Jobs in the field of psychology vary from forensics to research to counseling and can be very rewarding. Working in this field requires dedication and a love of learning, as most jobs in this field require advanced degrees and continuing education once you are licensed to work in your field. Psychology training will offer insight when it comes to many jobs (such as human resources or sales). It might also be beneficial to look into related fields like social work or education when choosing your major and select psychology as a minor, or to consider a double major. While graduate programs typically require some psychology coursework, a major in the field is generally not necessary for certain careers.
Psychology Schools By State
Psychology Career Outlook
Career options in counseling psychology include mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and chemical dependency counseling. Practicing in any of these fields will require a license to practice. Specific qualifications for a license vary from state to state, but most generally require completion of a master’s degree program (except for chemical dependency counseling which could require as little as an associate’s degree depending on your state and level of license), internship, and passing a state exam. Once you are practicing, continued education will be required to keep your license up-to-date. These careers are very hands-on—you often work with people during the most difficult moments in their lives, and giving them the tools to work through those times is hugely fulfilling. In addition to counseling sessions, these jobs will include writing progress notes and case planning. If you have interest in master’s level work in psychology but not in a counseling setting, consider a terminal master’s degree in psychology (‘terminal’ meaning simply that you do not intend to continue on to complete a doctorate degree), which will enable you to work as a research assistant or as an assistant to counseling and clinical psychologists.
If you choose to pursue doctoral studies in psychology, the most common career options are in experimental research, forensic psychology, school psychology, clinical or counseling psychology, and psychology education. Much like mental health counseling, clinical and counseling psychologists are required to hold state licenses, and job descriptions typically include holding therapy sessions with patients, developing case plans, and writing progress notes. The major difference between psychologists and counselors in mental health is the level of education, and therefore the level of expertise. School psychologists specialize in working with educators in school settings, while forensic psychologists typically work with law enforcement and the justice system to evaluate those involved in criminal activity. Experimental psychologists conduct research, usually in an academic setting.
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