The Job Outlook for Psychology Careers
What does the future hold for psychology careers? Will your chosen specialty area still be in demand by the time you graduate? Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job growth for psychologists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next ten years. However, they do note that people with doctorate degrees in sought-after specialty areas such as health psychology, school psychology, or counseling psychology will be in the greatest demand.
While strong job growth and demand is expected to be high for certain specialty areas, don't let reports and statistics guide your career decision. Instead, focus on your individual strengths, interests, and goals. After all, if you have a passion for helping people, do you really want to enter a career that requires you to spend hours every day alone in a science lab? If you aren't quite sure where your particular interest lie, then now is the time to start learning more about different career paths and delving deeper into specific topics within psychology. Many colleges and universities offer a “Careers in Psychology” course; in fact, it's often a required class if you are a psychology major. Consider taking this course early in your academic career. By getting an idea of what you'd like to do someday, you'll be able to tailor your course selection and research interests in order to focus on your preferred specialty areas.
Before you make a final decision on your future career, there are a few important questions you need to ask yourself:
Do you like working with others? If you really love talking to people and helping them to solve problems, then a job in clinical or counseling psychology might be an ideal choice for you. However, a career in research might be more appropriate if you prefer not to work directly with clients.
Are you good at math, statistics, and writing? Experimental psychologists spend a lot of time analyzing data and writing up lab results. If you don't enjoy this type of work, you might not be suited to a job in research.
Can you handle stress? Working with clients suffering from mental illnesses can be emotionally draining, so it is essential to learn how to cope with stress and create a division between work and your personal life.
Are you willing to go to graduate school? Some psychology careers, such as clinical or school psychology, require a doctorate degree. Think about whether you are willing to commit the time, energy, and resources necessary for earning an advanced degree before you select a career path.
Psychology for Tomorrow
Over the past 140 years or so, psychology has made remarkable progress. From its rather humble beginnings in Wundt's laboratory to the hightech brain-imaging techniques used today, psychologists are always finding new ways to learn more about the mind and behavior. Whether you plan on becoming a psychologist or are simply keeping up with the latest scientific findings, you are bound to play an important role in psychology's bright future as a consumer of psychological information, therapist, teacher, researcher, or other whatever area of study you choose.