Psychology is a field of the social sciences that studies the
human & animal behavior and focuses on how motivation, emotion,
and thought process function in relation to each other.
There are several fields of psychology which include Industrial-
Organizational Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology,
Forensic Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Health Psychology,
Developmental Psychology, School Psychology, and all have specific
orientations when it comes learning behavior in hope to answer
scientific inquires. It is important to know that there are
several options one can go with in pursuing a career in
Psychology, and it is important to do the necessary research in
order to understand the various differences.
Clinical psychologists assess and treat people with
psychological problems. They may act as therapists for people
who are experiencing normal psychological crises (e.g., grief)
or for individuals suffering from chronic psychiatric
disorders. Some clinical psychologists are generalists who
work with a wide variety of populations, while others work
with specific groups such as children, the elderly, or those
with specific disorders (e.g., eating disorders). They are
trained in universities or professional schools of psychology.
Clinical psychologists work in academic settings, hospitals,
community health centers, or private practice.
Counseling psychologists do many of the same things that
clinical psychologists do. However, counseling psychologists
tend to focus more on persons with adjustment problems rather
than on persons suffering from severe psychological disorders.
They may be trained in psychology departments or in education
departments. Counseling psychologists are employed in academic
settings, college counseling centers, community mental health
centers, and private practice.
I/O psychologists (as they are usually called) are concerned
with the relationships between people and their work
environments. They may develop new ways to increase workplace
productivity or be involved in personnel selection. They are
employed in business, government agencies, and academic
Forensic Psychology. The
title "forensic psychologist" can mean quite a number of
things. Some forensic psychologists do clinical work in
corrections settings; some work as consultants to trial
lawyers; some serve as expert witnesses in jury trials; some
formulate public policy on psychology and the law. Some
forensic psychologists have PhDs in clinical psychology;
others have both PhDs in clinical psychology and JDs in law.
(There are several graduate programs in the country where you
can earn the two degrees at the same time.)
Health Psychology. Health
psychologists are concerned with psychology's contributions to
the promotion and maintenance of good health and the
prevention and treatment of illness. They may design and
conduct programs to help individuals stop smoking, lose
weight, manage stress, and stay physically fit. They are
employed in hospitals, medical schools, rehabilitation
centers, public health agencies, academic settings, and
Sports Psychology. Sports
psychologists are concerned with the psychological factors
that improve athletic performance. They also look at the
effects of exercise and physical activity on psychological
adjustment and health. Sports psychologists typically work in
academic settings and/or as consultants for sports teams.
Educational psychologists attempt to understand the basic
aspects of human learning and to develop materials and
strategies for enhancing the learning process. For example, an
educational psychologist might study reading and then develop
a new technique for teaching reading. Educational
psychologists are typically trained in departments of
education (vs. departments of psychology) and employed in
colleges and universities.
School Counseling. School
counselors work with children who are troubled, helping such
children function more effectively with their peers and
teachers, deal with family problems, etc. They work at the
elementary, middle, and high school levels.
The work of school psychologists,
who work in the public school system, is varied. A key aspect
of the school psychologist's job is testing--mostly of
children who are having difficulties in school--to try to
diagnose the problem and, sometimes, to suggest ways of
dealing with the problem. School psychologists also work
closely with teachers to develop effective interventions for
children in academic, emotional, and behavioral problems. Too,
some provide individual and group counseling. Most school
psychologists are trained in departments of education, but
some are trained in psychology departments.
[Information adapted from: Lloyd, M.A. (2002, November 1).
Master's- and doctoral-level careers in psychology and related
Available: http://www.psychwww.com/careers/masters.htm ]
view more information about the fields in Psychology, please
American Psychological Association's
Careers in Psychology Page.
There are different
letters that come with each degree. See below for various
B.A in Psychology
= Bachelor of Arts Degree - Less scientific in coursework than the
BS degree. B.S. in Psychology= Bachelor of Science
Degree - More research oriented than the BA degree (Usually
requires one or more research classes). M.A in Psychology= Masters of Arts Degree -
Less research emphasis than the MS degree. M.S in Psychology= Masters of Science Degree
- Generally requires more research and related coursework than the
MA degree. Ph.D. in Psychology= Doctor of Philosophy -
Relies heavily on research and statistics, more faculty &
experimenter oriented. Psy.D. in Psychology = Doctor of Psychology -
Less research oriented than the PhD degree, more of a practitioner
(doctorate thesis may not be required depending on program).
To view more in-depth information about the different degrees in
What to do
with a Psychology Degree?
Students who graduate with a BS/BA degree tend to go into fields
such as psychiatric assistant, store manager, research assistant,
case worker, counselor, correction officer, etc.
to view detailed information about BS/BA positions in Psychology.
Data about expected salaries in different fields with a BA/BS
degrees can be viewed
Students who graduate with MA/MS degree in Psychology can explore
careers such as art therapist, career counselor, clinical
supervisor, drama therapist, program evaluator, etc. To view
expected salary levels, please
Students graduating with a Ph.D. or Psy.D, tend to gravitate
toward professions within academia and research.
To view salary information for Ph.D/Psy.D's, please
to view a table
comparing potential careers for MS/MA and doctorate graduates.
for Graduate School
It can be hard to know where to apply for graduate school or know
what kind of knowledge goes into applying for a program. If you
want further information about what schools offer and require, you
can visit our Psychology Directory
for links to various pages that are of useful information.
If you need some helpful advice on how to apply for graduate
please visit our Application for
Graduate School Slide Show, or visit Getting into