Psychologists study the mental processes and actions of people to gather data that help them to explain and predict human behavior. These professionals examine the effects of attitudes, feelings and emotions on individuals to better understand them and their relationships with others. They formulate hypotheses that they assess through scientific methods and rely heavily on observation and experimentation to gather evidence to test their beliefs. In addition, they conduct interviews, distribute questionnaires, and lead clinical studies to determine the validity of their ideas.
The research undertaken in psychology careers can deeply impact and enhance the health and well-being of others. For example, research findings have better enabled practitioners to diagnose and to treat substance abuse, help individuals modify detrimental behaviors, provide appropriate counsel to couples and to families, and improve students’ academic performance. Psychologists also understand how workplace efficiency and productivity can be improved across various industries because of what they have learned from studies on human motivation and personality development.
Through coursework that will strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, psychology students are equipped with the skills needed to work with diverse populations. Graduates may pursue psychology jobs in settings such as hospitals, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses and universities. Their responsibilities may include treating mental disorders, developing policies and procedures for workplace personnel and teaching courses in the discipline. In every psychology job description, training rooted in theory, practice and research is an essential requirement.
Professionals can opt to enter their choice of psychology careers. A practitioner’s psychology resume may include one or more work experiences that correspond with his interests and areas of specialty.
- Clinical psychologists work to treat and prevent mental disorders. This may include assisting others who suffer from specific mental illnesses such as depression, as well as those who contend with personal issues. Therapy sessions provide opportunities for patients to discuss their concerns with which these professionals help them cope. Clinical psychologists practice in private offices, hospitals and universities, and some may also work in rehabilitation and community mental health centers.
- Counseling psychologists advise individuals how to manage issues of everyday life and may counsel individuals either one-on-one or in groups. Their work generally takes place in private offices, counseling centers and hospitals.
- School psychologists work collaboratively with teachers, parents and students to create positive schooling environments for students. They assess students’ learning and behavioral problems and recommend strategies to support their development and socialization. School psychologists may practice on-site in schools as well as in school district administrative offices and private offices.
- Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological research to workplace settings. They train and counsel personnel, develop policies and analyze operations to enhance productivity. These professionals can work in business and industry as well as in nonprofit and government agencies.
- Developmental psychologists examine physiological, cognitive and social development across the lifespan. They may concentrate their research on a specific population to understand the behaviors of a certain group. Developmental psychologists often work in universities and research centers.
- Social psychologists study how people interact with others and their environment. They may act as organizational and marketing consultants, and may specialize in a specific area. The work of social psychologists can take place in an array of settings such as in universities, research centers and businesses.
- Research psychologists study concepts such as motivation, attention and memory by examining the behaviors of humans and laboratory animals. Their work is heavily experimental and produces findings that inform the field. Generally, these practitioners work in university and research settings.
- Psychology professors teach courses in the discipline in colleges and universities. In addition to class instruction, these individuals may conduct research in an area of interest.