Category:Education, Law, Government, Social and Community Services

About the job

Nature of work:

Psychologists examine the behaviour of children and adults; assess and diagnose psychological and emotional disorders; and provide consultation and therapy. They counsel individuals, groups, and organizations to improve physical and mental health and to achieve better personal, social, and work-related development and adjustment. They teach and apply psychological theory and principles regarding behaviour and mental processes such as learning, memory, perception, and human development. They may also design, conduct, and communicate the results of psychological research or evaluation projects. Psychologists work in private practice or in institutions such as clinics, correctional facilities, hospitals, mental health facilities, rehabilitation centres, community service organizations, businesses, schools and universities, and government and private research agencies.

Psychologists may specialize in applied psychology or experimental research. Sub-specialties include behavioural psychology, child psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, educational and school psychology, industrial psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, or sports psychology.

Clinical psychologists interview patients; give diagnostic tests; provide individual, family and group psychotherapy; and design and implement programs to modify behaviour. Counselling psychologists provide treatment to improve physical and mental health. School psychologists work with students, teachers, parents, and administrators to resolve students' learning and behaviour problems. Experimental psychologists investigate aspects of human and animal activity to understand and explain behaviour. Industrial/organizational psychologists focus on personnel selection, job satisfaction, and workplace performance.


To work in this field, you should be mature, patient, and interested in helping others. You must have excellent oral and written communication skills. Excellent listening and critical thinking skills, an understanding of human behaviour, and awareness of diversities are also important.

A master s degree in psychology is required to work as a psychologist in Nova Scotia, but other provinces may require a doctoral degree in psychology. A period of supervised practical experience is required in most jurisdictions and registration with a regulatory body is required in all provinces.

Other considerations:

There has been a noticeable increase in psychologists working in the private sector in the past few years. Self-employment is common for this occupation.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is above average. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 550, and so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next five years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older (31%), retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Psychologists may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are most typically permanent positions. Also, a fair portion (30%) of the workforce is self-employed, and so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 62% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $78,880. The median income for the occupation overall was $60,127
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

Estimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014 Estimated hourly earnings in 2013
(learn more)
Around Average
Percent employed full-time: 59.6 %
Percent self employed:29.8 %
Where will I likely work?
Area of Employment% Employed
Southern Region9.0
Northern Region14.6
Cape Breton20.2
Industry of Employment% Employed
Public Administration6.4
Educational Services14.9
Health Care and Social Assistance76.6
What are the workers like?
Age% Employed
Gender% Employed
Education% Employed
Less than high school graduation certificate0.0
High school graduation certificate or equivalent0.0
Trades certificate or diploma0.0
Non-university certificate or diploma0.0
University certificate or diploma below bachelor0.0
University bachelor's degree12.4
University post graduate degrees87.6
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Title and Practice:This occupation is regulated in Nova Scotia. Certification attests that the holder has met provincial requirements for the occupation. A certificate is required to work in this occupation.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology
5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 455
Halifax, NS B3H 1Y6
(902) 423-2238
(902) 423-0058
Useful contacts:
Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia
1657 Barrington Street, Suite 417
Halifax, NS B3J 2A1
Tel: (902) 422-9183
Fax: (902) 462-9801
Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology
455 - 5991 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, NS B3H 1Y6
Tel: (902) 423-2238
Fax: (902) 423-0058
Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
Tel: (613) 237-2144
Fax: (613) 237-1674
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Educational psychology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of psychology to the study of the behaviour of individuals in the roles of teacher and learner, the nature and effects of learning environments, and the psychological effects of methods, resources, organization and non-school experience on the educational process. These programs include courses in learning theory, human growth and development, research methods, and psychological evaluation.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
Program Name:Psychology - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific study of individual and collective behaviour, the physical and environmental bases of behaviour, and the analysis and treatment of behaviour problems and disorders. These programs include courses in the principles of the various subfields of psychology, research methods, and psychological assessment and testing methods.
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Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
Program Name:School psychology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply clinical and counselling psychology principles to the diagnosis and treatment of student behavioural problems. These programs include courses in child and/or adolescent development; learning theory; testing, observation and other procedures for assessing educational, personality, intelligence and motor skill development; therapeutic intervention strategies for students and families; identification and classification of disabilities and disorders affecting learning; school psychological services planning; supervised counselling practice; ethical standards; and applicable regulations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117