Most people think psychology is about studying the workings of the brain and that the only way to use this learning is to become a therapist. That’s not true. For decades, the field of psychology has been regarded as the “jack of all trades” as it provides eager individuals with the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths. Now, individuals with a psychological background can work for law enforcement agencies, schools, and clinics, spend time researching the behavior of animals, become industrial-organizational psychologists, and so on. Overall, the field of psychology doesn’t fall short in terms of specialization in any way.
Many students struggle when it comes to picking an area of specialty. It is, after all, an important step, so you’ll want to ensure you get it right. The trick is to identify your calling and passion and choose accordingly. But first, you need to know what your options are. In this regard, here are some good examples of the best career specializations for psychology students:
1. School psychology
School psychology is known to study the settings, teachers, and learning methods that can improve a student’s learning.
School psychologists evaluate pupils’ learning styles and propose any modifications they might require. It can entail teaching strategies that better fit a student’s learning preferences.
An educational psychologist can identify learning impairments and devise therapy strategies. In addition to assisting in developing curricula, school psychologists also use their professional skills to improve learning environments such as classrooms. They frequently work in public school systems or serve as consultants for teachers and parents.
While a specialist or master’s degree is required to work as a school psychologist, candidates who wish to expand to a more advanced level must attain a PsyD. Nowadays, achieving higher credentials has become easier – thanks to eLearning. Thus, potential candidates can enroll in PsyD programs online and advance in their field.
2. Research psychology
Research psychology, like the other specialties on our list, has a variety of applications that make it a fascinating career choice. As a research psychologist, you can focus on a persistent mental illness like schizophrenia and work to advance everyone’s knowledge of the disorder’s origins and the effectiveness of particular therapies.
You may employ your research expertise to investigate issues of social conduct and the elements that cause some individuals to comply with group standards while preventing others. Furthermore, to obtain career opportunities in research psychology, you must have a master’s or a doctorate.
3. Counseling psychology
Counseling is yet another area of specialization in psychology. Counseling psychologists frequently deal with patients who have milder mental illnesses. The primary goal of counseling psychology is to offer therapeutic interventions to struggling patients. The Society of Counseling Psychology defines it as “a specialization within psychology that emphasises refining individual and interpersonal functioning across the life span.”
Furthermore, this specialty addresses social, educational, emotional, occupational, developmental, health-related, and organizational issues. In terms of education, most states require a minimum of a master’s in counseling or psychology. But expanding your studies can help you develop professionally and gain more opportunities in the industry.
4. Organizational psychology
Organizational psychology is the study of how individuals interact with their working environments. These psychologists collaborate with businesses to create techniques that maximize worker happiness and output. They learn how to alter office surroundings, so workers are more at ease and promote productivity.
Organizational psychologists can offer hiring assistance and evaluate job applicants to see if they’re a suitable fit for a business. Psychologists who select this specialty can also work in educational settings or for government organizations that aim to improve working conditions. Aspiring candidates begin their organizational psychology careers by earning a master’s in psychology. Moreover, higher degrees lead to advanced roles in organizational psychology.
5. Behavioral and cognitive psychology
Connecting people’s behavior and emotions is the focus of behavioral and cognitive psychology. With the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis, social learning theories, and emotional processing, these psychologists assist people and groups in maintaining positive patterns and discouraging problematic behaviors.
While some behavioral and cognitive psychologists treat patients using a mix of therapies, others conduct trials and research to learn more about human development and mental patterns. Typically, behavioral and cognitive psychologists must hold a PsyD or Ph.D. While in some states, counselors with only a master’s degree may be eligible to provide cognitive-behavioral treatment.
6. Clinical neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology, which concentrates on studying human behavior, is one of psychology’s more highly specialized subfields. These specialists deal with people who have neurobehavioral disorders, for example, learning difficulties, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, and traumatic brain injuries.
Clinical neuropsychologists must be up-to-date on the behavioral signs of neurological illnesses and neuroscience principles. A degree and some postdoctoral study are frequently needed to pursue this type of psychology employment, given its specialized nature.
7. Addiction psychology
This area of specialization focuses on researching ways to treat addicts. Psychologists with this area of expertise might work in hospitals or rehab facilities, offering people addiction counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Students study the origins of addictions and how to identify this issue in their patients when they specialize.
Finishing a clinical internship at a recovery facility is a typical way to learn about addiction treatment. To become an addiction psychologist, you will need a master’s degree in psychology or social work.
8. Forensic psychology
The fields of psychology and criminology are combined in forensic psychology. In law enforcement, forensic psychologists can look into crimes, defend victims, and testify in court. They might assess potential suspects and testimonies and assist with the evidence review. Some work in criminal profiling to identify and capture offenders, while some work in the prison system to provide therapy services.
Forensic psychology research may be conducted on topics like ambition and mental illness in criminals. The typical route to becoming a forensic psychologist includes a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology. Moreover, most forensic psychologists are licensed, meaning they passed the EPPP.
As you can see, psychology students have many fantastic areas of career specialization. The ones mentioned in this article are both in-demand and financially rewarding. So, pick an area that fuels your passions and offers something new to you every day. For instance, countless specializations focus on research, while others primarily diagnose and assess clients. By considering your potential and passion, you can choose a discipline that offers the most satisfaction.