Psychologists

Unit Group 4151

Skill Type: Occupations in Social Science, Education, Government Service and Religion

Type of work

Psychologists assess and diagnose behavioural, emotional and cognitive disorders, counsel clients, provide therapy and research and apply theory relating to behaviour and mental processes. Psychologists help clients work toward the maintenance and enhancement of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and interpersonal functioning.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • clinical psychologist
  • experimental psychologist
  • psychological associate
  • psychologist
  • research psychologist

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are good. These prospects apply only to individuals who meet the requirements of theOrdre des psychologues du Québec (see Training section).

(Update: February 2013)

Over the past few years, the number of psychologists has risen sharply. This rise is primarily attributable to the public's much greater sensitivity to social needs: aging population, mental health, stress, personal growth, home support, dropping out of school, behavioural problems, pathological gambling, homelessness, violence, suicide, exclusion, etc. This trend toward sharp employment growth should be maintained over the next few years.

Sources of employment

Openings will arise mainly from the need to replace psychologists who will be retiring, but also from employment increase. In fact, the average age of psychologists is considerably higher than in the work force as a whole. The proportion of psychologists aged 55 and over in 2006 was clearly higher than that of all occupations (26% compared with 15%, according to census data). Turnover is very low, although, with the appropriate training, experience in this occupation can lead to promotions to management positions and can open the way to positions in many occupations: family mediator (see 4153), college instructor (see 4131), university professor (see 4121), guidance counsellor (see 4143), employment counsellor (see 4213), management consultant (see 1122), specialist in human resources (see 1121), etc.

Labour pool

These openings will be accessible to people who meet the requirements of theOrdre des psychologues du Québec (see the Training section). Few positions will be filled by unemployed experienced psychologists, since there is virtually no unemployment in this occupation. e. Although the percentage of immigrants in this occupation in 2006 was lower than in all occupations (7% compared with 12%), positions are accessible to newcomers. This percentage could increase over the coming years, since the Ordre has teamed up with the University of Sherbrooke to implement a retraining program for candidates who earned their degrees abroad.

Despite a good employment growth rate, this occupation appears to be attracting more candidates than there are openings. In this regard, it should first be noted that the Bachelor's program in psychology has limited quotas. Consequently, a large number of people attracted by this occupation are unable to obtain university education. In addition, barely one-quarter of graduates with a Bachelor's in psychology subsequently earn a Master's or a PhD in psychology, even though this is mandatory to become a member of the Order and enter this profession. According to data from the Quebec Department of Education, Recreation and Sport's Relance survey, the placement rate in related employment of graduates with Master's degree or with a PhD in psychology is very good, and their unemployment rate is low.

On the other hand, the situation is very different for the three-quarters of graduates with a Bachelor's in psychology who do not go on to obtain a Master's or a professional doctorate in psychology. The placement rate in related employment of those going straight onto the labour market is very low (less than half). Moreover, between 30% and 40% of those considering finding a job in their field end up in technical-level jobs (primarily community and social service worker positions, see 4212). Finally, a large number of them decide to continue their studies in other disciplines.

In 2006, the Office des professions du Québec increased from a master's degree to a professional doctorate the academic requirement forOrdre des psychologues du Québec membership. Consequently, universities no longer accept new master's students (except in research). Master's programs have been replaced with new professional doctorate programs. That change is reflected in data from the Department of Education, Recreation and Sport. The number of master's students and graduates in psychology decreased respectively 65% and 30% between 2000 and 2008. Inversely, the number of students and graduates in doctorate programs doubled over the same period.

The requirements of the order are reflected not only in the Relance survey but also in the Census data. Approximately 88% of psychologists had post-graduate credentials in 2006. This occupation had the second highest proportion of master's degree and doctorate holders among the 520 occupations inventoried in Job Futures Quebec.

Industries

According to census data, in 2006 approximately 75% of psychologists worked in the health care and social assistance sector, primarily in Offices of Psychologists (43%), but also in hospitals (14%) and local community service centres (CLSCs, 8%). Others worked in education services (18%).

Demand for the services offered by psychologists seems to be much greater in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. In fact, in 2006 there were proportionally more than twice as many psychologists in Quebec as in the other provinces.

Trends

Trends in employment in this occupation depend on demand for the services provided by psychologists and government spending, but the influence of these factors depends on the area of intervention.

