This article contains information on what you can do with a Psychology degree. Over time, what one studied in school is no longer a barrier to one’s choice of career. Just like other courses, those with a degree in psychology have a wide range of careers to go for.
Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. It is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behaviour. People with mental health challenges can also seek the help of a psychologist. This is why often, psychology is mistaken for psychiatry. Psychologists and psychiatrists work together to help people with mental health conditions, but they are not quite the same. A psychologist treats a patient through psychotherapy, helping to relieve symptoms through behavioural change while a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor, focuses more on prescribing medication and other interventions to manage mental health conditions. Both, handle mental cases but they are never the same.
IMPACT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology is a field that benefits both individuals and society as a whole. The work of a psychologist can range from counselling individuals with anxiety in advising companies on how to build better teams.
Some of the ways that psychology contributes to individuals and society include:
- Improving our understanding of why people behave the way they do.
- Understanding the different factors that can impact the human mind and behaviour
- Creating safer and more efficient workspaces
- Helping motivate people to achieve their goals as well as improving productivity.
BRANCHES OF PSYCHOLOGY
There are different types of psychology that serve different purposes. There is no fixed way of classifying them, but here are some common types.
1. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
A clinical psychologist concentrates on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioural aspects of human performance throughout a person’s life, across varying cultures and socioeconomic levels.
Clinical psychology can help prevent and alleviate psychologically caused issues and promote an individual’s well-being and personal development.
2. DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
This is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes that a person experiences over the life span, often referred to as human development. It also looks at innate mental structures against learning through experience, or how a person’s characteristics interact with environmental factors and how this impacts development. It focuses on infants, young children, teenagers, adults, and older people.
3. COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
It looks at how people think, perceive, communicate, remember, and learn. It is closely related to neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics. Cognitive psychologists look at how people acquire, process, and store information.
4. EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY
Evolutionary psychology looks at how human behaviour has been affected by psychological adjustments during evolution.
5. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY
Forensic psychology involves applying psychology to criminal investigation and the law. It involves assessing the psychological factors that might influence a case or behaviour and presenting the findings in court.
Neuropsychology looks at the structure and function of the brain in relation to behaviours and psychological processes. A neuropsychological evaluation is used to determine whether a person is likely to experience behavioural problems following suspected or diagnosed brain injury, such as a stroke.
The results can enable a doctor to provide treatment that may help the individual achieve possible improvements in cognitive damage that has occurred.
Other branches include occupational, military, consumer, educational, health and environmental psychology, etc.
There is a common notion that has it that, for people with a degree to practice within the field, a master’s or doctorate degree is required. There is no doubt about this but this is not to say that there are no other career opportunities in relation to having a bachelor’s degree. There are bachelor’s degrees in psychology that provide training in a number of skills which can be applied to many occupations and disciplines.
CAREER PATHS IN PSYCHOLOGY
With a psychology degree, you’re well placed to pursue careers in both arts and scientific fields, depending on your personal interests. Having discussed a few things on psychology, below are a few of the common career paths for individuals with a degree in psychology. They are as follows:
Psychotherapists work with individuals, couples, groups or families, to help overcome psychological issues, including emotional and relationship-related issues, stress and even addiction.
Psychotherapy has various specializations. So, on what you choose to specialize in during your degree. use a number of approaches. These include cognitive-behavioural methods, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies, as well as art therapy, experiential therapy integrative psychotherapy and Hypno-psychotherapy, etc.
2. PSYCHOLOGY CAREERS IN EDUCATION
Psychology graduates who desire to build a career in the education sector have a number of different options. Apart from educational therapy, educational psychology and social work which also fields in education, psychology graduates may qualify as teachers, working in primary, secondary or higher institutions.
To become an educational psychologist, you will need the same qualifications as any psychologist. This is a role concerned with the development of young people in educational settings, with the aim of enhancing learning and dealing with social and emotional issues or learning difficulties.
