Psychology Degree Articles and Advice

A degree in psychology can open doors to many exciting career opportunities in the fields of education, healthcare, and social work. Psychologists work with patients to diagnose, analyze, and prescribe treatment for mental disorders, depression, and other emotional problems. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are not permitted to prescribe drugs or give certain medical treatments. Instead, they use therapy and other procedures that help patients develop skills to cope with issues.

What Degree Do Psychologists Have?

Psychologists can take a degree in general or criminal psychology, educational psychology, clinical psychology or social psychology depending on the field in which they would like to work. In general:

  • General psychologists work with patients who are seeking counseling for issues such as marital or relationships problems, family dysfunction, or improvement of their lives.
  • Criminal psychologists diagnose disorders that lead to crime or victimization and work with these individuals to solve these issues.
  • Educational psychologists diagnose learning disorders and help teachers and other educational professionals devise ways to help these students.
  • Clinical psychologists specialize in particular clinical issues such as depression, drug addiction, or mental illnesses.
  • Social psychologists work with individuals and families who are suffering from problems getting or keeping a job, caring for family members, or interacting with peers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychology degrees are given at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. The level of education that a student seeks depends on previous degrees and the job in which the student is interested. Bachelor’s degrees in psychology are usually a stepping stone to entry-level jobs or to higher degrees; for example, most educational psychologists are required to have master’s degrees, and must have a bachelor’s in psychology prior to applying to graduate school. Clinical psychologists usually have a doctorate.

What Do Psychologists Do?

Besides the general divisions of psychology, there are many sub-divisions and specialties in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most psychologists are required to:

  • Conduct experiments and studies to identify behavior and the function of the brain
  • Interview, survey, and test research subjects
  • Identify behavior patterns that lead to understanding issues and problems
  • Work with individuals and groups to find solutions to behavioral issues
  • Develop programs that encourage solutions to mental health issues
  • Help individuals and groups make desired behavioral changes
  • Diagnose mental disorders
  • Develop and implement treatment for mental disorders
  • Work with other professionals to treat patients with mental and emotional issues

How Much Do Psychologists Earn?

The earnings of psychologists are highly dependent on their level of education and the area of psychology they practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual salary of all psychologists is $68,640. However, industrial or organizational psychologists earn a median annual salary of $87,330; clinical and school psychologists and counselors earn a median annual salary of $66,810; and all other types of psychologists earn $89,900 per year.

Psychologists who work for larger organizations, government agencies, and schools tend to earn higher salaries and have better benefits. Psychologists who choose to open their own practices usually earn small salaries at first but can build their business to the point that they make more than those employed by other agencies.

What Is The Job Outlook for Psychologists?

The BLS states that jobs in the field of psychology are expected to grow by 22 percent overall between now and 2020. This is faster than the national average for all jobs and represents projected growth in several critical fields such as substance abuse counseling, youth counseling, and educational psychology. Many industries and fields are finding great benefit to using psychologists, including the retail industry. Commercial psychologists work with marketing experts to determine what drives people to buy certain products, for example. Human resources is also hiring a large number of psychology majors, realizing that the background in understanding thought processes is valuable for those who want to motivate workers and understand their behavior.

Prospective psychologists should be compassionate and caring individuals with a desire to help others. Anyone interested in a career in psychology should also be able to handle detail well and stay organized, as there is a great deal of documentation involved in this job. Finally, strong research and reading skills are valuable to those who want to become psychologists.

Psychology can be a challenging and rewarding career field for those who want to work with and counsel others to help them live better lives.

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