Psychology is a broad field of study and one of the most popular majors. For example, in the 2010 to 2011 school year, more than 101,000 American students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most jobs in psychology require a minimum of a master's degree, and many require a doctorate or a license. However, a bachelor's degree in psychology is a steppingstone toward many different careers.
When people think about majoring in psychology, they often picture themselves sitting across from someone and listening to their worries or helping children cope with family problems or grief. Many psychology majors become practicing psychologists and use their skills in the mental health or social services arenas. Specific careers include youth or student counselor, psychotherapist, career adviser, social worker, behavior analyst or substance abuse counselor. Many jobs in clinical psychology require a doctoral degree. School counselors usually need an educational specialist degree and a state license.
Psychology graduates who prefer theory to practice often work in research. Research psychologists study the human mind and the reasons why people act, learn and desire as they do. They study brain function and research ways to put a stop to degenerative conditions. Research psychologists who conduct research and teach at universities usually need a doctorate in psychology. However, psychology graduate students can work in universities as lab assistants and grant writers.
Industrial-organizational psychologists, or I/O psychologists, use their knowledge to solve problems in the workplace. In the area of personnel, they help organizations with recruitment, training and performance evaluation. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists may design training program for new hires, including a method of measuring its success. To help increase sales, they study consumer preferences and design strategies to increase the attractiveness of the company's products.They also design methods to improve planning and increase employee morale and productivity. I/O psychologists typically need a master's degree or a doctorate.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Psychologists
- American Psychological Association: Public Description of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
- National Center for Education Statistics: Fast Facts -- Most Popular Majors
- San Diego State University: What is I/O Psychology?
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