Have you ever been intrigued by psychological theories and how they influence human behavior? Perhaps assisting people as a profession has always piqued your interest. If that’s the case, you’ve undoubtedly considered becoming a psychologist.
It’s crucial to understand that earning a psychology degree does not automatically qualify you to work as a psychologist. In fact, you will require more training and a postgraduate degree. Furthermore, the procedure may alter depending on the type of psychology.
So, how are you going to get to the finish line and keep your title? Here’s how to become a psychologist in Malaysia after completing SPM.
In Malaysia, a psychologist is a licensed professional.
Before we go over the steps of becoming a psychologist, it’s important to understand the state of the psychology profession in Malaysia.
The name “psychologist” is restricted by legislation in most countries where psychology is a well-established profession (e.g., Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore). This means that you can’t call yourself a psychologist unless you have the necessary qualifications and a license to practice.
However, in Malaysia, the title “psychologist” is not yet regulated, which implies that anyone with some psychological training can call oneself a psychologist. Nonetheless, most people won’t use the phrase until they’ve completed a master’s degree in a certain field of study.
In clinical psychology, however, this is not the case. The Allied Health Professions Act of 2016 (AHPA) makes it illegal for anyone to call themselves a “registered clinical psychologist” unless they are registered with the Malaysian Allied Health Professions Council and have a practising certificate.
In light of this, below are the steps to becoming a psychologist in Malaysia.
Step 1: Complete the SPM requirement
To pursue a degree in psychology, you must have a credit in mathematics and science, as well as a pass in English at the SPM level.
If you have a minimum of 3Cs and pass in Mathematics and Science, you can finish a Diploma in Psychology instead.
Step 2: Complete a foundation or pre-university program.
You’ll need to attend a pre-university course (e.g. A Levels, STPM, etc.) or a foundation programme after passing SPM with the minimum prerequisites. Both a Foundation in Arts and a Foundation in Science will suffice.
You can pursue a degree in psychology by combining this qualification with your SPM.
Step 3: Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
A psychology degree will give you a firm foundation in essential psychological ideas as well as exposure to a variety of topics in both basic and applied psychology. You’ll gain a solid scientific foundation, learn how to conduct fundamental research, apply ethical concepts, and improve your communication and critical thinking abilities.
The majority of psychology degrees take three years to complete.
You can work in a variety of fields after earning a psychology degree, including human resources, marketing, public relations, advertising, and sales.
However, if you want to be a psychologist, you’ll need further education and training.
Step #4: Earn a master’s degree in a specialized subject.
You’ll need a master’s degree to start your career as a psychologist. This is where you can specialize in a discipline of psychology (e.g., clinical psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, sports psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and so on) and graduate with advanced skill and knowledge expertise.
In Malaysia, most master’s degrees take two years to complete and include academic courses, practicum/internships, and a research thesis.
Important Note: Not all master’s degree programs have the same entry criteria. For example, a Master’s of Clinical Psychology requires you to pass an interview in addition to having great marks. Other specialisations do not require this criterion.
A PhD in psychology is advised if you want to start your own private practice providing psychology services to clients or engage in research and academia.
Step #5: Register
After you’ve obtained your postgraduate credentials, you’ll need to register with the appropriate organizations (if available). This demonstrates to others that you are fully qualified to practice psychology.
Clinical psychologists must be registered with the Malaysian Allied Health Professions Council and hold a valid practice certificate. For added legitimacy and endorsement, most clinical psychologists in Malaysia join the Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychology.
You must register with the Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia to work as a counsellor. Counsellors that give counseling services in places like schools, universities, community centers, and corporations are regulated by this group.
There are currently no necessary registration or licensing requirements for other psychology specialisations.
We hope this has provided you with a better understanding of your journey to becoming a psychologist following SPM. Although there will be obstacles along the way, rest assured that these stumbling blocks will teach you the devotion, tenacity, and integrity necessary of a psychologist.