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Careers in Psychology

Careers in Psychology

Psychology is a highly diverse field, and people with training in psychology can be found in a wide variety of careers. Psychologists conduct both basic and applied research, they serve as consultants to business, government, and community organizations, they assess, diagnose and treat people, they promote individual and community health and well-being, and they teach students in college and university.
Psychologists receive training in a wide variety of sub-fields. It is important to choose and create experiences in your graduate education that will prepare you for the work that you find most engaging and fulfilling.

Entry Level Positions Obtained by Psychology Majors

In addition to University and College professor, some examples of the work that people with various amounts and kinds of training in psychology can do are:

Applied

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Furthers the welfare of people and organizations by studying the workplace, helping individuals pursue meaningful and enriching work and making management more effective.
    • Management and human resources consultant
    • Marketing and advertising consultant
    • Jury selection consultant
    • Human factors in design of technology and equipment (private sector, military, etc)
    • Conflict resolution and mediation
  • Medicine and Health Care
    • Speech and language pathologist
    • Public health advisor (e.g. psychological factors in promoting pre-natal health care in diverse populations)
    • Meeting the needs of the elderly.
  • School Psychologist
    • Helps students achieve optimal performance
    • Identify Students with learning disabilities.
  • Sports Psychology
    • Helps athletes achieve optimal performance.

Clinical -Scientist Practitioner

  • Clinical Psychology
    • Assesses, diagnoses and treats people with disorders of behaviour, emotion, or thought.
  • Neuropsychology
    • Assess, diagnoses and treats people with known or suspected brain dysfunction
  • Forensic or Correctional Psychology
    • Studies, assesses, diagnosis & treats people with criminal or legal system involvement
  • Heath Psychology
    • Promotes and maintains health, helps to prevent and treat physical illness, and identifies the determinants of health & wellness.
     In a clinical setting the term Psychologist refers to someone who has obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is registered (e.g., with the College of Psychologists of Ontario).
In Ontario, people with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology can be registered with the provincial college as a Psychological Associate. Psychological Associates generally work in clinical settings, and they differ from Psychologists because they don't have a PhD and require more supervised hours before being allowed to practice independently.

Research - Scientist

  • Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience
    • How do we behave?
    • How do we think?
    • How do the two fit together
  • Comparative/Evolutionary Psychology
    • How does the history of our species affect our behaviour?
    • How can the behaviour of other species inform us about human behaviour?
  • Developmental & Live Span Psychology
    • How do we grow and change throughout our lives?
  • Learning & Memory
    • How do we change our behaviour as the result of experience?
    • What restricts learning? What promotes learning?
    • What causes forgetting? What protects against forgetting?
    • How can we identify people at risk for Alzheimer's and other dementias?
  • Mathematical & Engineering
    • How can changing our physical environment change our behaviour or make tasks easier?
  • Psychopharmacology
    • How does the structure and function of our brain affect our behaviour?
  • Sensation & Perception
    • How do we detect and interpret stimuli in our environment?
  • Social & Personality
    • How do people with different traits interact?
    • What traits are stable over our lifetime?
    • How do we behave in groups?

The description above is a general, not exhaustive, list of subspecialties. Psychologists conduct research in a myriad of subject areas that can overlap across sub-specialties.

What should I do if I want to become a Psychologist?

Get an undergraduate Honours BA or Honours B.Sc. degree in Psychology then get a MA and, usually, PhD in Psychology.

 For more information on the different career paths you can take with a degree in psychology, check out the following websites:

Last updated: Septermber 2014

 
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