Career Profile: Psychology

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Job Description

Are you fascinated by the workings of the human mind? Do you like to observe other people and analyze their behavior? Do you have a good blend of people and analytical skills? Well then, it sounds like psychology is right up your alley. By studying human behavior and cognitive processes, psychologists not only broaden the realm of human understanding, but apply the principles they learn to treat people with mental illness, combat drug and alcohol addiction, counter problems of anxiety and compulsive behavior, and even increase productivity in the business and government sector. As you can imagine, the range of employment possibilities is astounding!

Working Environment

It is difficult to generalize about the work settings of psychologists because their jobs are so varied. Those concentrating in research and teaching often have offices and classrooms in universities or colleges, while clinical specialists may be stationed in hospitals, mental health facilities, or rehab centers. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 1 out of 4 psychologists are self-employed. Those with their own private practice often have offices where they receive and treat clientele.

Education and Training Requirements

Advanced levels of education are the norm in the psychology world. A Bachelors Degree in the field will qualify a candidate to do assistant work in a wide range of fields. Earning a Masters Degree opens up positions in schools or industrial organizations, where they assess and solve problems regarding personnel, efficiency, and productivity. Taking 5-7 years, a Doctoral Degree (Psy.D.) allows you to become an independent psychologist working in a clinical or private environment. Licensing regulations vary according to state and specialty, but there is a national certification, the NCSP (National Certified School Psychologist), which exempts the holder from having to pass licensing exams in 22 states. It requires 60 hours of graduate study, a 1200 hour internship, and satisfactory marks on a standardized exam.

Salary Range

Studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that in 2002, the middle 50% of psychologists earned between $38,500 and $67,000. The bottom 10% made less than $30,000; the highest, more than $87,000.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists’ employment is projected “to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2012.” One reason for this rise is that in recent years, school administrators and business managers have become increasingly cognizant of the powerful role psychologists play in improving the well-being and performance of students and employees.

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