Choosing A Career In Psychology Essay, Research Paper
Choosing A Career in Psychology
Society is crowded with many different kinds of people, which create problems of how to live and work together and live with oneself. It is in these situations which psychology serves its purpose by creating answers to these questions. Psychology helps create an awareness of these problems and this awareness increases the likelihood of treatment. A student who is deciding to enter the field of psychology has a choice to make from an array of many different and exciting careers. All of these numerous careers in psychology fall into three basic categories of practice: psychologists, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists. Each of these categories differ slightly in the job role and number of years spent on education but the ultimate goal of each is the same, to aid in the advancement of society.
The first and most important part of entering the field of psychology is understanding the amount of education needed for each of the three subareas. A psychologist is someone who has spent four to five years of postgraduate education and has received a Ph.D. in psychology (Plotnik 17). Next, is a clinical psychologist who has a Ph.D., specialized in a clinical subarea, and has spent an additional year in a supervised therapy setting to gain experience (17). The last area is a psychiatrist who differs from the other two mainly because of the number of years spent in school, which gains them the ability to prescribe medication. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has spent several years in clinical training that includes diagnosis of abnormal behaviors and treating those behaviors with prescription drugs (17).
Students who are planning a career in psychology will have to determine which type of psychologist they want to be and, in addition, what are they would like to specialize in. The field of psychology is divided into subfields each of which deal with a different area. These specialties include such areas as developmental psychology, experimental and physiological psychology, personality and social psychology, cognitive psychology and psychometrics (Super 36). Next, each of these subfields are divided into careers that students can choose to participate in such as residential care, community and social services, human resources, therapy, and teaching (DeGalan 106).
Residential care has grown in importance in the past years due to a number of social issues that have been recently addressed by the government. Since the demand for residence care has gone up so has the demand for psychologist who have training in this type of area. Many of the jobs in the residential care area are not permanent but are taken by those who are entry level and on their way up to more permanent employment. In addition, most residential care jobs are labeled as training jobs meaning that these jobs will train a student to specialize in a certain skill. ?Most residential care jobs are advertised as counselor positions? (115). Overnight counselors, relief counselors, and staff counselors are usually types of jobs on the residential care level. Since these positions are not permanent, job earnings are generally not competitive. Entry level salaries are in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.
Large numbers of people are in need of community and social services such as alcoholics, juvenile delinquents, and those with mental retardation (150). This area of employment has numerous job openings and careers that meet with many different types of people. Job opportunities in this area include abortion counseling, children services, human services, and dozens more that are involved with almost all different types of people. In addition to sometimes-long hours, job salaries are usually not that high ranging in the $25,000 to $30,000?s (153). However, if working with and helping people is an attraction, community and social services is an excellent job group.
Many students often feel that their degree in psychology would be best used in the field of human resources. If a students interest in psychology were in human behavior and social psychology than human resources would be an excellent route to take. Those in the field of human resources are primarily concerned with training development, organization development, and career development (166). Typically, the role of someone in human resources would include: employment and placement, wage and salary administration, training and development, benefits administration, and research management (171). In addition to a major in psychology those who would like to pursue a career in human resources would be well advised to gain skills in communication, data analysis, public presentation, and become familiar with computers and software. Salaries in the human resource area are generally much more competitive than those in community services and residential care (180). Those with human resource skill often have a wide range of possible employers from which to choose a job. Schools, state and federal government, and finance companies are just some of the many possible employers for those interested in human resources.
Therapist are those who work to treat and help rehabilitate those with environmental, physical, or mental disorders (201). Some of the more frequently encountered therapies are cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, psychodynamic, and expressive therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on changing negative thinking such as the case in alcoholics. Behavioral therapy focuses on changing certain behavior patterns, which is used in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Interpersonal therapy focuses on relationship or social difficulties. Psychodynamic therapy deals with the correction of internal emotional struggles developed at an early age like those of someone who was abused as child (202). Therapist must be able to practice teamwork since many of the problems encountered will be evaluated as a team. Possible employers would include school, medical institutions, and private practices.
Teaching is one of the most familiar and rewarding of the career paths taken with a psychology degree. Almost all universities employ a substantial amount of people with a psychology degree to perform a number of different roles from teach classes to performing experiments in laboratory environments. When hiring most universities would require their job candidate to have a doctorate in psychology and may look at specialized areas such as research and publication (235). The earnings for teachers vary greatly depending on the employer and the number of years spent teaching.
Students with degrees in psychology are employed in a number of different areas. Private practices in clinical psychology employ about 25 percent of those with a degree in psychology (Super 20). Hospitals and clinics make up about 13 percent of the psychologist population, businesses and industry combined with government agencies are about 6 percent, and public schools and nonprofit organizations make up about 4 percent of the psychologist. The largest employers of those with psychology degrees are colleges and universities which employee about 40 percent (22).
Psychology has grown substantially in the past few years. The growth of society and disorders that continue to arise everyday are two of the reasons why this profession will continue to grow in demand. A life in psychology requires that many choices be made before embarking on a career path, but whatever decisions are made there are numerous job opportunities. Many people would not think so, but psychologists are at work in everyday life. Without psychologists playing the role they do most peoples everyday lives would seem much different than they do now.