To teach psychology, depending on the choice, you’ll need an additional teaching qualification. To teach in higher institutions you will likely need a further qualification, such as a master’s or PhD. Roles in higher education are likely to encompass both teaching and research. This is why advancement is necessary. In other words, you can be a teacher/ lecturer with a degree in psychology.
With a degree in psychology, you can consider counselling. As a counsellor, you’ll be involved in helping people come to better terms with their lives and experiences through the exploration of feelings and emotions. You’ll work within a confidential setting and be expected to listen attentively to your clients. Like psychotherapy, counselling is often a form of talking therapy and can encompass areas including marriage and family, health, abuse, rehabilitation, education, mental health, career guidance, etc.
A counsellor is expected to have the ability to listen, empathize, patience, as well as to analyze the issues at play in order to enable the client to better cope with their situation and help support them in making choices.
With the numerous events unfolding daily, counselling has become a lucrative career. Even people without a degree in psychology have turned counsellors and are doing well, talk more of one with a degree. The good thing about counsellors is that they can fit into a sector.
I have an Aunt who is into guidance and counselling but she works in a school with a huge pay. Your degree is never a waste. Put it to use.
4. PSYCHOLOGY CAREERS IN RESEARCH
Do you know with your degree you can be a researcher? Yes, you can. As a researcher, you can work with research institutes, Government and Private organizations and even in schools especially, Universities. etc.
University-based careers tend to combine research and teaching. You could also work for a charity or other non-profit organization, perhaps conducting research to help resolve challenges such as speech impediments, brain damage, child development or the impact of legal and illegal drugs on psychological health.
LESS TYPICAL CAREERS WITH A PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE.
As a bachelor’s degree holder in psychology, there are numerous career opportunities you can consider outside the Health and education sector. Some of the less typical psychology careers include:
1. MEDIA AND ADVERTISING
It might not be an obvious choice for psychology graduates, but media careers are varied, with ample opportunities to apply the skills of a psychology degree graduate. Psychology graduates can make a valuable impact on human behaviours through the ability to analyze problems, listen attentively. Because of this, media roles within all departments including management, production and writing are well within reach for psychology graduates.
Also, Advertising careers often involve developing persuasive advertisements and researching a target audience to create product messaging. Psychology graduates are a good fit for just about any advertising career as the science of persuasion and research are major course topics taught as an undergraduate.
2. HUMAN RESOURCES AND COMMUNICATIONS CAREERS
Human Resources professionals are responsible for the hiring, firing and management of employees. They are typically involved in the hiring process, interviewing candidates and reviewing resumes to choose suitable candidates. They are also responsible for the management of employees once they are hired. This can involve scheduling, attending to grievances and many other ongoing tasks. When an employee is no longer suitable for a company, it is the human resources professional who will either work to make the situation better or terminate the employment agreement.
Because psychology involves intense study of how and why people think and act, it is an excellent course of preparation for the field of human resources. By understanding the way people are motivated and how they function, this information and skills can be applied in the workplace. This, in turn, makes human resources and communications career another good match for a psychologist.
3. BUSINESS MANAGEMENT CAREERS
Knowing what psychology entails, it plays a vital role in the field of business too as humans are directly involved in it either as manufacturers, sellers, managers, buyers, consumers, retailers etc.
Organizations are run by the managers who are highly qualified, experienced and capable of dealing with the employees effectively. In short, managers deal with the situations and handle their human resource by planning, organizing, controlling and leading, all of which involve mental capabilities and thoughts to be put into the process, which obviously is psychology. The perception and behaviour of the employees, on the other hand, plays an equal role as the managers’ in organizations, which also is nothing other than psychology.
Dealing with the financial matters of an organization, which is apparently solely related to numbers and quantities, also involves psychology. The assessment of costs and thinking of ways to reduce them, comparing costs at different periods and analyzing the market situations and rise and fall in stocks, understanding the behaviour of investors, competitors and other stockholders, all involve psychology.
The most important department of business related to psychology is the marketing department, which tends to understand the needs of consumers/customers and fulfil those needs in the best economical way. Contrary to the conventional way of business known today as production concept, which involves manufacturing a product and selling it, considering that the buyers will buy the goods widely available to them, the newest concept, namely marketing, involves more understanding of the customers’ needs and the market situations and then producing best products to give value to customers. This whole concept is simple psychology.
