Psychology is a profession that arouses a lot of interest nowadays, and although many students when they decide to study psychology think that practically all the options of being a psychologist are to become a clinical psychologist, the reality is very different. Psychology is a profession with many fields of application .
In this article we review the 12 most common career opportunities .
Psychology career opportunities
Because the mind is everything to people. This makes psychology fit within many disciplines. For example, education, sport or organizations.
But, what are the opportunities for psychology? What professional work can psychologists do? Below you can find a list of 12 professional outlets for psychology.
1. Organizational Psychologist
Organizational psychology is a field of application of psychology in which many recent graduates find work, because there is a great demand for psychologists specializing in this field. Generally, people associate the work of an organizational psychologist with that of a human resources professional , which is not exactly the case.
The Human Resources department is one of the options for engaging in organizational psychology, but there are others. For example, you can work in the marketing department or in market research, discovering formulas to better access the kind of clients and consumers that the organization wants to contact.
It should also be clear that the profile of the Human Resources professional is varied . Psychologists usually fit into areas of this department such as personnel selection, training and even, in some cases, the prevention of occupational risks in subjects such as occupational health.
However, a human resources professional may also be involved in personnel administration (e.g., payroll), labour law or compensation and benefits work, which is not exactly the domain of a psychologist .
It is important that you know this difference so that you can orient your resume in one direction or another. In our article “The 10 best Masters in Organizational Psychology and Human Resources” you will find all the information you need to specialize in this field.
2. Educational psychologist
In the educational field, the figure of the psychologist also fits perfectly . The fact is that, from practically its beginnings, psychology has been interested in how people learn or how they develop.
Behavioural science brings a lot of knowledge and tools to education, for example, about how we can perform better or how we can counteract the learning difficulties that some students have.
- If you want to go deeper into this topic, just visit our article: “Educational psychology: definition, concepts and theories”
3. Social and community psychologist
The social psychology professional investigates and intervenes in the dimension of the collective , the group and the relationships between people in a context. In reality, the social psychologist can carry out multiple functions and can work in other fields such as organizational or sports.
However, this type of psychologist is also an expert in some fields of action such as community intervention, gender violence, youth (sexual orientation, drug problems, etc.) or family and minors, among others. In addition, they can work as researchers or teachers.
4. Clinical Psychologist and Health Psychology
Clinical and health psychology is very popular and most people generally associate the figure of the psychologist with this role. However, clinical psychology and health psychology are not the same thing.
While clinical psychology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental problems (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, paranoid disorder, etc.), the health psychologist deals with the cognitive, emotional and behavioural aspects associated with physical health and illness . For example, improving the quality of life of a patient with cancer.
- To know more: “The 10 best Masters in Clinical and Health Psychology”
The sexologist is a professional of psychology specialized in sexology , so he has acquired competences and tools to improve the quality of people’s affective-sexual life. Sex problems are not treated as purely physiological phenomena, but the cognitive and emotional aspects of these are also taken into account in order to achieve a more complete vision of what should be treated from the intervention.
These professionals deal with issues such as erectile dysfunction, sex education for individuals or restoring sex life after an illness, or offer advice on improving the intimate life of couples.
Psychotherapy is a space of reflection with a psychologist in which the patient faces the problems that assault his life. In other words, the latter goes to the therapist to reflect together and find out what is happening with regard to certain non-clinical problems .
The psychotherapist uses a set of knowledge, techniques and methods to help the patient discover himself and initiate a process of cognitive and habit restructuring to improve his quality of life and interpersonal relationships.
Unlike the clinical psychologist, who may work, for example, with schizophrenic patients, psychotherapists treat problems that are more of an emotional nature, day-to-day difficulties, or family or relationship problems
Coaching is a very popular discipline in recent decades, which usually addresses more superficial problems than those usually dealt with by a psychotherapist .
Generally, the work of the coach is focused on improving the quality of life of people through self-discovery, planning of realistic goals, correct communication and confrontation with limiting beliefs . In this way, people can maximize their potential not only in their daily lives, but also in different fields such as work, education or sports.
However, it must be clear that while all psychologists have the training of a coach, not all coaches have the training of a psychologist, nor, in fact, do they have to be psychologists.
8. Sports psychologist
The profession of sports psychologist has also been on the rise in recent decades , as sportsmen and women, coaches and managers of sports teams have realised that in this sector psychological variables are just as important as physical, technical or tactical aspects.
Sports psychologists work mainly on variables such as motivation, emotional management, stress, self-confidence, attention or level of activation.
- You can learn more about the functions of the sports psychologist in this article: “10 reasons to put a sports psychologist in your life”
9. Forensic psychologist
A forensic psychologist collects, analyses and presents evidence of a psychological nature to be taken into account in legal proceedings . Therefore, in addition to possessing skills as a psychologist, he also masters concepts, norms and dynamics of the legal system in which he is located.
The forensic psychologist evaluates, for example, the psychological state of a defendant to determine whether his or her criminal act is the result of psychopathology; or conducts a psychological evaluation of one of a child’s parents to determine whether he or she is fit to have custody of the child. Unlike other career paths, in this area the interests and intentions of the person being evaluated are not the most important thing to consider.
- Related article: “Forensic Psychology: definition and functions of the forensic psychologist”
Neuropsychology is a specialization that lies between neurology and psychology, and therefore deals with the study of mental processes and the functioning of the brain when there is an alteration in it .
One could say that it is useful, for example, to know the extent and treatment of brain injuries, malformations, dysfunctions and diseases that affect the functioning of the nervous system.
These psychologists work in academic, clinical and research settings and are present in neuropsychological rehabilitation programs. In addition, they can apply psychotherapeutic techniques and rehabilitation procedures to help the patient return to the level of normal functioning after the illness or injury or, in some situations, to enjoy a proper quality of life.
Psychologists can also engage in research in different fields related to psychology , be it clinical psychology, social psychology or sports psychology.
One of the advantages of this professional field is the incredible variety of topics that can be addressed from research in Psychology: personal relationships, cognitive biases, decision making, differences in personality and intelligence of individuals, effects of educational methods… and the list goes on and on, since everything related to human behavior and mental processes is practically unembraceable.
In addition, there are different research methods depending on the approaches and preferred topics of each. For example, there is the qualitative approach, largely based on interviews and on-site observations, and the quantitative approach, which starts with the conversion of observed behaviour into numbers and categories defined from the outset. Beyond this classification of types of research in psychology, there are other criteria for differentiation, such as experimental research and that which is based on correlations of data.
- Related article: “The 5 most common study methods in Psychology”
Psychologists can also work as teachers in various contexts . Some may opt for university training, while others may take training in coaching, mindfulness or stress management courses.