Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes, usually to identify underlying motivations. It has been a popular major for decades, but what career opportunities are available with this degree?
The field of psychology has grown significantly over the last few years, so there are many different paths that can be taken. There’s clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, social work, and more! The best path will depend on your personal goals and interests. This blog will discuss the different roles that you can take when you major in psychology.
1. What Is Psychology?
Psychology is a science that studies human behavior and the human mind. A psychology student, therefore, learns about how people think, feel and relate to others. Psychology also tries to answer questions such as “How does memory work?”, “What motivates us to behave in certain ways?” or “What causes mental illness?” Through research experiments, observation and practice, psychology has begun to uncover the mysteries of the mind.
Psychology not only helps us understand ourselves but can also be used in practical ways to help us function better at work or school, succeed in making relationships more meaningful and happy, and help control emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.
An important lesson that psychology teaches us about human behavior is that it varies. No two people are exactly alike, even identical twins who share the same genetic makeup. Because of this variation among people, psychology has grown to encompass many areas of study.
Psychology can be categorized in any number of ways. One way to look at the field is by its various specialties or areas of study. Some of the major specialties in psychology are cognitive, developmental, social, abnormal, and quantitative.
2. What Are the Branches of Psychology?
Psychology is considered both a natural and social science. It studies mental processes, which are invisible, so it’s difficult to understand how they work by just looking at them through the human eye. All of the psychology is not observable behavior. Some evidence that can be used includes surveys or interviews, physical reactions such as brain waves or pupil dilation, or measured behavior such as speed of task completion.
Many people find it helpful to think about the field of psychology in terms of different types of branches. Here are some examples:
Clinical Psychology is the branch that focuses on how abnormalities in our thoughts, emotions and behaviors can lead us to experience psychological problems (e.g., mental illnesses). For example, clinical psychologists work with people who have schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Cognitive Psychology specializes in the study of how our cognitive (thought) processes influence behavior. Cognitive psychologists often investigate how language affects thought and whether information processing occurs in specific parts of the brain.
Social Sciences is an umbrella term for psychological topics that focus on interactions among people. Social psychologists, for example, are interested in how physical appearance or first impressions influence the way that people treat one another. These professionals may study topics such as how to make friends more easily or why some bullies seem immune to punishment.
Quantitative Psychology is a branch of psychology that has mathematical models at its core. Quantitative psychologists use math to study topics like the best ways to design psychological experiments.
Developmental Psychology focuses on how people change and grow throughout their lifespan (e.g., changes in behavior, relationships). A developmental psychologist might do research on whether children become more or less aggressive between the ages of 6-10.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology is the branch of psychology that applies psychological principles to workplace issues. I-O psychologists help design more efficient workplaces by studying topics like motivation and leadership effectiveness.
Sexology is a branch of psychology devoted to the study of sexual behavior, thoughts, and feelings. For example, sexologists study how sexual desires or attitudes towards sexuality change over time (e.g., from adolescence through older adulthood).
Abnormal Psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on mental disorders and related problems. These professionals might work with people who have schizophrenia or clinical depression.
Forensic Psychology is an area of psychology dedicated to understanding behavior within legal contexts. Forensic psychologists might study eyewitness testimony, jury decision-making, violent crimes, or crimes involving a victim and offender who know each other.
3. What Are the Responsibilities of a Psychologist?
Some of the responsibilities of a psychologist are:
1. Creating a safe and comfortable environment for a client to share their thoughts and feelings with them so that they can become aware of what is going on in their mind will help the psychologist assess where the problems may stem from.
2. Helping patients deal with psychological disorders by using therapeutic methods such as counseling or psychotherapy.
3. Teaching a therapist how to be a good therapist and which methods will help them in their work.
4. Conducting research in order to have a better knowledge of the human mind.
5. Creating profiling techniques for individuals that involve psychological assessments, especially if they are going to work with children or adults who may potentially become criminals one day.
6. Advising individuals and institutions on how they can deal with their mental health better by creating formal reports such as recommendations for improvements or suggestions for future research.
7. Conducting assessments of people who have been incarcerated so that these individuals will know exactly what type of criminal behavior led them to be where they are currently and where they can go in order to get the help that they need.
8. Educating professionals working with children by teaching them how to deal with difficult children and how to spot if a child is suffering from psychological issues, also sharing knowledge on which situations require intervention or preventative measures.
4. How Do You Become a Psychologist?
To become a psychologist, one must complete several years of training that involve studying science courses while also gaining practical experience.
This course of study usually takes place in a university where students must first earn their bachelor’s degree before continuing onto an advanced program of study. Most programs last between four and five years, depending on the type of psychology that is being studied.
In order to become a psychologist, one must go through extensive training in order to know how to diagnose and treat patients properly as well as how to assess people who have committed crimes or performed certain behaviors. The experience is usually gained through on-the-job training while working in either a psychotherapy center or hospital.
5. What Skills Do You Need to Become a Psychologist?
1. You need a high level of intellectual curiosity to study the human mind and be able to understand its complexities which you will then share with other people in order for them to better deal with their problems.
2. Good communication skills are necessary because these professionals have to communicate what they have learned about psychology through lectures, seminars, reports, or presentations.
3. You also need strong interpersonal skills so that you can establish a good relationship with your clients and be able to create a safe environment for them to share their psychological issues.
