Careers in Psychology
Psychology is one of the most popular majors at many colleges and universities. During the study of psychological science students acquire a fundamental and flexible skillset that prepares them for real-life situations.
Therefore, it is no surprise that a student majoring in psychology may successfully find employment in a wide range of careers that are not directly related to psychology. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, only 5% of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are working in psychology or in an occupation related to psychology.
What are some of these fundamental and flexible skills?
- Students take courses on how people think and behave in various situations in ordinary as well as extreme cases.
- Students are exposed to the scientific method of data collection and analysis that has very practical application in many occupations.
- Students gain critical thinking skills by studying and applying various psychological paradigms and theories to problem-solving.
- Students hone written and oral communication skills through essays, group projects, and class participation.
Mastery of these skills makes students very attractive to employers that are seeking broadly educated employees. A bachelor’s in psychology can be applied to jobs in almost every industry that involves influencing human behavior such as business, counseling, teaching, and social services.
Psychology is the science of behavior, both in humans and nonhuman animals. The subject is very broad, with many sub-fields. Psychologists can work in many different research areas, and pursue a variety of careers.
Here is a look at some of the sub-fields in psychology:
- Clinical psychologists — Assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
- Cognitive and perceptual psychologists — Study human perception, thinking, and memory.
- Counseling psychologists — Provide counseling services to individuals, groups, and organizations (schools, hospitals) to help people cope with problems.
- Developmental psychologists — Study psychological development at various life stages.
- Educational psychologists — Study how teaching and learning take place.
- Engineering psychologists — Study how people work best with machines.
- Experimental psychologists — Gather data on how humans and animals respond to their environment through research that involves manipulating variables in a laboratory setting.
- Forensic psychologists — Apply psychological principles to legal issues.
- Health psychologists — Examine how various factors affect health and illness, as well as effective ways to control pain or change habits.
- Industrial/organizational psychologists — Apply psychological research and principles to the workplace to improve productivity and quality of work life.
- Neuropsychologists — Explore relationships between brain systems and behavior, including issues of memory, brain injuries, diseases, and brain function.
- School psychologists — Work with schools to counsel students and consult with parents and staff.
- Sport psychologists — Work with athletes on issues of anxiety, fear of failure, focus, motivation, and competition.
A large percentage of alumni enter graduate school to specialize in one of the subfields of psychology or to pursue law, public health, social work, or occupational therapy. Ultimately, graduates have found positions with employers such as:
- Early Childhood Education Institute
- Sensient Technologies
- KGH Autism Services
- Quarles & Brady LLP
- YWCA of Lake County (Ill.)
- CareerBuilder Employment Screening
- SC Johnson
- Open Wings
- Sonnenberg Consultant LLC