4. CASE MANAGER
Case managers, also referred to as social and human service workers, provide advice and counselling to people in difficult situations. Such group of people include children or the elderly, people with disabilities, victims of crime and abuse. The role of a social worker is to safeguard these people from harm. They help develop treatment and recovery plans, identify service providers, monitor client progress, and coordinate with other health and human service providers.
Social workers may work within schools, homes, hospitals or other public agencies.
5. CHILD CARE WORKER
With your Psychology degree, you can build a career in child care. Child care workers typically care for infants and children with or without special needs cases as well as children whose parents and other family members are unavailable. The duties of a child care worker include the following:
- Providing supervision for children of various ages
- Planning and executing daily activities
- Attending to the basic needs of children. For instance bathing and feeding.
- Ensuring the safety of children
- Supervising kids during play activities
- Communicating with parents and teachers
- Keeping records of children’s developmental progress
- Noting any emotional or behavioural problems, and documenting interests
6. MARKET RESEARCHER
Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology is great preparation for a career as a market researcher. Psychology students are well-groomed in statistical analysis and scientific methodologies which are useful skills when it comes to performing research tasks including collecting and analyzing data, conducting interviews and performing opinion polls. Also, marketing and market research involves more understanding of the customers’ needs and market situations and then producing the best products to satisfy customers needs. All of these are psychology related.
7. PSYCHIATRIC TECHNICIAN
A psychiatric technician is someone who cares for people that have a mental illness or a developmental disability and provides them with therapeutic care. Psychiatric technicians work in psychiatric hospitals, residential mental health facilities, and related healthcare settings.
The primary function of this occupation is to contribute to the health and wellbeing of patients. It is a career that is very close in nature to the duties of licensed vocational nurses and medical assistants.
In that regard, psychiatric technicians are but one part of a larger team of mental health workers charged with helping patients improve their overall functioning.
What Does a Psychiatric Technician Do?
- They carry out orders from doctors, observe patient behaviour, and treat patients.
- Major duties of psychiatric technicians involve daily caregiving such as helping patients to bathe, etc. They are often involved in educational and recreational activities as well, such as taking a group of developmentally disabled individuals on a community outing.
- Observe patients behaviour, listen to their concerns, and record their condition
- Give medications and other treatments, following instructions from doctors and other medical professionals.
8. PROBATION AND PAROLE OFFICER
Another career option with a Psychology degree is that of a Probation officer who are sometimes called Correctional Treatment Specialists. These individuals are government employees
Probation and parole officers supervise and work with individuals convicted of crimes. They monitor convicts, track behaviours, coordinate with other professionals or therapists, and make recommendations to the courts. As part of their monitoring, they help individuals succeed in the community. Thus a Probation Officer works with offenders to coordinate rehabilitation services, and to arrange job training. In fact, psychology graduates are well suited for careers as probation and parole officers.
9. REHABILITATION SPECIALIST
To be a mental health rehabilitation specialist, you need an associate degree in behavioural science or a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a mental health-related field.
Rehabilitation specialists assist people struggling with physical, emotional social and mental disabilities reintegrate into society, become self-sufficient and independent. You would be working with social workers, mental health counsellors, rehabilitation counsellors and psychiatrists to develop the best rehabilitative service plan for the patients. Your primary goal as a rehabilitation specialist is to help your clients achieve as much independence as is possible. Your degree in psychology comes very handily in this field.
Writing profession is not peculiar to a specific degree. Completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology typically requires a lot of writing. However, psychology graduates are well prepared for a number of writing careers in any niche of their choice.
Bottom line is that having a degree in psychology is a blessing. If you have been getting yourself overly worked up for studying psychology instead of another course, you don’t know what you have.
Psychology is a two-dimensional course that affords you the opportunity to comfortably build a career in science and social science-related fields. All you need to start appreciating a degree in psychology is an expository article like this.