Health care and social assistance

In the health care and social assistance sector, demand for the services provided by psychologists is constantly growing. This increase stems from numerous factors: aging population, mental health, stress, personal growth, home support, pathological gambling, homelessness, violence, suicide, exclusion, etc. Even though these dynamics have mostly long been present in society, the public is increasingly sensitized to these issues and therefore demands more by way of concrete intervention.

Owing to government budget cutbacks, public institutions have been unable in the 1990s to hire psychologists in sufficient numbers to meet the growing demand. Thus, although employment increased to a certain extent in hospitals and somewhat more in local community service centres (CLSCs), growth was largely concentrated in private practice, where there were three times as many psychologists in 2006 as there were in 1991, according to census data. The coverage of psychological care by many insurance companies has certainly contributed to this strong growth.

Growth has been more evenly distributed since the turn of the century, increases in government spending in the health care and social assistance sector have resulted in a higher growth than in the past in public institutions, according to data fromOrdre des psychologues du Québec. The more recent trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

Education

Over the 90s, psychologists were hard hit by budget cutbacks in the education sector. In fact, since the number of teachers is usually established on the basis of student enrolment, educational institutions had to severely restrict hiring and even sometimes abolish positions in non-teaching occupations, such as this one. As a result of the serious problems experienced by young people in schools (eg, dropping out, difficulties with adjusting and learning, attention deficit, family breakdown, violence, and suicide), the Quebec Department of Education authorized thereafter the creation of additional positions in non-teaching occupations, including school psychologists. The number of psychologists employed by school boards increased by nearly 20% between 1999-2000 and 2008-2009, according to data from the MELS school board management indicators, still much less sharply than the other non-teaching occupations (over 75%).

The outlook is slightly brighter for the next few years. Growing concern about the school dropout rate and school performance is pushing up the demand for services for students with learning difficulties, such as potential dropouts, students in special programs, in special education or arriving in special classes for newcomers. Given these factors, we can expect some growth in the number of psychologists working in the education sector over the coming years. However, this growth is expected to be significantly lower than in the health and social services sector.

Interventions in industry

Interventions in industry, generally within the framework of employee assistance programs (EAP) are on the rise. But, owing to the relatively small number of psychologists in industry, this trend will have only a slight impact on overall employment trends in this occupation.

Other trends

Lastly, the passage in 2009 of Bill 21 on modernization of professional practices in mental health and human relations could significantly benefit members of professional corporations, such as psychologists, social workers and educational counsellors, to the detriment of occupations not governed by the corporations, such as social and community workers, social service workers and special-education teachers, by limiting currently unregulated practices to corporation members. That being said, discussions are ongoing to determine whether some of these activities could be delegated to those with a college diploma (DEC) and if so, under what conditions.

This Law is also designed to regulate the practice of psychotherapy. No regulations prevented a person from using the title of psychotherapist or practising psychotherapy. Since all the provisions of this Act are now in force, this legislation limits the title and practice of psychotherapy to members of some professional corporations and those who hold a psychotherapist's permit issued by the Ordre professionnel des psychologues du Québec. This change can only enhance employment in this occupation.

Considering all the trends, the number of psychologists should rise sharply over the next few years.

Employment characteristics

The precarious job situation of a large number of members of this occupation is reflected in the data presented in the "Characteristics" section of the "Statistics". Thus, the average employment income figure ($55,099) concerns only the 48% of members of this occupation who worked full-time full-year in 2005. In contrast, the average employment income of those who did not work full-time full-year was $32,553. According to the census data, women held about 75% of the jobs in this occupation in 2006, a significantly higher proportion than in 1991 (63%). This percentage should prevail at the very least over the next few years, because they represent between 70% and 80% of graduates in the Master's and in the PhD's programs in psychology. Reflecting the importance of private practice, in 2006 the proportion of self-employed workers was almost four times higher in this occupation (40%) than in the work force as a whole (11%).

Education and Training

To enter this occupation, it is generally necessary to be a member of theOrdre des psychologues du Québec. Indeed, membership in the Order is mandatory to use the title of psychologist, or a title, abbreviation or initials suggestive of professional standing. Ordre admission requirements are described on its website:

To become a member of the Order, it is usually necessary to:

  • hold a Master's degree or doctorate in psychology
  • pass a course on professional ethics offered or deemed equivalent by the Order
  • have appropriate knowledge of French

Applications for admission submitted by candidates holding psychology degrees from outside Quebec must be reviewed for equivalency by the Order.

