FC: is Psychology right for me | My Career | My Future | Types of Psychologists | Job outlook for Psychologist | Psychology training and job qualifications | Historical Earnings Information
1: The Goals of Psychology Psychologists observe and describe behavior and mental precesses to better understand them. This process enables psychologists to explain, predict, and help clients control their behavior.Psychologists not only collect data but find applications for it in almost every field, e.g. business, government, management, employee relations, law, and sports. Most psychologists have a firm grasp of general principles but specialize in one particular field where they help with training, counseling, or developing programs. | Psychology career overview One motivating factor for being a psychologist is that over a quarter of psychologists are self-employed, which is four times the national average. Psychologists generally need a graduate level psychology degree to be successful. Medical school is required for many psychologists who specialize in clinical psychology or counseling, and a master's degree is minimum requirement for most educational facilities and organizations.
2: Specialized Fields | There is an astoundingly diverse range of specialized fields in psychology and a wide variety of settings in which psychologists work. here are a few examples. | Environmental Psychology Does crowding in cities make people irritable? Does smog have an effect on people's ability to learn? Environmental psychologists ask such questions. They focus on the ways in which people influence and are influenced by their physical environment. Environmental psychologists study whether buildings and cities serve human needs. They also investigate the psychological effects of extremes in temperature, noise, and lighting. | Comparative Psychology What do pats have in common with dolphins? How does the prehistoric rhinoceros compare with the modern rhino? Comparative psychologists study animal behavior to try to answer such questions. They also compare the similarities and differences among different animals---modern and ancient---to gain an understanding of evolutionary relationships. The work of Charles Darwin inspired modern research on animal behavior. Today comparative psychology is a multidisciplinary field that includes the contributions of psychologists, biologists, anthropologists, ecologists, geneticists, and many others.
3: Clinical Psychology This is the largest area of practice. Clinical psychologists are generally employed at medical facilities like clinics or hospitals or group practices. Those who work at medical facilities might help patients deal with injuries or infirmities while others might help other people deal with emotional disorders or adjust to life changes. Many psychologists work at centers for physical rehabilitation where they work with patients with injuries, disabilities, strokes, or chronic problems. Still other psychologists might help people deal with trauma, such as the loss of a family member. Clinical psychologists often work with physicians or pharmacologists to determine the best treatment and to discuss medication options as they are not qualified to dispense medications unless they have completed medical school. However, this may change. New Mexico has pioneered a program that allows clinical psychologists to get extra training to allow them to dispense medication, and other states may soon follow suit.
4: Counseling Psychology Like clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists use interviews and tests to identify their clients' problems.They use many methods including personal consultations and examinations to help people deal with everyday pressures and find ways to live happy, productive lives. They generally work at group practices, career or educational counseling centers, or hospitals. | School Psychology These psychologists work to maximize students’ education and minimize behavioral problems at elementary or secondary schools or at the district level. They work with educators, administrators, and parents to deal with problems such as drug abuse or violence; improve learning through classroom techniques; help improve parenting; and find the best programs for disabled or gifted students. They may also work in assessing school programs, guidelines for dealing with behavioral problems, parent involvement, or other school programs.
5: Industrial-Organizational Psychology They use their knowledge and training in the workplace. They have two goals: firstly to increase productivity for the company, and secondly to advance the quality of life of the workers. Often these two goals coincide. They often perform research about administration issues or effective advertising. Besides their research, they are often involved with people more directly, interviewing applicants, developing and running training programs, providing advice for employees, or analyzing organization. Often companies don't employ in-house industrial psychologists and so they work as consultants. | Developmental Psychology They study the changes in physiology, cognitive ability, and social interaction that occur throughout various life-stages. Many choose to specialize on a specific stage like early childhood, adolescence, or geriatrics. They might also look at the disabilities that occur in various stages, such as finding new ways to help the elderly remain autonomous and alert.
6: Social Psychology These psychologists examine how individuals interface with society and trends in the society. The largest areas of work are group dynamics, nature of leadership, ways of thinking, and ways of perceiving the world. Social psychologists are helpful in a number of different fields including organizational management, marketing, and designing programs and systems. | Experimental Psychology They conduct research at centers, universities, corporations, non-profit organizations, or for the government. They look at patterns of behavior in humans or animals to learn about attentions span, learning processes, effects of drugs, motivation, genetics, and neurology.
7: Psychology Training and Job Qualifications Being a psychologist requires a quite a bit of schooling and an advanced degree. Having a bachelor's degree in psychology will enable an applicant to work as an assistant to other psychologists or other personnel at community medical centers, behavior modification programs, or programs for vocational rehabilitation. Some are employed in other fields, like market research, as consultants or specialists. Others might work as administrative assistants, help with research, or train for managerial positions in corporations. A master's degree will qualify individuals to work as school psychologists or industrial-organizational psychologists. They might also help with research or be an assistant of someone with a doctorate. A master's degree in psychology takes two years to complete, and generally includes some hands-on experience in a professional setting and original research in the form of a written thesis. Not all schools require an undergraduate psychology for admission, but all are competitive and will require understanding basic concepts in the social sciences and statistical skills. A PhD will qualify people to be licensed as a clinical psychologist or counselor. It will also qualify them to teach at a university, work at a research group, be employed by the government, work at a medical facility, or work as a school psychologist. The majority of PhD holders work as clinical psychologists at private practices. Earning a PhD generally requires five to seven years of post-graduate work. It involves courses in research, using computers for analysis, psychological theory, and practices. Also, earning your degree involves either original research in the form of a written dissertation or examinations. Many degrees in clinical or counseling psychology involve a practical internship as well. Aside from formal schooling, there are some personal attributes that are necessary to being a psychologist. Psychologists interested primarily in research need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined workers, but also need to able to work on a team. They also need to be persistent and patient as research is often extremely long-term. Psychologists who want to work directly with patients need to be responsible, mature, and secure. Psychologists have to approach their patients non-judgmentally, insightfully, and with compassion. They need to have excellent communication skills, being able to both express ideas clearly and listen.