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Psychologist Career Outlook

Dec 04, 2008

A career in psychology can be extremely rewarding. As a psychologist, you will work with people every day, and help them resolve problems. Due to the lengthy amount of schooling required to become a psychologist it is a good idea to research the career outlook for different types of psychologists before committing to a particular field.

Overall, jobs for psychologists are expected to grow 12% between 2008 and 2018. This growth rate is about the same as the average for all occupations. It is expected that the increased demand for psychologists will primarily be in schools, health care services, social services, mental health centers, and treatment clinics.

Entry-level psychologists who have a doctoral degree from a high rating university, or have focused on a specialty, will have the best job prospects. In addition, those who have taken training in quantity of research methods as well as computer science will also have an advantage. It should be noted that there are a limited number of positions in psychology fields for those who carry only a master’s degree level of education. Job opportunities for bachelor’s degree level graduates in psychology will likely be limited to data collection and analysis, or teaching of psychology in a secondary school environment.

The amount of job growth varies for psychologists in different areas. Critical, counseling, and school psychologist’s jobs are projected to grow 11% through 2018, while jobs for industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to grow a significantly higher 26%.

Industrial-organizational psychologists use psychological principles as well as research to improve a worker’s quality of life. They may be involved in reorganizing a workplace in order to increase workers’ productivity. They may also be involved in solving particular work issues along with management. For the most part, psychologists at the industrial-organizational level work as consultants.

All other types of psychology jobs are projected to grow by about 14%. These include social psychologists, research psychologists, and forensic psychologists. Social psychologists observe the way that people interact with each other and their environment. Research psychologists work for private centers, universities, and other organizations to study the behaviors of humans and animals under particular circumstances. Forensic psychologists work in a legal or criminal environment to offer clinical opinions of a defendant’s or witness’s mental health.

One of the major factors affecting the growth rate of jobs in psychology is the shift in thinking regarding unhealthy lifestyle habits. Many employers and insurance companies are realizing that they can save money by helping people improve their health, and psychology has proven effective in assisting people with unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, and poor diets. There is also a demand for psychologists trained in geropsychology – which focuses on the mental health needs of aging individuals.

In the workplace, psychologists are being frequently used to examine employee behaviors in order to make them more productive. Many large organizations are realizing that it is financially worthwhile to have a professional examine their workplace as it will result in a financial advantage in the future.

The career in psychology offers an average salary of $64,140 per year (as of May 2008). Psychologists who work in private practices have more autonomy and can set their own hours. Those who choose to work in a research environment can be responsible for finding new breakthroughs in psychology, which is a very rewarding experience.

It takes many years of training and education to become a psychologist, but if you find that human behavior is fascinating, a career as a psychologist is likely a great choice. Over time, you can build your practice, or switch to other types of psychology to keep it interesting. There will always be a need for qualified psychologists to help every day people feel better.

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