4. Being a good team player is important too because psychologists often work as part of a group, especially in research or when they are teaching at universities.
5. You need to be able to work well under pressure because you will often have deadlines to meet when it comes to writing reports or preparing lectures.
6. Being able to cope with stress is also important so that you can get through difficult periods of your work without becoming overwhelmed by the number of things that are on your mind
7. Finally, you need dedication because this is not an easy job that can be done if you are just half-heartedly committed to it.
6. What Type of Salary Can a Psychologist Expect?
A psychologist’s salary is dependent on many factors such as their level of experience, the type of institution that they work for, and the region in which they practice.
This means that people who work for universities or research centers usually make more than those who work for clinics located in low-income areas. There is also a gender pay gap between men and women, which is often attributed to the fact that more women than men choose this profession.
Psychologists work in a variety of settings, and one’s experience and education level will determine how much one can expect to earn. The average salary for psychologists is $69,000 per year.
7. What Is the Job Outlook for a Psychologist?
The job outlook for psychologists is fairly positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for this profession will increase by 21% over the next ten years, which is much higher than most other industries.
The job market for psychologists is growing rapidly because of the increase in mental health services. Furthermore, as we continue to develop new technologies and ways to treat people, more and more people will begin consulting a psychologist and therefore make this field even stronger.
8. What Challenges Do Psychologists Face?
Psychologists face many challenges when it comes to their profession. One of the most common issues is that they are often short on time because there are so many patients who require treatment. This makes it difficult for them to get give each person the attention he or she needs in order for them to better understand what they are going through and how it can be treated.
Another issue that psychologists face is that many people are afraid or reluctant to seek professional help because they don’t understand what psychologists do and how helpful this profession can be. Because of this, the demand for therapists far outstrips the supply, which makes it even more difficult to see patients in a timely manner.
Finally, one of the greatest challenges that psychologists face is the amount of competition they encounter. There are many other professionals who can help you with your mental health issues, such as psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers. Their approach may also differ from what psychologists have to offer, and it is up to each individual to determine which professional would be best suited for him or her.
9. Where Do Psychologists Work?
Psychologists can work in a variety of settings, and the type of facility where they work will largely depend on their area of expertise. Counselors and psychotherapists often work in clinics, psychiatric hospitals, or private practices, while clinical, counseling and educational psychologists usually work for government agencies, schools, or universities. Research psychologists can be employed by research centers, laboratories, or individual companies.
10. How Are Psychologists’ Hours?
A psychologist’s work schedule can be influenced by various factors such as their area of expertise, where they work, and what type of patients they see. It is not uncommon for a clinical psychologist to work on a shift basis, while some may also have one day off per week. Counselors tend to work full time and work during the day. Research psychologists usually have set hours as well, but those who work for universities or clinics may also need to attend seminars, lectures, and conferences just like their students do.
11. Best Colleges to Study Psychology
The best colleges to study psychology are those that offer an undergraduate program. This enables you to receive a bachelor’s degree in this profession and proceed with your education if you decide to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree.
If you want to become a psychologist, we recommend that you look for colleges and universities that have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) because this organization ensures certain standards of quality.
Other factors you should consider when choosing a college are where it is located as well as its reputation in the psychology field. Following are some of the colleges we highly recommend:
- Johns Hopkins University: Offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology and select master’s and doctoral programs.
- The University of California – San Diego: This research university offers undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral level programs in the field of psychology.
- Harvard University: Has been accredited by the APA since 1939 and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology.
- New York University: Offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in psychology.
- University of Florida – Gainesville: Provides both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in psychology.
12. Online Courses to Study Psychology
If you don’t have the time or resources to attend a traditional college and university, we recommend this option. There are now many online psychology courses available such as those offered by:
Understand the Mind: 15 Fascinating Psychology Studies by Udemy- This course provides an introduction to the world of human behavior. You’ll find out what makes people tick, why they behave in certain ways, and a few other interesting insights which will keep you glued to this course till its very end.
Diploma in Modern Applied Psychology (DiMAP.) by Udemy- This course is a great opportunity for you to learn about the different techniques and methods used in modern psychology. You’ll get a chance to use many of these methods yourself and find out how rewarding it can be.
Introduction to Criminal Psychology by Udemy- This course is designed for both students and non-students alike. It’s a great way to gain an insight into the world of criminal psychology without having to study it in depth at university.
Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization by Coursera- This course will be an introduction to the rapidly growing field of Positive Psychology. You’ll learn a great deal about what it’s all about and how you can use its concepts to increase the amount of happiness in your life.
Fundamentals of Psychology by Edx- This is a great place for you to start if you have no or very little knowledge in this subject. You’ll find out what positive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics are all about without having to attend a University!
Introduction to Social Psychology by Edx- This course will provide you with a great introduction to the field of social psychology. You’ll be taught how to use this knowledge in everyday life and find out how it can help you become more successful in your career, friendships, and even your family life!
It can be difficult to determine what specific career path to take after completing a psychology degree. However, with the right mix of hard work, determination, and creativity, there are many opportunities for those who have completed a psychology degree. Some popular career paths include working as a therapist or counselor in either private practice or in an institutional setting such as a hospital or school district. Psychologists may also find work in market research, human resources, or advertising. There are also many opportunities for those who want to pursue further education in graduate school. With the ever-growing demand for mental health services, the field of psychology is sure to offer exciting and rewarding career opportunities for years to come.