Universities no longer accept new master's students (except in research). Master's programs have been replaced with new professional doctorate programs. During the transition, master's graduates will still be able to join the Ordre. In addition, the Ordre will continue to review training equivalence requests from candidates who studied outside Canada based on equivalence to a master's degree, not a doctorate.

The Ordre, in partnership with Université de Sherbrooke and the Department of Immigration and Cultural Communities, developed a master's program in clinical psychology aimed at making it easier for psychologists who have immigrated to Quebec to join the Ordre. See (french only): Diplôme de 3e cycle en psychologie clinique. The Order offers continuing education activities.

Useful References

Important Considerations

In view of the strong growth in social needs and the government's health care priorities, the number of psychologists should increase sharply over the next few years.

This occupation appears to be attracting more candidates than there are openings. who do not go on to obtain a Master's in psychology. The placement rate in related employment of graduates with a Bachelor's in psychology going straight onto the labour market is very low (less than half). However, the placement rate in related employment of graduates with Master's degree or with a PhD in psychology is very good, and their unemployment rate is low.

In 2006, the Office des professions du Québec increased from a master's degree to a professional doctorate the academic requirement for Ordre des psychologues du Québec membership.

Statistics 4151 - Psychologists

Main Labour Market Indicators

Main Labour Market Indicators Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Employment, average 2009-2011 7,550 3,905,700
EI Claimants in 2011 10 92,650
Average Annual Growth Rate 2012-2016 2.2% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2012-2016 150 27,050
Annual Attrition 2012-2016 250 72,750
Total Annual Needs 2012-2016 400 99,800

Employment Distribution by Gender

Employment Distribution by Gender Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Males 25.4% 52.7%
Females 74.6% 47.3%

Employment Distribution by Age

Employment Distribution by Age Unit Group 4151 All occupations
15 - 24 years 0.6% 14.1%
25 - 44 years 43.5% 45.1%
45 - 64 years 52.0% 38.8%
65 years and over 3.9% 2.0%

Employment Distribution by Status

Employment Distribution by Status Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Full-time 71.2% 79.2%
Part-time 28.8% 20.8%

Average Annual Employment Income

Average Annual Employment Income
(Full-Time, Full-Year)
Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Full-time, full-year 47.3% 53.2%
Average income 55,099 45,157
0-19999$ 7.1% 16.5%
20000-49999$ 30.2% 52.4%
50000$ and over 62.8% 31.1%

Employment Distribution by Highest Level of Schooling

Employment Distribution by
Highest Level of Schooling
Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Less than high-school 0.2% 14.1%
High-school 0.4% 21.9%
Post-secondary 3.5% 43.1%
Bachelors 95.9% 20.9%

Employment Distribution by Region

Employment Distribution by Region Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 0.7% 1.8%
Bas-St-Laurent 1.4% 2.5%
Capitale-Nationale 13.6% 9.1%
Centre-du-Québec 1.9% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 4.3% 5.4%
Côte-Nord-Nord du Québec 0.6% 1.7%
Estrie 4.0% 3.9%
Gaspésie-îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.8% 1.1%
Lanaudière 3.7% 5.8%
Laurentides 6.5% 7.0%
Laval 4.2% 5.0%
Mauricie 3.4% 3.1%
Montérégie 13.6% 18.7%
Montréal 34.1% 24.1%
Outaouais 4.1% 4.7%
Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean 3.2% 3.3%

Self-employment

Employment Distribution Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Self-employment 39.9% 11.2%

Immigration

Employment Distribution Unit Group 4151 All occupations
Immigration 7.3% 12.2%

Main Areas of Employment

Main Areas of Employment Percentage
Health Care and Social assistance 75.3%
- Offices of Other Health Practitioners (Offices of Psychologists included) 43.2%
- Hospitals 13.9%
- Out-Patient Care Centres (CLSC included) 7.7%
- Individual and Family Services 4.4%
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (CHSLD included) 4.2%
Educational Services 18.4%
- Elementary and Secondary Schools 15.6%
Public Administration 3.0%