Psychology is a rapidly growing field, and many people are showing interest in making it a career choice. For some, it is a way to help people struggling with mental health issues; others are interested in the scientific study of the human mind and behavior. Both ways, it leads to making a difference in the world.
No matter what your reason is for studying psychology, it is a field that offers unique opportunities career-wise. As there are many career paths in psychology, all you need to do is pick a field that aligns best with your career interests.
Here are the seven most common fields of psychology to consider for your career:
- Counseling Psychology
Counseling psychologists are responsible for working with clients one-on-one, teaching classes, or providing consulting services. These duties vary depending on the role you choose to pursue. Counseling psychologists can work in different fields, including mental asylums, educational institutions, medical centers, community mental health agencies and even practice privately.
A counseling psychologist’s job as a school counselor is to address mental health concerns in students and, as a family therapist, to solve relationship issues. No matter what your chosen job is, you must have a specialized master’s degree or doctorate and a license to practice in your state. If you’re interested in becoming a family therapist, you’ll need a master’s in family and marriage therapy. In addition, you will need to have soft skills, such as excellent communication and problem-solving skills, to be able to handle emotionally charged situations.
Their salaries also vary depending on experience, education, and location. For example, those who work in private practice may earn more than those who work in academia. Overall, counseling psychologists are responsible for a wide range of job duties and can expect to earn a relatively high salary.
- Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychologists are responsible for applying psychology to the criminal justice system. They work with law enforcement, courts, and corrections systems to provide psychological services. Forensic psychologists may also work in private practice, providing psychological services to clients involved in the criminal justice system.
The job requires a doctorate in psychology. To become a forensic psychologist, one must complete an internship and an APA-approved doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology. After completing their education and training, forensic psychologists must obtain a license from their state’s Board of Psychology.
Forensic psychologists typically work full time, although some may work part-time. They often work evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of their clients. Forensic psychologists typically earn a salary of $85,000 per year. However, salaries may vary depending on experience, location, and type of employer.
- Sports Psychology
Sports psychology studies how psychological factors affect performance and well-being in athletes. A career in sports psychology typically involves working with athletes to help them improve their performance and overcome psychological barriers.
Job duties may include identifying psychological factors that contribute to poor performance, developing and implementing mental training programs, and conducting research on the efficacy of different interventions.
Sports psychologists are also responsible for counseling athletes struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for careers in sports psychology is $60,000. However, salaries vary widely depending on experience, education, employer and location.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Industrial-organizational psychology is the study of human behavior in the workplace. Careers in industrial psychology typically involve working with businesses and organizations to help them improve worker productivity and job satisfaction.
Industrial psychologists are responsible for conducting research, designing training programs, and administering psychological tests.
Those working in this field are responsible for improving work conditions and developing policies that promote employee wellness. The median salary for an industrial organizational psychologist is $87,330 per year. Careers in this field are expected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all other professions.
- Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how people change and grow throughout their lifespans. Careers in developmental psychology start after gaining a bachelor’s degree and a master’s or a doctoral degree can be attained to move up the position. The job duties vary depending on the level of education obtained.
Those with a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology may find careers in human resources, social work, or counseling. With a master’s degree, you get to work as a research assistant or teacher. In contrast, those with a doctoral degree may find careers as university professors or psychologists.
The job market for developmental psychologists is competitive and challenging. Salaries for this role vary depending on education and experience but typically range from $60,000 to $80,000 per year.
- Social psychology
Social psychologists study how people think, feel, and behave in social situations. They apply their findings to help individuals and groups change their behavior for the better.
Social psychologists often work in careers that involve research, teaching, and consulting. Research positions are responsible for designing and conducting studies to test hypotheses about social behavior. Teaching positions typically involve instructing students at the college level about social psychology courses. Consulting careers may use social psychological principles to improve work environments or reduce prejudice and discrimination.
Social psychologists typically need a doctorate to work in research or teaching positions. A master’s degree is idle for careers in consulting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a social psychologist is $79,010 per year.
- Health psychology
Health psychology is the scientific study of how psychological factors affect human health and well-being. Careers in health psychology involve studying how different aspects of our lives, such as our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, impact our physical health.
Common job duties for health psychologists include conducting research and developing health interventions and programs. They also work with patients to help them manage chronic conditions. Health psychologists may also be responsible for teaching classes or providing training on topics related to health and well-being.
Health psychologists typically work in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings, and the average salary for this job is about $85,000 annually.
Psychology is an extremely broad field, and there are many different career choices for those who want to pursue it. Whether you’re interested in developmental psychology, social psychology, organizational psychology, or health psychology, various career paths offer jobs with varying levels of education and experience.
No matter your chosen field, you can expect to make a difference in people’s lives while earning a competitive salary. With hard work and dedication, you can find success as a psychologist and help others understand their behaviors and emotions.