At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
From the mental health industry to the academic field, there are numerous psychology careers available to individuals who study psychology. As a social scientist, psychologists study how a person's environment can affect his or her behavior and mental health. Constant research and data collection often allow psychologists to apply such information to their particular specialty, such as mental health, law, or education.
Commonly found in hospitals, clinics, and counseling centers, clinical psychologists are the most common type of psychologist. Often working hand in hand with other medical experts, a clinical psychologist typically identifies and treats emotional and behavioral disorders, such as depression and anxiety. In addition to psychological and social factors, clinical psychologists also consider medical factors when determining an appropriate treatment plan for patients.
Cognitive and educational psychologists, on the other hand, do not treat individuals, but study them. From linguistics to research on Alzheimer’s Disease, these psychology careers focus on cognitive abilities, or the learning process. By studying perception, reasoning, and memory, the cognitive psychologist usually identifies the components of learning, and researches how biological factors can affect the learning process.
Psychologists who are interested in deviant behaviors often specialize in criminal and forensic psychology, and are often found in the law enforcement field. People who choose such psychology careers usually study convicted criminals and, through a series of personality tests, seek to determine what makes someone commit a crime. Forensic psychologists, in turn, apply psychological principals to legal issues and then use research to help courts make informed decisions.
Developmental psychologists are yet another type of specialist in the psychology field. Focusing on human development, these individuals generally research both biological and environmental factors, to determine how a person changes over the course of his or her life. Most developmental psychologists dedicate their studies to one particular life stage, such as infancy or adolescence, however, others employed in such psychology careers may decide to study the entire lifespan.
For psychologists who are interested in counseling or social work, counseling psychology focuses on how human mental behavior is shaped by interactions with others. By paying attention to environmental factors and interpersonal relationships, these psychologists strive to help people cope with their problems and live more functional lives. These professionals are often found in schools and governmental agencies.
Although psychologists typically specialize in one particular area, they can be employed in a variety of settings. From businesses to hospitals, a psychologist’s place of employment is greatly influenced by his or her interests and skills. As a result of such versatility, psychology careers generally appeal to a variety of individuals.