Psychology is a fascinating career choice for people interested in how their peers work and interact with everything. Not only do you get to observe firsthand what people go through in their lives and how they cope with it, you also end up helping these individuals and improving their lives.
Human beings are complicated creatures with complicated problems. There is rarely a simple black and white solution to a problem, and often many factors have to be taken into account. This is why the justice system is so intricately designed and why so many laws exist about almost every possible scenario. Training to become a psychologist can be taxing as well, so when you are finally ready, just what career path should you choose?
Why Does The Correct Career Path Matter?
Choosing the correct career path for yourself is not only important in psychology of course; taking on the wrong job could end up with you being frustrated and your quality of work declining at a worrying pace. The only thing different when it comes to psychology is that you won’t only be ruining your own life, but possibly dozens of other lives as well.
If you don’t carefully consider the path you go down, you might end up doing a lot more harm than good. You’ll lose interest fast, and that will affect your treatment of your patients, leading to disaster. And if you end up losing the job because of unsatisfactory work, it will affect future employment opportunities as well. So be sure to take out some time and thoroughly consider each possible career path and if you’re ready for it.
Would you believe, the position most confused with basic psychology is actually the most lucrative option for psychologists. Psychiatry is what comes to mind when people not familiar with the field hear the word ‘psychology’. The difference between a psychologist and a professional psychiatrist is that while the psychologist focuses on psychotherapy alone, the psychiatrist is allowed to diagnose patients with illnesses, try out various other treatments, and prescribe medication. So if you think you have the patience to listen to people’s woes and help them via any means necessary, psychiatry might just be for you.
Median Annual Salary: $177,250.
Military psychology is an interesting branch of psychology that might be worth a look. Military psychologists, expectedly, need to be well-trained in order to be employed. These psychologists work solely with serving and retired military personnel as well as their families. Understandably, these psychologists focus more on studying and preparing for handling trauma and other mental issues found amongst soldiers and their affected families. Counselling for postwar PTSD is common and the psychologist gets a front seat view into the minds of society’s toughest individuals.
Median Annual Salary: $120,553.
Neuropsychology is one of the more demanding fields of psychology; requiring you to have multiple degrees and accomplishments under your belt as well as a thorough understanding of how the brain works. Neuropsychologists can navigate the human mind like the back of their hand, and mostly deal with patients that are suffering from some sort of brain damage or illness. Neuropsychology is a much more careful dance of carrying out tests than clinical psychology. There is a lot more guesswork and educated guesses instead of simply being handed all the patient’s problems on a verbal plate.
Median Annual Salary: $90,460.
A very different branch of psychology; experimental psychologists are the scientists of the psychology world. As an experimental psychologist you are expected to conduct research on a variety of psychology related phenomena using the scientific method (i.e. rationally with concrete hypothesis and proofs). Though experimental psychologists can interact with research subjects, they are more of an observer sort and generally stick to trying out various theories to gauge the results and improve on them.
Median Annual Salary: $88,400.
Clinical psychologists are what you might call traditional psychologists. These are the psychologists most people think about when they hear the word ‘psychology’. And indeed, clinical psychologists are the ones that are often confused with psychiatrists, though there is a huge gap. As a clinical psychologist you listen to patients’ problems and try to come up with solutions. The difference between psychology and other forms of medical work is that there isn’t necessarily always a solution. Instead, psychologists must try their best to help a patient get better, and also be people that their patients can vent to.
Median Annual Salary: $87,015.
Counseling psychologists may look the same as clinical psychologists on the surface, but they are ever so slightly different. Instead of focusing on providing therapy to people suffering from sever mental illnesses, they focus more on people with other issues in their daily lives. While clinical psychologists try to make a person comfortable with their mental illness when it can’t be cures, counseling psychologists focus on making their patient a better person. However, these two fields overlap immensely and are often interchangeable and their differences negligible.
Median Annual Salary: $81,000.
A recently discovered field of psychology, engineering psychology has you working with an engineering team. Studies have concluded that having a psychologist on the team helped improve frustration levels and architectural designs as well as team cohesion and interaction. Engineering psychologists are quickly becoming the norm in many fields of work now, and this is one of the most fun jobs on here.
Median Annual Salary: $79,818.
If you’re also looking for an interesting twist in your psychology career, correctional psychology might be right up your alley. Correctional psychologists work with a correctional facility’s members to observe and diagnose the inmates housed there. Once their evaluations are complete, they are an instrumental tool in the rehabilitation of those inmates as they counsel them and help them grow as a person.
Median Annual Salary: $71,000.
Another very attractive branch of psychology; forensic psychologists work with the legal system and are useful on many fronts. They can help detectives and police inspectors understand what the motivation behind a crime might have been. They counsel victims of crimes and also evaluate the victims and the perpetrators. They’re also called in to child custody cases and cases of juvenile crime.
Median Annual Salary: $59,440.
Career counselors help people realize which career might be right for them. In fact, you might want to consider visiting one if you’re reading this list! Career counselors evaluate a person’s skills, experience, aptitude, and educational level and tell them in detail how each career path works and how they think you will perform in it. They can also help you understand how to successfully change careers if you ever feel like you made the wrong choice.
Median Annual Salary: $53,610.
And there you have it future psychologist. Though the careers listed here might be some of the most lucrative, there are always other paths to choose from in the vast and varied field of psychology. So don’t be hasty in making your decision; this is after all a lifelong commitment we’re talking about here.