Personality psychology is the study of human personalities and behavioral responses. Continue reading to learn about opportunities for psychologists, as well what type of education you'll need to work in the field.
Formal education programs in psychology, such as those that focus upon personality, include the study of human character traits and behaviors. In particular, you'll explore the circumstances that shape our different personalities and determine our social responses. Courses in personality can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. If you're interested in a career in this specialized field of psychology, you'll have to complete a graduate degree program in social and personality psychology.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists may be employed by businesses, nursing homes, healthcare facilities and clinics. Additionally, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) reports that career opportunities may also be found in academia, research, political strategy, consulting and government organizations (www.spsp.org). As a psychologist, you'll work directly with clients and other professionals, so you'll need excellent communication skills.
As reported by the BLS, there were nearly 160,200 professionals employed as psychologists in 2012, with 145,100 working as clinical, counseling or school psychologists. Based upon information provided by the BLS, employment of psychologists was predicted to increase by 12% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. According to the BLS, as of May 2013, the mean annual salary for psychology professors was $76,060. At that same time, the the average salary for uncategorized psychologists was $88,400, while clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned $72,710 (www.bls.gov).
An undergraduate degree in psychology can lead to entry-level positions in many fields. However, if you're interested in pursuing a career as a psychologist or a psychology professor, you must earn a master's or doctoral degree in psychology. The SASP states that most employers prefer that you have a doctorate.
With a doctoral degree in personality psychology, you can earn your license as a psychologist. Depending on your state, there may be additional licensure requirements, such as completion of an internship and a specified number of hours of professional experience. A doctorate enables you to start a private practice, according to the BLS.
Through a graduate degree program in psychology with an emphasis in personality psychology, you'll explore topics in human sexuality, aggression, interpersonal relationships, emotion, motivation and stereotypes. Other courses address ways to analyze human behavior, the biological basis of personality and specific issues in personality psychology. Some programs provide the opportunity for you to pursue a specialization within social and personality psychology, such as emotion, personality processes or social identity. Graduate-level programs include lab projects, classroom lectures, practicums and research projects and the chance to explore normal and abnormal social behaviors.