If you're thinking of becoming a psychologist, similar professions exist that you may, or may not have considered. The field of psychology is ever growing and diversifying as the need for therapists, counselors and researchers continue to soar and evolve. However, becoming a psychologist entails years of study, communicating with peers and adapting to new practices and technologies designed with the greater good in mind. So how do you decide whether to join this busy field of experts or boldly venture into a different arena?
Breaking down something as encompassing as psychology into smaller fields of study will produce a laundry list of career titles - everything from academic counselors to youth therapists.
Chances are you're considering a career in psychology because you enjoy learning about people and you want to help others. There are far too many different job titles that involve both of these tenants, so we'll look at a few broad-spectrum fields of study you can use to whittle down these occupations based on your personality and what you choose to pursue.
The first thing that comes to mind when considering the role of a psychologist and similar professions is a career in the medical field. Diagnosing and treating the ailment of a young mother, teaching children proper dental hygiene or caring for the eyesight of an elderly veteran are all noble and potentially fulfilling pursuits. At their core, they are the work of caring individuals looking to bring education, relief and hope to others.
Arguably, one of the fastest growing employment fields in America is the medical and healthcare field - this includes both the medical arts and the business administration aspects of this vocation. While positions in hospital management, billing, human resources, and sanitation are essential, let's focus on those career paths that involve more direct contact with patients than with organizations.
Pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology can be a challenge, requiring many hours of study, communicating with peers and presenting work worthy of the selected educational program. Physicians, dentists, and optometrists must also complete programs of study in their respective fields, then be certified and mentored by others of their specialty before beginning a practice of their own.
To become a licensed healthcare practitioner - a physician, surgeon, chiropractor, veterinarian, optician or pharmacist - you must complete years of learning, earn a doctorate and pass the required licensing qualifications to be recognized in your specialty. For those looking to join the ranks of these esteemed positions, without the doctoral level of study, consider the growing number of assistive level employment positions, where bachelors or even an associate's degree or certification can yield to good-paying jobs.
Nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners are among the fastest growing healthcare provider careers, according to occupational employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While physicians, surgeons, and pediatricians are projected to grow in numbers a little more than 1%, the field of nursing is expected to increase by 15% over the next several years. More than just checking one's blood pressure or tending to a wound, nurses implore several traits similar to psychologists. They assess a person's condition, question them and actively listen, to better diagnose the problem or situation, then suggest and enact a line of treatment. This includes treating patients with mental health problems and addressing their immediate and long-term wellbeing.
Each division of healthcare has its range of assistive level career options. Optometrists utilize opticians and optical assistants, just as veterinarians, dentists, and chiropractors hire and train assistants to perform a variety of tasks. If working with patients or animals, helping others address their health concerns or handling emergency medical situations is your calling, take a look at the many assistive level career options at the forefront of medical arts.
Another growing employment segment that matches psychologist similar professions searches is professional services; namely providing therapy and counseling to those in need.
While there is a difference between being a therapist or a counselor, to being a psychologist, they are similar in that both strive to study the habits, environment, triggers and mental wellbeing of an individual or family; including those of groups and organizations. The intention is to help someone grow, learn and change over time.
You may be familiar with titles such as Youth Counselor, Criminal Psychologist or Social Worker from the captivating storylines on numerous TV dramas. Though not as glamorous as TV would portray, the gritty work of a forensic psychologist or the tireless pursuits of a caseworker can mean all the difference for a family in need of assistance.
Providing therapy or counseling in this manner often does not involve the use of medications for treatment, as many therapists and counselors do not attain the advanced degrees or accreditation a psychiatrist or physician would. As such, they tend to focus on interpersonal treatments and social interactions as the means of working with patients and employers. Still, their services are extremely helpful since many people are seeking online counseling options for figuring out solutions for their problems.
With a bachelors in psychology, you may enjoy a career as a licensed practitioner providing services to schools, nursing facilities, corporate centers or rehabilitation programs, where you will help those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, coping with mental or physical abuse, transitioning into a new career or beating an addiction while incarcerated.
These professionals use their unique abilities to tackle challenging societal problems by being creative, often thinking of new methods or new technologies to aid others. Professional sports teams work with sports psychologists on mental training exercises in addition to physical training and the rehabilitation of injured players.
Occupational therapists strive to help people relearn vocational skills, overcome disabilities or improve their independence through counseling and therapy. Hospitals, treatment centers, and nursing homes all look to hire skilled therapists and counselors to work with people of every age and gender, as they seek personal, familial, and organizational services.
Research And Education
For those who enjoy the study of the mind, human behavior and societal constructs, a career in the expanding field of research could be just what you're looking for. Research psychology involves the systematic study and analysis of groups, individuals and animals by psychologists, to gain academic knowledge for occupational and clinical programs. If you believe you have a good amount of patience, paired with an analytical mindset, then perhaps researching, teaching and educating is for you.
Researchers scientifically explore the tenants of behavior through observation, experimentation, and documentation. Their work can range from the physical study of the brain to how an organization manages its employees. Asking questions, gathering information and recording responses are just some the many aspects of research, with the end goal of presenting your findings to an employer, academic review board or as a published article in a medical or business journal. Social, Cognitive, Experimental Psychologists and Neuropsychologists focus intently on a particular segment of psychology, often undergoing years of academic and peer reviews of their findings.
This is doctorate level work, and certainly not for everyone. However, with the ever-increasing abilities of computers and advancements in technology, there are new opportunities for would-be psychologists seeking similar professions to branch into. Statisticians and research assistants work with private companies and government organizations to research and compile data on many different subjects - think voter opinion polls, consumer purchase patterns, marketing, and brand awareness.
Both emerging companies and seasoned entities utilize aspects of social psychology when deciding upon employee health and wellness programs, skill-building assessments and designing workplace settings. Making this a promising career option for the psychologist, similar professions considered.
When you think of what a teacher is, what comes to mind? Lesson plans, tests, essays, and standards, right? Well, educators do more than just teach lessons and pass grades in a classroom, making this a viable avenue for some job seekers. While many who study psychology may intend to work with patients, the need for quality educators continues to grow.
Educated and dedicated professionals are in demand, using their talents to instruct new students earning a degree or postsecondary credentials in psychology, sociology, political or other social science. Pay is dependent upon your location and level of education, where masters and doctorate level educators earn more than their undergrad counterparts.
Before you decide which profession to pursue, start by assessing your strengths and passions, to help narrow the options to one that you feel more suited towards. For example, if you're a stickler for details and enjoy getting to the root of an issue, then a career in forensic sciences or experimental research may be for you. If you're still thinking of becoming a psychologist, similar professions exist, but psychology may just be your path! As you search, keep in mind your long-term goals as you work to build a challenging and rewarding career.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you are interested in getting a psychology degree, you may want to consider all of the optional career paths. Most careers in psychology require you to have a master’s degree, which you would then choose your specialty in therapy, counseling, or social work. You may even get your Ph.D. and become a psychiatrist. The options don’t stop there. Similar professions to careers in psychology include working in health care, law enforcement, human resources, or research.
Yes, and one reason that psychology is a great career choice is that it opens up a wide range of career paths to choose from. After obtaining your psychology degree, you can move on to get your master’s degree in the specialty of your choice. You may choose the field of industrial-organizational psychology, social work, or even educational psychology. Psychology can open up the doors into many similar professions, and you may even choose the option of gaining a doctoral degree and becoming a psychiatrist.
According to a psychology job information site, clinical psychologists and counselors are becoming the highest in demand. Clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists are needed in hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies to help patients with a wide range of conditions. Health care professionals are extremely high in demand as well, and a career path in healthcare is similar to a psychology career path.
According to a medically reviewed article, the two highest paying careers in psychology are psychiatry and industrial organization psychology. As these fields in psychology are high in demand, clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists are some of the highest in demand. Any field of psychology related to healthcare or organizational success is best and predicted to be on the rise in the upcoming years.
Psychology coursework is considered by many to be interesting and engaging. However, to find success in the field of psychology or a career similar to psychology, it is wise to obtain a master’s degree. What you will learn in the school of psychology is highly valuable and can be applied anywhere to your life, but the hard part is the time it may take, especially if you want to obtain a doctoral degree. Some fields similar to psychology can take a shorter amount of time, such as a degree in human resources, law enforcement, or nursing.
Psychology careers are high in demand, especially in the field of healthcare. School psychologists are also high in demand, and the demand for these fields is expected to grow 22% in the upcoming years, according to a career site.
No, psychology is a very valuable degree that can lead to a wide variety of career paths. There are a large number of people earning this degree, so the job hunt may be more competitive, but the demand is also on the rise.
Salaries for psychology careers vary, depending on the specialization one chooses, but typically psychologists are paid well. The highest-paid psychologists have doctorates and are able to diagnose and treat various conditions. With a master’s degree, there are still many options for a well-paid psychology career.
The highest paid psychologist is a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is considered a a medical professional and is able to diagnose and treat conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and personality disorders.
Careers in healthcare are at the top of the list of future demand, closely followed by construction and personal care fields.
According to an article by BBC News, New Zealand has the highest demand for clinical psychologists and educational psychologists. Sweden is next in the running for the highest demand for psychologists in any field. In the USA, employment of psychologists is expected to grow 3 percent between now and 2029.
The 3 branches of psychology today include:
This depends on the type of psychologist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some average annual salaries for different types of psychologists:
Those with doctoral degrees will earn a higher annual salary.
Yes, a psychologist can have tattoos. Some workplaces prefer tattoos to be covered up, but tattoos are so common in this day and age, they are not usually seen as a big deal.