Careers in Psychology

Aiming for psychology?

Psychology – Career Opportunities

Major in Psychology

Useful links to reaserch about careers and job outlook in psychology:

Law & psychology

Economics & psychology

Business & psychology

Some of the subfields in psychology:

Clinical psychologists

Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These range from short-term crises, such as difficulties resulting from adolescent rebellion, to more severe, chronic conditions such as schizophrenia.

Cognitive and perceptual psychologists

Cognitive and perceptual psychologists study human perception, thinking, and memory. Cognitive psychologists are interested in questions such as, how does the mind represent reality? How do people learn? How do people understand and produce language? Cognitive psychologists also study reasoning, judgment, and decision making.

Counseling psychologists

Counseling psychologists help people recognize their strengths and resources to cope with their problems. Counseling psychologists do counseling/psychotherapy, teaching, and scientific research with individuals of all ages, families, and organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals, businesses).

Developmental psychologists

Developmental psychologists study the psychological development of the human being that takes place throughout life.

Educational psychologists

Educational psychologists concentrate on how effective teaching and learning take place.

Engineering psychologists

Engineering psychologists conduct research on how people work best with machines. For example, how can a computer be designed to prevent fatigue and eye strain? What arrangement of an assembly line makes production most efficient? What is a reasonable workload? Most engineering psychologists work in industry, but some are employed by the government, particularly the Department of Defense. They are often known as human factors specialists.

Evolutionary psychologists

Evolutionary psychologists study how evolutionary principles such as mutation, adaptation, and selective fitness influence human thought, feeling, and behavior. Because of their focus on genetically shaped behaviors that influence an organism’s chances of survival, evolutionary psychologists study mating, aggression, helping behavior, and communication.

Experimental psychologists

Experimental psychologists are interested in a wide range of psychological phenomena, including cognitive processes, comparative psychology (cross-species comparisons), learning and conditioning, and psychophysics.

Forensic psychologists

Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues. Their expertise is often essential in court. They can, for example, help a judge decide which parent should have custody of a child or evaluate a defendant’s mental competence to stand trial. Forensic psychologists also conduct research on jury behavior or eyewitness testimony. Some forensic psychologists are trained in both psychology and the law. – American Psychological Association 2011

Health psychologists

Health psychologists specialize in how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness.

Industrial/organizational psychologists

Industrial/organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the work place in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of work life.


Neuropsychologists (and behavioral neuropsychologists) explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior. For example, behavioral neuropsychologists may study the way the brain creates and stores memories, or how various diseases and injuries of the brain affect emotion, perception, and behavior.

Social psychologists

Social psychologists study how a person’s mental life and behavior are shaped by interactions with other people

Sports psychologists

Sports psychologists help athletes refine their focus on competition goals, become more motivated, and learn to deal with the anxiety and fear of failure that often accompany competition. The field is growing as sports of all kinds become more and more competitive and attract younger children than ever. – American Psychological Association 2011

Should I Prepare for a Psychology Education and Career While I’m in High School?

High school is a good time to start taking preliminary steps toward your future career goals. Planning ahead does not mean that you must choose your psychology career path by the time you complete the 11th grade: It does mean you should begin to create a vision of your future.

Even if you have decided that attending college/university is what you want to do after graduating from high school, you may not be sure what subject to pursue. Don’t worry. Many high school and first year college students are not sure of their careers. Just remember: The better prepared you are and the more planning you do, the more able you will be to succeed in whatever career choice you make.

Source: – American Psychological Association 2011

Job Outlook

Psychology graduates generally report being pleased with the way what they studied in school helped prepare them for both life and work. A woman who opened her own business shortly after earning a baccalaureate in psychology explains, “After all, psychology is the business of life.” Psychology graduates continue to be excited by the changes taking place in the field that relate to what they are now doing.

But the study of psychology at the bachelor’s level is also a fine preparation for many other professions. These students often possess good research and writing skills, are good problem solvers, and have well-developed, higher-level thinking ability when it comes to analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information. Most find jobs in administrative support, public affairs, education, business, sales, service industries, health, the biological sciences, and computer programming. They work as employment counselors, correction counselor trainees, interviewers, personnel analysts, probation officers, and writers. Two thirds believe their job is closely or somewhat related to their psychology background and that their jobs hold career potential.

According to economists at the Department of Labor, opportunities for people with graduate degrees in psychology are expected to grow between 10% and 20% by 2010.

Most psychologists say they love their work. They cite the variety of daily tasks and the flexibility of their schedules. They are thrilled by the exciting changes taking place in the field, from adapting technology to humans to working as part of primary health care teams. They are working hard to provide answers to research questions in diverse areas such as prevention, perception, and learning. Educators strive to train the next generations using new technology and knowledge.

The study of psychology is good preparation for many other professions. Many employers are interested in the skills that psychology majors bring.

Source: - American Psychological Association 2011

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