A single career in psychology and counseling can positively affect hundreds of lives. Studies have found clients of psychologists tend to live happier, balanced, more goal-oriented lives. As a result, students concerned with making a difference in the mental health of their community have recently gravitated towards this career. The U.S. labor market agrees: jobs in psychology have grown exponentially since the early 1980s.
Psychologists have improved societyâ€™s overall understanding of human and animal behavior. The modern diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse and the finding of multiple learning personality types in children are two breakthrough examples attributed directly to psychological research.
Principally, psychologists and counselors analyze peopleâ€™s intent. They believe personal cognitive, behavioral, and emotional actions can be understood through interpretation and testing. Analysis leads to comprehensive client profiles used to diagnose possible disorders, disabilities, or problems, as well as building programs to modify behavior.
Clinical, Counseling, and School psychologists are the three main professional types. Clinical psychologists focus on mental disorders through direct (often private) individual assessments; Counseling psychologists focus on mental, physical, and social problems in everyday life; and School Psychologists help the social, behavioral, academic and emotional well-being of young people. A psychologist can move within each type by attaining proper education and certificate permits. Specialties within each type are also available. Clinical specialties, for example, include health psychology, neuropsychology, geropsychology, and child psychology.
Extensive education and training are required to become a psychologist. The two most common degrees are Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), which focuses on practice-on-patients-based education like medicine, and research-based Ph.D. programs that take up to six years of postgraduate studies. Either can help psychologists qualify for types of teaching, research and counseling jobs. People with three-year specialist (Ed.S.) or master's degree in psychology may also work as psychologists in less prestigious, but no less demanding positions, usually in government.
A psychologist needs a variety of highly defined skills to be successful. He needs to be an active, attentive listener, needs to understand and convey information effectively, and must always use logic and reason to reach conclusions.
Psychologists work in different types of workplaces. About 40% of them run their own practice but many work for school districts, hospitals, and government groups. Educational institutions employed 29 percent of psychologists in 2009 and 21 percent were in healthcare.
What's it like to be psychologist on a daily basis? You need to consult reference books, keep up with the latest research studies, counsel people as individuals or groups, and develop proper treatment plans as needed. You also need a flexible working schedule that makes you available on evenings and weekend.
In order to work as a psychologist, trained students need to pass certification or licensing tests specific to their State or specialty. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides certification to thirteen different types of psychology areas, including forensic, group, school, and clinical health.
The current outlook of a career in psychology is good due an increase in the number of jobs (10% over the next ten years) and growing demand for services. More people now accept that mental therapy is a good way to change problematic behaviors such as alcoholism, obesity, and addiction, and more are likely to accept it in the future.
Schools in the U.S. offer some of the most prestigious undergraduate and graduate psychology programs anywhere. UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Illinois, Yale, and Michigan are among the top graduate-level University programs. The University of Phoenix is likely the only for-profit college that can help students reach the higher institutions.
U.S. Outlook and Salary
Low, Median, and High Pay Rates in 2009
Low (10%): $18.88 Hourly / $39,300 Yearly
Median: $31.75 Hourly / $66,000 Yearly
High (90%): $52.63 Hourly / $109,500 Yearly
Top Median Wage in U.S. States for 2010
- Colorado: $39.69 Hourly / $82,600 Annually
- New Jersey: $38.76 Hourly / $80,600 Annually
- Ohio: $38.18 Hourly / $79,400 Annually
- CALIFORNIA: $37.42 Hourly / $77,800 Annually
- New York: $36.99 Hourly / $76,900 Annually
- Rhode Island: $36.14 Hourly / $75,200 Annually
- Connecticut: $34.59 Hourly / $71,900 Annually
- Delaware: $34.56 Hourly / $71,900 Annually
- Nevada: $33.99 Hourly / $70,700 Annually
- Massachusetts: $33.66 Hourly / $70,000 Annually