Psychology is a field of study that intrigues a lot of people at one point or another. However, it is also such a broad subject that it’s not always clear what it leads to. There is not a single, direct career path that stems from psychology. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t options, however, so much as that there are many of them. Studying psychology is less like pursuing a specific field of medicine and more like studying English, economics, or sociology, in that it can lead people down any number of interesting paths.
To give anyone interested in the field a better idea of where it might lead though, here are five rewarding career possibilities for those who study psychology.
The first career most will think of when considering options stemming from psychology will be work as a psychologist. This indeed is a common and rewarding path — a job that enables you to work with people and help them to overcome struggles and improve their wellbeing. But as was alluded to in our piece asking ‘What Do Psychiatrists and Psychologists Do?’ psychiatry is also an option. It’s a somewhat more involved field, in that psychiatrists are medical doctors, and can prescribe medication (whereas psychologists practice talk therapy). Nevertheless, there is some overlap in the practices and how they’re applied, and those who study psychology can certainly build foundations for the pursuit of psychiatry.
2. Sports Psychology
Sports psychology is a fascinating field in that it allows those with experience and qualifications in psychology to work with specific types of patients. Psychologists in general may work with anybody on a virtually limitless range of issues; sports psychologists with athletes to help them optimize performance, ensure well-being, and overcome any difficulties they may be facing with regard to performance, stress, or the social side of sports. It’s also worth noting that this field is perhaps more relevant now than ever. As was explored in an article by a Penn State University chair of sports journalism and society, more athletes today are talking about their mental health, and being open about the struggles they face. This gives sports psychologists all the more opportunity to offer genuine, impactful assistance.
3. Family Therapy
When it comes to marriage and family therapy, we tend to think of other professions first: psychiatrists, marriage counselors, etc. But psychiatrists also have a role to play when it comes to family therapy needs. Many who seek to become MFTs (marriage and family therapists) study psychology en route to obtaining a relevant masters degree and license to practice. Once qualified though, people in this field are able to establish careers talking to couples and families and guiding them through issues and toward solutions. As you might imagine this can be a trying field to work in, but it’s also another that’s incredibly rewarding.
4. Criminal Justice
This is a particularly interesting option, because it caters to those who may not have started studying psychology as undergraduates. Demand for criminal justice professionals (and widespread interest in the field) has turned this into a popular area of study at online institutions — where young students and adults alike can pursue degrees under flexible circumstances. Furthermore, while criminal justice may not initially be a career that comes to mind, psychology is crucial to the field. Maryville University’s online BA in criminal justice overview cites coursework combining criminal justice, criminology, psychology, and criminal law — all of which combined can lead to a number of fascinating jobs in the field. People who study psychology from this angle find work in law enforcement, public service, and corrections and nonprofit environments, to name a few possible outcomes.
5. Educational Psychology
The last opportunity we’ll highlight is that of working in educational psychology — which, it goes without saying, can be incredibly fulfilling for those with interest in working with kids. VeryWellMind’s overview of educational psychology describes careers as consisting of collaboration with educators, administrators, teachers, and students, all aimed at figuring out how people learn best and how those methods can be encouraged. While some positions involve closer work with schools or students than others, this whole field gives people who study psychology the chance to improve the education system and boost children’s development.
There are more careers for students of psychology than just these. But hopefully these examples have helped to show just how much opportunity there is in the field.
Article was specially written for newagepsychiatry.com by Alice Palmer
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