Many Americans today are turning to psychologists to help them to deal with their problems and so they can live more fulfilling lives. This fact is seen in government statistics, which indicate that there will be a 19% boost in demand for psychologists by 2024, which is much faster than average when compared to other fields in the US.
It also is anticipated that psychologists will be in demand to offer mental health assistance to people as they are getting older. There are many mental and physical challenges that accompany aging, and that is also driving a greater need for psychologists.
If you think that a career in psychology may be a good choice for you, we advise that you consider the following psychology career fields. Note that you must have at least a master’s degree in psychology to practice as a licensed psychologist in any field:
#1 Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology is the most popular speciality in this field. Clinical psychologists are what most laymen think of as ‘psychologists.’ They assess, diagnose and treat many types of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. As a clinical psychologist, you may help your patients to deal with short term personal problems or more serious, chronic mental health disorders.
As a clinical psychologist, you will be trained to use many advanced approaches to help people. Strategies can differ a great deal based upon where you are trained, but many of the most common ways of treatment are:
- Patient interviews
- Diagnostic tests
- Individual, family or group therapy
- Behavior modification programs
Some clinical psychologist may focus on specific types of patients, such as senior citizens or small children.
Many professionals who work in clinical psychology must eventually earn either their Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in clinical psychology. This is required for you to practice independently.
#2 School Psychology
The field of school psychology also is growing rapidly as many parts of the country are seeing rapid population growth. School psychologists apply advanced principles of psychology to help students with educational and developmental disorders.
School psychologists may deal with problems in student learning or behavior. They also focus on designing and implementing modern school and student performance plans, and evaluate the performance of students.
School psychologists also play a very important role in counseling students and families. Many school psychologists also will work with other educational and psychology professionals to suggest how teaching, learning and administration can be improved to serve students’ needs.
As with clinical psychologists, job demand in school psychology will increase by 20% by 2024. The median salary is $70,000 per year.
#3 Counseling Psychology
Counseling psychologists assist their patients to deal with personal problems that could include problems with children, spouses, family, work problems and more. Through counseling, these psychologists help their patients to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are, and to find out which are the best resources and methods to deal with their personal problems.
Counseling psychologists tend to work more on personal and relationship problems, whereas clinical psychologists tend to work with people who have diagnosed mental health disorders. But there is a good deal of overlap between these fields, of course.
Demand for counseling psychologists also will soar by 20% by 2024, and the median salary is $70,500.
#4 Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists are experts in applying psychological principles to the workplace, as well as research problems to improve worker and workplace efficiency. These psychologists also help employers to make better hiring decisions and to help different departments with very different roles to work together more effectively.
For example, the sales department of a manufacturing company can have issues working with the engineering department. The salespeople are focused on selling the consumer or customer on benefits of the product so that sales can be made. But engineering may be concerned about aspects of the product design that are better from an engineering standpoint but not necessarily from a sales standpoint.
An I/O psychologist can be brought in to help both departments learn to work together more effectively and cohesively.
This type of psychologist helps workplaces by studying productivity, management and worker styles of work, and morale of the company. Many I/O psychologists also work with managers to plan policy, screen employees and to develop the organization to be more profitable.
I/O psychologists should see 19% more jobs by 2024, which is an excellent rate of growth. The median salary in this field is $77,000 per year.
#5 Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychologists use advanced principles of psychology in the criminal and legal systems to assist attorneys, judges and others in the legal and criminal systems to help them to understand the criminal parts of a case. Many forensic psychologists testify in court as experts and may specialize in family or criminal law.
Forensic psychology is a fairly new field, and it is experiencing growth at a very rapid pace. One of the reasons is that the field is being portrayed often on TV shows and in movies. It should be noted however, that the reality of being a forensic psychologist is rarely as exciting as what is portrayed on television. Still, it is an exciting career for psychologists who are intrigued by applying principles of psychology to the legal and criminal justice systems.
Indeed.com reports that the average salary in this field is $85,000 per year.
#6 Sports Psychology
Some experienced clinical psychologists sometimes decide that they want to branch out into other areas of the field to pursue a new interest. One of them is sports psychology.
Because we live in a society that so loves sports, with all sports in the US generating $500 billion a year in sales, it is not surprising that some athletes at the professional, collegiate and even high school level often want the help of psychologists to improve their performance.
Most sports are very competitive, even at the high school and middle school levels. For students to get the best chances to obtain an athletic scholarship, or for a collegiate athlete to break into the pros, it means finding an edge that goes beyond the physical.
Many psychological experts think that peak performance for an athlete is not just a matter of proper physical conditioning and practicing. Another factor is that athletes need to be in the right frame of mind and to be motivated to achieve the most possible success.
Another angle of sports psychology is that its application by highly trained psychologists is not just limited to athletes. Many CEOs and upper level managers also like to tap into the expertise of sports psychologists to teach them how to do the mental preparation that they need to succeed in the boardroom.
Sports psychologists are usually well paid. At the collegiate level, psychologists in the sports departments can earn $80,000 per year. For private practice, it is hard to say how much you can earn. At the collegiate and professional levels, athletes will pay very well for a proven psychologist who can give them the mental training to gain a performance edge.
The entire psychology field is growing quickly, and we believe that students who focus on one of the six above areas of psychology will enjoy a long, productive and rewarding career in psychology.
Remember that after you earn your master’s degree in psychology, you may need to also earn your doctorate, depending upon your speciality and career goals. Also, you must have at least several hundred supervised clinical hours for whichever speciality you choose. And of course, all psychologists must be licensed to practice in their state.