Psychology as a subject of interest is gaining importance globally. With the growing demand and need for psychologists in different fields, a range of career options in psychology are available. Psychologists are present across healthcare, workplace, educational institutes, military, forensics, sports and many more. Psychology is one of the most sought-after programs in the contemporary era.
This blog addresses the various available career options so that those ambitious to pursue psychology have clarity about prospects. Typically, psychologists are recognised mental health professionals who address psychological concerns to improve the functioning of individuals at the personal, occupational and social levels. Irrespective of the psychology-related career one chooses, the end goal is to improve happiness and well-being levels.
Psychologists at Healthcare
In the healthcare setup, we commonly encounter clinical psychologists, rehabilitation psychologists, counselling psychologists, neuropsychologists, health psychologists, and psycho-oncologists.
– Clinical psychologists typically do clinical assessments and take up therapies. They specialise in working with the psychiatric population. They usually collaborate with psychiatrists, wherein the psychiatrist prescribes the medication and clinical psychologists provide therapies. In conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and depressive disorder, it is evident that a combination of therapy and medication is highly efficient and effective. In India, one needs to get a license to practice, which is issued by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). Different countries have independent licensing bodies which govern their licensing.
– One may choose to work with the child population as a clinical child psychologist where they can specialise in working with children with special needs. It would involve their assessments, progress tracking, and parental counselling, and if there are any associated psychological concerns, the child psychologist may address them. They may even collaborate with paediatricians and special schools.
– Neuropsychologists deal with conditions related to the brain which can influence behaviour change. They conduct assessments related to neuropsychological functioning in patients with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. They may even map the changes in the brain due to incidents like stroke or accidents involving head injury. Neuropsychologists are generally associated with neurologists or neuropsychiatrists.
– Rehabilitation psychologists work with people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to increase their quality of life and better functioning. They may train clients for better-coping abilities, help in adaptation to changes and promotion of better health.
– Health psychologists work with patients in hospitals having health concerns which may have a psychological impact. They may work with patients admitted to the hospital. They psycho-educate patients about probable causes of illness and how a healthier lifestyle may enhance their living. They may also involve caregivers in order to enhance their well-being.
– Psycho-oncologists specialise in psychosocial care to patients with cancer. Patients living with cancer, undergoing treatment or having survived cancer often experience distress. Psycho-oncologists provide psychosocial intervention to improve the quality of life of the survivors and those experiencing it. They also collaborate with families to deal with burnout and better-coping abilities.
– Counselling psychologists work with individuals facing concerns related to emotions, marriage, self-esteem issues, family problems and so on. They may opt to work in hospital settings but can spread themselves to educational and private practice. They may enhance their skills in areas like family therapies, marital therapies and relationship counselling.
Psychologists in Education
The role of psychologists in educational institutions is being emphasised. They can work as counsellors in schools, colleges and universities. They may also work as educational psychologists, career counsellors and special educators.
– School Counsellors provide counselling services to children in school. One may work with children or adolescents, as both groups have different needs and concerns. Counselling improves the adjustment of children in the classroom as well as school. They may address the anxieties that children face and also help in the transition from one class to another. Wherever required, the school counsellors act as an interface between parent-child and teacher-child.
Psychologists in universities may assist in the transition from school to college. They also provide support to university students who may be facing academic concerns or personal issues.
– Career counsellors aim to provide counselling services to student groups who may want to explore multiple career options. They may provide possible career choices based on the child’s aptitude and interest. This will help in choosing subjects for pursual.
– Special educators work with children with special needs like learning disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, etc. They may aid in providing inclusive education to children with special needs and their classroom adjustment. Special education can be opted for after a training programme in special education.
– Educational psychologists are consultants to educational institutions, including universities, colleges and schools. They contribute to curriculum design and teacher training. Educational psychologists apply learning theories, educational technology, organisational learning and teaching styles in educational setups.
Psychologists at Workplace
Psychologists are demanded in the corporates as well. They may work as Industrial/organisational psychologists, consumer psychologists and well-being therapists.
– Industrial and Organisational Psychologists are involved in enhancing the workforce in the corporates. They use psychological principles to increase work performance and productivity. They try to research methods to make a better work environment.
– Consumer psychologists aim to understand the psychology of the consumer, which assists in marketing strategies. They may study the attitude and behaviours of the target population and devise effective techniques to increase business.
– Well-being therapists are making their way into the corporate world. The well-being therapists in the corporates aim to enhance happiness and well-being levels by providing individual counselling. This may improve functioning in personal and occupational life. They may devise training sessions for the better mental health of the workers in the organisations.
Psychologists and Law
Psychologists assist the professionals involved in the legal system as forensic psychologists and criminal psychologists.
– Forensic Psychologists apply their psychological knowledge in legal matters like court proceedings and crime scenes. They may interview witnesses and victims involved in criminal acts. They need to be proficient with the legal system as well.
– Criminal Psychologists aim to inspect the personality and motives of the criminals. They may be involved in guiding and counselling the criminals. They may take up assessments to determine possible psychiatric illnesses leading to crime. They may also provide therapeutic interventions for those needed.
Psychologists in Research
Research is a broad spectrum where psychologists explore various behaviours and devise interventions for people in practice. Research contributes in addition to existing knowledge, and this can help practitioners in applying the latest techniques and knowledge. Psychologists in research work in the areas of social psychology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology and developmental psychology.
– Social psychologists study the influence of social settings in determining the behaviour of individuals. They study group and individual behaviour through concepts like attitude, prejudice, aggression, identity, in-group and out-group behaviour and so on.
– Cognitive psychologists aim to study human abilities like attention, perception, language, motivation, emotions, risk-taking and decision-making. They study brain functions, including learning and memory.
– Comparative psychologists attend to the behaviours of different species and may compare them to humans. As we are aware that humans have evolved from animals, it has been documented that some behavioural components may be similar. For instance, the work of eminent theorists like Thorndike, Pavlov, Skinner, and Bandura had their theories rooted in animal behaviour.
– Developmental psychologists are also known as lifespan psychologists. They aim to study human development across the lifespan. They may engage with specific populations like childhood, adolescents, adults or geriatric population. They may engage in the study of child development, adolescent issues, old age needs and behaviour.
– Cross-cultural psychologists explore variations and similarities in attitudes and behaviours across cultures. They aim to differentiate psychological functioning across cultures. Example differences in display rules of emotions across cultures.
Many upcoming fields seek the collaboration of psychologists, like environmental psychology, engineering psychology, aviation psychology, military psychology and sports psychology. One may explore these as well based on interest. Undoubtedly, psychology has gained recognition, and multi-disciplinary opportunities are constantly increasing.
Ms. Saniya Bhutani
Assistant Professor (Psychology), Department of SOM & LS
The NorthCap University, Gur