Do you want to be the next Sigmund Freud or Ivan Pavlov? Well, it’s about time you discovered the various career paths available to you in the exciting world of psychological science. You’ve got a whole bunch of options to choose from.
However, you probably won’t be analysing people’s dreams or messing about with a pack of salivating dogs. You will most likely be working with adults or children to understand their psychological states and provide practical solutions based on your conclusions.
What do psychologists do?
Working as a psychologist is all about observing, examining, assessing, evaluating and analysing human behaviour in order to help expand our understanding of the mind and how humans interact, cope, learn, think and act. Psychological research, observations and experiments can also be applied to help solve practical problems.
You could pursue an academic career, where you’ll most likely be conducting your own personal research and lecturing psychology students within one of the UK’s many academic institutions.
Alternatively, you could explore one of the many applied psychology routes. There are so many different areas to specialise in, such as: clinical, health, counselling and occupational psychology; educational, child, and sport and exercise psychology; and forensic, sexual and neuropsychology.
The expertise of psychologists can be harnessed by all kinds of organisations. If you break into this line of work, you could be working for the NHS, private health organisations, the government, the armed forces, the police, education institutions, legal organisations, HR departments or sports organisations.
All psychologists need to obtain a relevant psychology degree or qualification, which is accredited by an official body, such as the Health Professionals Council or the British Psychological Society. The majority of psychologists specialise in one niche area and thus also tend to study specific postgraduate degrees in order to enhance their expertise. The complexity of these careers means that entry without a degree is not possible.
What options do I have a psychologist?
Clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists work with patients in health and social care settings who are suffering from mental health or psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety or dependence on narcotics. For more information on this line of work, check out the Healthcare: Psychological Therapy subsector now!
Understandably, health psychologists also tend to work in healthcare settings. However, they focus on altering people’s behaviour and attitudes in order to improve their health. These guys are called on to tackle sexual health issues and help people quit smoking or reduce their consumption of alcohol.
Occupational psychologists use their expert knowledge of psychological theory and techniques to address work-related issues, problems and challenges. For more information on these careers, check out the Human Resources: Occupational Psychology subsector now!
Educational psychologists use their expert knowledge of psychology and teaching practices to help improve educational provision for people in a range of learning environments. For more information on these careers, check out the Educational Psychology subsector now!
Forensic psychologists play an integral role in solving criminal investigations. They apply their expert knowledge of human behaviour to help police officers and other legal professionals to understand criminal behaviour. They may also work within prisons and detention centres to offer treatment and support to criminals with psychological problems.
Sport and exercise psychologists work with sportspeople to help mentally prepare them for competition, motivate them to participate and put in that extra bit of effort. Essentially, it’s all about refining, improving and optimising their performance. These guys might also help people to cope after suffering an injury that could have a detrimental effect on their career or prevent them participating in sporting activity for a long period of time.
Neuropsychologists are experts on the functionality of the brain. Consequently, they need a solid knowledge of neuroscience. They observe and assess the psychological state of people that have suffered brain damage or have undergone brain surgery. They also provide vital support to patients that are recovering from brain diseases or intense head trauma and help them through the rehabilitation process.
As you can see, it’s not all about mothers, fathers, and envy and/or fear of various sensitive body parts, and it’s not all about ringing bells and withholding doggie treats. Psychological sciences keep pace with medicine in terms of their importance – which has been highlighted by the recent campaigns which aim to remove the stigma of mental health – so it’s an incredibly rewarding career path to take.