An Overview of Careers in Psychology

An Overview of Careers in Psychology

By definition, psychology is the study of behavior. Compared to many other fields of study, the broad scope of a career in Psychology is easy to see. Behavior is a part of every human being; how they interact with their family and friends, how they communicate with their peers and co-workers, how they cope with challenges and trials … a person’s behavior is part of the unique blueprint that makes each individual who they are.

If you are fascinated by Psychology, and choose to study the field and make a career out of it, your choices are wide open to your imagination! Psychologists function in expected roles such as research and counseling, but there are many others that have job descriptions that might surprise or fascinate you. Psychologists study the relationship between brain function and behavior as well as environment and behavior. They use scientific methods, careful observation, experimentation and analysis and use creative ways to apply their findings.

Psychologists can work independently or as part of a team. Lawyers, politicians, school staff and medical workers are just a few of those that call on psychologists to assist them in their work. They work with business executives, performers and athletes to improve their ability to handle stress and improve their performance. Following disasters, psychologists help victims cope with trauma in the field and in following counseling sessions. Part of the job of being a psychologist is keeping up with what is going on in the world around us and how these happenings affect people and their behavior. The study of Psychology is a good background to pursue many other careers. It is one of the most versatile fields of study from which a person can build a career and find varied and rewarding work!

Definitions of some of the subfields in Psychology as found through the American Psychological Association are:

Clinical Psychologists treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychologists study human perception, thinking and memory
Counseling Psychologists help people recognize their strengths and weaknesses to cope with their problems.
Developmental Psychologists study the development of the human being through life
Educational Psychologists concentrate on how effective teaching and learning take place
Engineering Psychologists study how people work best with machines
Evolutionary Psychologists study evolutionary principles influence human thought, feeling and behavioral
Forensic Psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues
Health Psychologists specialize in how biological, psychological and social factors affect health and illness
Industrial and Organizational Psychologists apply psychological principles to the workplace
Neuropsychologists explore the relationship between brain systems and behavior
Quantitative and measurement psychologists focus on methods and techniques for designing experiments and analyzing psychological data.
Rehabilitation Psychologists work to help people overcome disabilities from injury or illness
School Psychologists work directly with public and private schools
Social Psychologists studies how a person’s mental life and behavior are shaped by interactions with other people.
Sports Psychologists help athletes redefine their focus and improve their performance

Whether you pursue a bachelor’s degree, continue to Masters Level education or achieve your Doctorate in the field of Psychology is a personal choice, guided by your goals and desires for your career. The highest paid and greatest range of jobs are available to those at the Doctoral level. Those with a Masters Degree find a very wide range of work in all settings, but competition is keen in all fields of Psychology. Psychology is one of the career fields where you can assess your own interest and pursue a degree in Psychology that fits … Are you a professional athlete looking for a career to follow your competitive athletic endeavors? Your personal experience would greatly benefit your work as a Sports Psychologist. Do you love research and analysis? There are many fields that would satisfy your desire for this. Are you a medical professional burned out on your current field? Consider using your knowledge and experience as a Health Psychologist! The sky is the limit is nearly true in this field.

References: American Psychological Association. Information from “What Psychology Is” and “Subfields in Psychology”