no matter what or where you end up studying, don’t beat yourself up over your grades when they do not turn out ideally. Think of the sacrifices and hard work you have put in and what you have learned to overcome along the way, and be proud of yourself.
Psychology is an important field of study that contributes to our health and wellbeing. With trends pointing to an increase in demand for Psychology professionals, it is truly an opportunistic time for those interested in this field.