Psychologists

Pros


  • You learn about what makes people tick.
  • There are a wide variety of opportunities for psychologists for their interests in the field ranging from academic to governments to corporations.
  • Many psychologists are self-employed.
  • The pursuit of research or helping others can be very gratifying for psychologists.

Cons

  • Long, often odd hours are worked by most psychologists in research and for counseling which is usually done outside of normal 9-5 hours to accommodate clients.
  • Time is spent working with people, and many of these people have serious problems or have been in traumatic situations. You must be a people person.
  • You must spend a lot of time (and money) on education. Psychologists must have at least a master’s degree, and most have doctoral degrees.

Overview

Simply put, psychologists study humans and their behaviors. The field of psychology as a profession is wide. Many psychologists spend their time doing scientific research that interests them in academic settings along with teaching students. Others are employed by corporations, governments or medical institutions to help with mental health problems that people experience. Yet another group devotes their time to private practice, where they run a business counseling people for a variety of problems.
Research psychologists form theories about the mind and then perform tests to help to validate them. Some of these tests are performed on mice in a controlled laboratory, and many of them are also performed on people. If a theory is validated then psychologists that counsel people can apply these ideas. A key element to the role of the psychologist is that unlike psychiatrists, they try to help people with their problems through counseling and therapy as opposed to prescription drugs.
Most industries require the assistance of psychologists to aid them in the social problems that people experience during their lives. This includes almost any field whether it may be academic, corporate, government and non-profit environments. Over a third of all psychologists work for themselves in a private practice setting where they run a business to help people privately deal with problematic situations in their lives.

Education

At a minimum, a psychologist will need to obtain a master’s degree in psychology in order to become a professional in the field. This is the requirement to become an industrial organizational psychologist, who works in a corporate or other professional field. A psychologist working in a school usually needs to have a specialist degree, which is three years of graduate coursework along with one year of relevant work experience. For the most part, psychologists work towards obtaining a doctoral degree which allows them opportunities in almost any line of work they are interested in. Having a doctoral degree also allows psychologists to be licensed by a state authority to practice privately.

Job Prospects

Psychologists can expect their profession continue to grow and have excellent prospects. While the profession will have better than average growth over the next ten years, it will depend upon specialty for where psychologists will be most needed. For example, with the baby boomer population aging the specialization of geropsychology, the study of human behavior in old age, is expected to grow tremendously.

Advancement Opportunities

The ability for a psychologist to advance in their career is again dependent upon their specialty. For good reason, psychologists who hold a doctoral degree and are therefore the best trained for research are the ones who will enjoy the greatest advancement opportunities. With the prospects of job growth expected in the area of psychology, one can expect that the ability to advance will be inevitable given that psychologists with more experience will retire or find other opportunities.