Career Options After Pursuing a Degree in Psychology
Choosing a major or a degree field to go into after graduating from high school is one of the more difficult things that recently graduated young adults have to go through. Many different aspects of a future career field are evaluated to help the individual in choosing the best career path for them. These evaluations include required education, salary, future places of employment and most importantly, what an employee in this specific area of employment will be doing. Choosing to earn a degree in Psychology offers many different possibilities for future areas of employment that can fit almost any type of person. In addition to the diversity of the field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an increase in psychology job opportunities over the next decade due to increased demands for these services in education, law, hospitals, and private companies along with many more options (BLS, 2010). With so many different areas of society requiring these services pursuing a degree in psychology opens up many career paths outside the commonly stereotyped job description of psychologists. Even though many people assume that clinical psychology or other types of therapy are the only options with this degree, an individual in this study can go into fields such as neuropsychology, developmental psychology, and educational psychology.
A neuropsychologist is one who has received a doctoral degree, typically a PhD, from an accredited American Psychological Association university along with completing the one year internship required for the degree, and a two year training period within a neuropsychology practice (Moberg,2006). The job description includes, studying the relations among brain structure and behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and sensory and perceptual functions along with the diagnosing and treatment of disorders related to the central nervous system. Most neuropsychologists organize and conduct academic research relating to the aforementioned topics, along with assisting and witnessing testimony in court cases that involve judgment to the psychological conditions of the people involved. Outside of the court system, neuropsychologists usually work in laboratories, along side medical professionals at hospitals, or privately making starting salaries between $60,089 and $91,476 annually.
After some years of experience an accredited neuropsychologist can make anywhere up to $300,000 a year, but the average yearly salary as of 2010 was approximately $127,460 (BLS, 2010). On top of earning a relatively large wage neuropsychologists report to having overall high job satisfaction, with less than twenty percent of them considering changing jobs or leaving the psychology field for a different one all together (Moberg, 2006). Being strongly interested in the functioning of the central nervous system and wanting to go into an area of research would make neuropsychology a top choice for anyone interested in pursuing a doctoral psychology degree.
For a person who is more interested in a field dealing with people as a whole and not just the internal functioning of them, developmental psychology could be a possible career option. A developmental psychologist is someone who studies human growth and development that occurs throughout the entire lifespan. This includes biological development, but also focuses on cognitive, social, intellectual, personality, and emotional growth. Although the specific tasks of the psychologists vary based on the area they specialize in, most of them perform research and evaluations in the area of their study, such as studying a particular age range (Beilock, 2012). For example one could study how moral reasoning develops in children, or how people influence the personalities of others. Many developmental psychologists work in educational settings at colleges or universities where they conduct research as well as teach courses. Others could possibly be employed at teen rehabilitation centers, psychiatric clinics, government agencies, etc.
The education required to become a developmental psychologist is a master or doctoral degree (PhD) with those holding the doctoral degree more in demand and having the greater range for employment options. The earned income of a developmental psychologist is also highly varied due to area of employment and subtopic of study. Those employed in offices of other health practitioners earn around $68,400 annually while those employed at Individual and family services earn $57,440 a year (BLS, 2010). A career in developmental psychology allows for diversity among studies and the ability to change topics while still staying in your general field.
Another non clinical or therapy related career in the area of psychology is education psychology. Going in this direction involves conducting research on how people learn, and/or designing methods and materials to enhance learning and intellectual, social, and emotional development. This area includes a number of other regions of psychology including developmental, cognitive, and behavioral. Based on the title of this career it is highly possible that an educational psychologist would be working in elementary and secondary schools, along with colleges and universities. Another possible place of employment is with government agencies specializing in education. As an educational psychologist a person could work on curriculum development, incorporationg technology into education, or the studying of gifted learners or those with learning disabilities (Doovis, 2013) The salary earned by educational psychologists was not absolutely defined, however it would have some variation pertaining to where one was employed. A
ccording the Bureau of Labor Statistics general psychologists could earn anywhere between $66,810 and $89,900 depending on who was employed where and experience of each individual (BLS, 2010). Educational psychology would be a good career for individuals interested in the betterment of educational system to produce more productive adults for society, as well as a good place for people who enjoy working with kids through young adults.
Psychology degrees contain such a wide area of options for employment that almost anyone could find a job they enjoy with this major. Many of these areas also contain sub level areas for example, a person could possibly be a developmental psychologist working with elderly people on how they learn and obtain information and the connections their brain makes while doing this. Overall, whichever area of psychology one may choose to go into after receiving their psychology degree will provide many benefits to our society whether its improved schools, understanding of mental disorders, understanding of development, or even counseling. The career options are
Beilock, C. L. (2012). Areas of Development in Developmental Psychology. Topics in Cognitive Science, 4, 731-739. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost
Dozois, D. J. A.1. (2013). Psychological Treatments: Putting Evidence Into Practice and Practice Into Evidence. Canadian Psychology, 54, 1-11. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost
Moberg, P.J (2006). The TCN/AACN 2005 “Salary Survey”: Professional Practices, Beliefs, and Incomes of U.S. Neuropsychologists. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 20, 325-364. Retrieved from Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010). Occupational Outlook Handbook (2009-2010 ed.). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm