The demand for psychologists, especially those who specialize in specific fields, appears to be promising over the next decade. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly wage for psychologists in 2012 was $69,280, averaging out to an hourly wage of approximately $33.00 per hour.
On February 5, 2014, ABC News named the 20 fastest-growing jobs over the next eight years. Number one on the list was industrial-organizational psychologists, a specialty expected to increase at a rate of 53% and bring in a median annual salary of over $83,000. Psychologists with other applied specialties, such as school psychology, were also predicted to do well.
Psychologists study human behavior, recording and comparing data to better understand how individuals, groups, and social systems operate. There are several kinds of psychologists, including the following:
• Counseling psychologists help people deal with problems like addictions, personality disorders, and relationships.
• Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders. They fall into two categories: neuropsychologists, who specialize in brain injuries, and health psychologists, who work with psychological issues that affect physical health. Clinical psychologists usually work with other medical professionals to determine the most effective treatments and track patients’ progress.
• Industrial-organizational, or I-O, psychologists use their skills in the workplace to increase productivity, improve working conditions, increase morale, and help employees get along with each other. They may also influence hiring decisions and company policy.
• School psychologists work with students and administrators to improve learning, communication, and productivity in schools or educational systems.
• Forensic psychologists consult with judges, law enforcement, and court systems to figure out the motivation and causes of criminal behavior. They may also testify as expert witnesses or assist in jury selection.
• Developmental psychologists study the different stages of life and often devote their practices to specific areas, such as adolescent or geriatric populations.
• Social psychologists examine society at large, looking for ways to decrease negative interactions and encourage groups of people to live peacefully together.
Psychologists have the option of working in a wide range of environments. Approximately one-third are self-employed; some consult or work with other professionals or teams while others work entirely alone. Research psychologists often work for universities, medical institutions, or government agencies while educational psychologists and organizational psychologists find employment in schools or corporations. Flexibility of schedules and pay scales vary, depending on job descriptions and places of employment.
Psychologists usually hold a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology, but some positions may require only a graduate degree or specialty. School psychologists, on the other hand, require an advanced degree consisting of 60 additional credit hours and a related internship. People with bachelor’s degrees in psychology usually work in other fields, such as education or business administration. Although requirements vary in different states, all psychologists must pass tests and meet rigorous standards for licensing, registration, and certification.
Being a psychologist requires an analytical mind, a capacity for solving problems, an ability to understand and get along with others, good communication skills, and a sharp eye for observing people’s actions and motivations. Given these traits, good education, and adequate training, a psychologist should be able to find an area of specialization that suits his individual interests and personality. Most specialties have professional organizations that provide additional information about requirements and expectations in a given area.
With the current rate of growth and median salary, psychologists can expect diverse and lucrative opportunities in the job market over the next few years.