Careers in Psychology
Psychologists explore human behavior and mental processes. They assist individuals and/or groups in making behavior changes. Their studies are used in advertising, political science, health sciences and other related areas. The careers described below are just a few of the wide variety of occupations available within the human service professions. The actual educational requirements vary with each employer, although a Ph.D. or Psy.D. is generally required for employment as a psychologist.
- Clinical Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Educational Psychology
- Engineering Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology
- Quantitative and Measurement Psychology
- Rehabilitation Psychology
- Residence Counseling
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Social Work
A caseworker helps individuals and families requiring assistance of a social service agency. Clients may be experiencing problems with personal or family adjustments, finances, employment, food, clothing, housing, or physical and mental impairments. Counsels clients regarding plans for meeting needs, and helps clients to mobilize inner capacities and environmental resources to improve social functioning. Helps clients to change attitude and behavior by increasing understanding of self, personal problems, and client's part in creating them.
A clinical psychologist treats individuals with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These range from short-term crises, such as difficulties resulting from adolescent rebellion, to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia. May work in private practice, clinics, hospitals, or prisons. May use psychological tests to diagnose disorders and form treatment. Utilizes various techniques, such as milieu therapy, psychodrama, play therapy, and hypnosis. May research personality development and adjustment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.
A counselor counsels individuals and provides group educational and vocational guidance services. Collects and analyzes information on interests, aptitudes, and personality characteristics to help with vocational and educational planning. Refers students to placement service, and assists individuals to overcome social and emotional problems. May conduct research on counseling techniques and teach classes. May be designated by specialty, such as Academic Counselor, Career Counselor, Guidance Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor, or Nurses' Association Counselor.
A counseling psychologist helps individuals and groups accommodate to change or to make lifestyle changes. May provide vocational/career guidance, help students adjust to college, help people come to terms with the loss of loved ones, or help people to stop smoking or overeating. May work in private practice, college settings, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centers, or hospitals, to assist individuals in achieving more effective personal, social, educational, and vocational development and adjustment. May conduct tests to assess individual's intelligence, aptitude, and interests.
A developmental psychologist investigates the emotional, mental, physical, and social development of individuals that takes place throughout life. Their focus used to be on childhood and adolescence, as one may study children to analyze learning processes, language development, and parents' influence on behavior, or study infants for patterns of social, motor, and sensory development. However, as life expectancy increases, they are becoming increasingly interested in aging, especially in researching and developing ways to help elderly people stay as independent as possible.
An educational psychologist is interested in how effective learning and teaching take place. Studies learning and teaching processes and develops principles/techniques meant to foster development. May consider various factors, such as human abilities, student motivation, and the effect that diversity has on the classroom. May conduct experiments to study motivation in learning, or the nature and causes of individual differences in mental abilities, as a way to promote differentiated educational procedures to meet individual student needs.
An engineering psychologist studies how people work best with machines. Develops principles relating human behavior to environments and systems within which people work and live, such as how can a computer be designed to prevent eye strain, what assembly line arrangement makes production most efficient, or what is a reasonable workload. Most work in industry, but may also work for government, and may be called human factors specialists.
An experimental psychologist formulates hypotheses and experimental designs, and conducts experiments, to investigate problems of perception, memory, learning, personality, and cognitive processes. Designs and constructs equipment and apparatus for lab study. Manages variables in experiments with humans or animals, and studies behavior in relation to variables. Collaborates with other scientists in such fields as physiology, biology, and sociology in conducting interdisciplinary studies of behavior and formulating theories of behavior.