Psychology

Psychology is a complex and diverse career field that involves helping patients learn more about their own fears, needs and behaviors, to overcome hardships. Learn about educational requirements, job outlook and salary potential for this profession.

Is Psychology for Me?

Career Overview

Psychology is the study of human behavior and the development of protocols to help people work through their personal struggles and manage mental illnesses. For those with a passion for the subject, this can be a very interesting field to pursue because it offers job prospects in a wide range of industries. You can tailor your psychology career based on your interests.

If you like working with children or adolescents, you may be interested in becoming a child psychologist or a guidance counselor. If you're interested in working with patients who've been affected by illness or injuries, you could become a clinical psychologist. A variety of psychology specialties are available, based on your preferred patient group and work setting.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists held about 160,000 jobs in 2012, with approximately 34% working in private practices, 29% working in health care and 31% holding jobs in educational services (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, school, clinical and counseling psychologists earned an average annual salary of $72,710.

The BLS predicted that employment for all psychologists would grow about 12% in the period between 2012 and 2022. Job opportunities should be excellent for graduates of doctoral programs, licensed psychologists, and individuals with specializations in such areas as counseling, health or school psychology.

How Can I Become a Psychologist?

Education

From a school counselor to a psychology professor, an array of positions are available in the field of psychology, and each requires its own specific level of education. All psychology education programs require a combination of classroom and hands-on training, but the specific requirements vary depending on the type of psychology professional you'd like to be.

Undergraduate Studies

If you're hoping to become a psychology assistant, you'll likely need to earn at least an associate degree in psychology. A bachelor's degree in psychology, however, may provide relevant education for careers in which psychological principles are applied, including human resources and market research personnel.

Graduate Programs

If you're interested in becoming a licensed psychologist, counselor or family therapist, you'll need to earn at least Master of Science in Psychology. Earning a master's degree can allow you to specialize in a particular area of psychology, like forensic psychology or counseling psychology. Further specialization or research, as well as most university teaching positions, may require a Ph.D. in Psychology.

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