Exploring Top Psychology Careers

August 12th, 2014 by

Psychology CareersPsychology is the study of human behavior, brain activity and why we, as humans, do what we do. Such a subject is fascinating for all kinds of people, making psychology one of the most popular degree options at the college level.

While it is always important to pick a college degree that interests you and stimulates you personally, it is also vital to look ahead and see what kind of careers are available within the field.

The following are just a few of the top psychology careers in terms of salary, growth and interest.

Career Counselor

After an economic downturn, a number of people across the United States and even the world are changing careers or having second thoughts about their planned field of employment.

A career counselor is tasked with helping others to determine their strengths and weaknesses to find the perfect form of employment.

Some of the daily tasks of a career counselor might be to meet with large corporations and find out what groups are being hired or are in demand currently, administer aptitude tests for clients and evaluate personality traits in order to help narrow down the available job options.

Career counselors may work in a local community or library to help unemployed adults, they may work privately with clients who are thinking about switching careers later in life, or they may work in education within a high school or even a college.

School Psychologist

One of the fastest-growing fields in all of psychology is school psychology. Just a few decades ago, there were almost zero psychologists employed in individual places of education.

Today, however, many state regulations and federal laws stipulate that there must be a school psychologist for every school or every thousand students.

This means substantial job growth and a number of opportunities for those who enjoy working with children. A school psychologist might spend much of their day meeting one-on-one with students who need help adjusting to school, have behavioral problems or who are struggling in any way.

Some school psychologists work in an office in one school, but many others travel to multiple schools within a district over the course of the work week.

Forensic Psychologist

Thanks to the glamorization of forensic psychology in current books and television shows, the career is a popular choice for many psychology students. Forensic psychology is a field that bridges the gap between the criminal justice system and the study of psychology and human behavior.

The job of a forensic psychologist is often to determine whether a person has any psychological problems and whether they are mentally healthy.

Some of the things that a forensic psychologist might do in their line of work could be interviewing a potential witness in a court case to ensure that they are mentally competent, evaluating the mental health of a perpetrator who is using mental health as a defense, providing psychotherapy to the victims of violent crimes or perhaps asking a young child questions about their home life in the event of a messy divorce.

Working as a forensic psychologist is rarely as glamorous as it is described on television, but it can be a fulfilling and rewarding career for the right person.

Genetic Counselor

This career is a recent addition to the list of occupations within the field of psychology. With the increasing technology in genetic screening, many parents are finding out that their unborn children have genetic disorders months before the labor ever begins.

Having this information can be advantageous in terms of medical and mental preparation, but it can also be overwhelming to parents who aren’t sure how to prepare or act in the months ahead.

Genetic counselors meet with parents in order to talk them through their concerns and help them to feel stable leading up to the birth of their child.

Genetic counselors may also meet with individuals who have genetic disorders and who opt not to pass down the traits to children, a process that can also be challenging to those who wrestle with how to make the decision.

Explore psychology degrees that can lead to your career in counseling or psychology.

Sports Psychologist

When most people think about what it takes to be an exceptional athlete, they think about years of training, nutrition, excellent coaching or perhaps peak physical condition.

However, athletic excellence is often just as much mental as it is physical. For that reason, many professional and college sports team hire sports psychologists to work with players.

Just some of the typical tasks of a sports psychologist might include counseling sessions with a player who has been injured, meeting with the team to discuss how they feel after a particularly big loss or win or even meeting with coaches to help them encourage and inspire their players during training practices.

A sports psychologist might work in a range of different environments as diverse as a university research center, a professional sports team, a hospital or even a fitness facility.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

One of the most lucrative positions in the field of psychology is that of the industrial-organizational psychologist. While many people have never even heard of this particular career, it is an integral part of many large businesses and international corporations.

Industrial-organizational psychology is the study of how to improve productivity and happiness within the workplace. The objective is to have employees who are content in their positions, work hard to please their managers, feel understood and appreciated by superiors and who are suited to their particular careers within the company.

Some of the tasks that an industrial-organizational psychologist might do could include interviewing candidates to determine their personality and cohesiveness with the company before hire, ensuring that conditions are suitable for maximum productivity and discussing ways that the business could create happier employees with owners or executives.

Addiction Counselor

Dealing with an addiction can be a lifelong struggle, and just one of the ways to beat addiction is to engage in regular counseling sessions with an addiction counselor.

An addiction counselor might work in a recovery center with inpatients on an intensive schedule, leading group therapy sessions or one-on-one with patients.

An addiction counselor might be tasked with helping addicts break the cycle of their drug or alcohol addiction, or they might help them to maintain sobriety decades after they abused these kinds of stimulants.

Some addiction counselors even meet with the friends, family or children of addicts to help them work through their own emotions, guilt or stress related to addiction. Being an addiction counselor requires an education in psychology, of course, but is also requires flexibility and patience.

If you are a great communicator, a good listener and you want to take on a challenging position that makes a difference, then working as an addiction counselor can be a good fit within the field of psychology.

Psychology is a fascinating subject, and there are dozens of different types of careers that you can pursue within the field. Along with working as a psychologist in a private practice, you might want to consider a position like school psychologist, forensic psychologist, industrial-organizational psychologist, addiction counselor, genetic counselor, sports psychologist or career counselor. Find your way to your career through an online degree. Start at

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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