Different Types of Psychologists

The field of psychology is growing quickly in the US today; this is related in part to the tremendous growth in demand for healthcare services. As we have noted elsewhere on this website, the demand for healthcare services of all kinds is increasing rapidly and will continue to do so in the next decade.

This growth has also influenced the demand for all types of psychological services. After all, people want to be psychologically sound and healthy, as well as physically. This fact is borne out in government statistics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that psychologist employment will rise by 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average. And for clinical, counseling and school counselors, growth will hit 20%.

BLS states that demand for psychological services will be particularly strong in:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health centers
  • Social service agencies

These impressive statistics indicate that now is an excellent time to enter the field of psychology. There are few fields where you can enjoy such a strong level of demand as well as a high salary, while also helping people live better lives.

If you are interested in making psychology your career, it is important to learn as much as you can about the different types of psychologists. Below is an outline of the major types of psychologist that you can become if you earn at least a master’s degree, and in some cases, your doctoral degree in psychology.

The first step to becoming a psychologist is to earn your bachelor’s degree in psychology, but you must earn at least a master’s degree to begin to practice as a licensed psychologist. After you earn at least your master’s degree, you must do an internship of at least one or two years of supervised experience.

You also must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. After you are a licensed psychologist, you also can obtain specialty certification through the American Board of Professional Psychology in 15 areas, including:

  • Clinical health
  • Couples and family
  • Rehabilitation
  • Forensics
  • Children and adolescents

If you want to earn a master’s degree in psychology online, there are a variety of quality programs now available, such as Fort Hays State University.

Consider these types of psychologist for your career:

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work with their clients to identify various emotional, mental and behavioral disorders and to work towards solutions to cure or minimize them. Generally, in clinical psychology, the patient has a mental illness or some type of abnormal behavior or emotional disorder.

This type of psychologist uses observation, interviews and tests to diagnose potential disorders, and with the client, they determine the best program of treatment according to the needs of the client. A clinical psychologist observes the progress of the client over time to ensure that all needs are met.

Many clinical psychologist choose to earn their Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in psychology eventually so that they may practice privately with their own office and schedule. Or, you can work at a university, clinic, hospital or community health center. With a master’s degree, you can work as a clinical psychologist but under the supervision of another psychologist with a doctoral degree.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The most important knowledge, skills, and abilities for Practical Nurses are:


  • Medicine and Dentistry – Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


  • Active Learning – Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


  • Oral Comprehension – The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Counseling Psychologist

A counseling psychologist is similar to a clinical psychologist, but he or she tends to work with patients more on dealing with problems, such as issues in the home, with parents, children, spouses and so forth. This differs in some ways with clinical psychology, where there is more of a focus on a person with an actual mental disorder.

A counseling psychologist works with the patient to identify both their strengths and weaknesses and the resources that they have in their immediate surroundings to deal with their problems.

As a counseling psychologist, it is really important for you to be able to develop an innate ability to make others comfortable talking about their problems and to work through difficult issues.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology is a very different field than counseling or clinical psychology. This special area of psychological practice  is focused on using advanced psychological principles in the criminal justice and legal systems to assist judges and attorneys and other legal experts to understand the psychology of suspects or convicted criminals in a criminal case.

Forensic psychology can be a very important part of solving a case. Professionals in this area are often able to assist in narrowing down a list of suspects. They also can help to provide a motive for a crime, which can also limit the number of suspects. In many cases, the testimony of an expert forensic psychologist can be the most critical piece of the puzzle to get a conviction.

After you graduate with at least a master’s degree in psychology, you can become a certified forensic psychologist through the American Board of Professional Psychology.

School Psychologist

For professionals with an interest in psychology and also the healthy development of children of all backgrounds, you can find a fascinating career in school psychology. Many school psychologists will work closely with school or guidance counselors. That professional will refer students to the school psychologist who he or she thinks is in need of further help and treatment.

A school psychologist can work with students from elementary school to college age. They act as advocates for the well being of the student and are vitally important for their educational and personal well being. Many school psychologists today help their students to deal with problems over bullying, disabilities, LGBTQ issues, self esteem issues and poor performance in the classroom.

To become a school psychologist, you need to earn your master’s degree in school psychology, and then you must be certified by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

The workplace can be a frustrating place for many people. One of the ways to help to keep places of employment running more efficiently is through the work of industrial/organizational psychologists.

This special branch of psychology studies the workplace and its employees and comes up with more effective ways of managing the workplace and workers. Another vital aspect of this area of psychology is to help employers implement more effective hiring practices so that they get the best employees for the right jobs.

The industrial side of this branch of psychology works with the individual worker and his relationship with where he works. This can cover things that include:

  • Job analysis
  • Safety of the employee
  • Training
  • Measurement of job performance
  • Employee hiring

On the organizational side, the psychologist will focus on the organization and the workplace overall. This where maximizing productivity comes into play. You might conduct studies on how interpersonal relationships between people in different departments with different skills are affecting productivity.

If you are wanting a career where you help others lead more productive lives and you want to have your pick of job opportunities, the field of psychology is a logical choice. Just determine which type of psychologist you want to be.