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Careers in Psychology

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Explore psychology careers and find your calling

Psychology seeps into nearly every facet of life, and there are so many career options that apply the principles of psychology every day. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single profession in which an understanding of human behavior wouldn’t at least be advantageous. The field of psychology too is a vast, branching web of specialties and subspecialties—a bit like the neural network of the brain itself. If you’re thinking about pursuing a psych-related career, you’re bound to find a niche that excites and engages you.

It’s also worth noting that psychologists and other mental health professionals are predicted to enjoy strong job growth projections, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For example, the employment of clinical and counseling psychologists is expected to grow 11.4% through 2032, faster than the average across all occupations. This data clearly indicates that there is a demand for qualified mental health professionals which should persist for years to come.

Overview of psychology careers to choose from

We’ve compiled over one hundred different psychology career paths into several different categories. Some of these categories and the jobs listed within them represent actual psychological specialties, subspecialties or proficiencies recognized by the APA, while others are unofficial specialties or careers adjacent to the field of psychology.

Numerous different jobs utilize and rely on psychological knowledge every single day, but that doesn’t mean they always end with “psychologist.” Take a look at the multitude of possibilities of where a psychology education can take you.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a broad field that addresses numerous mental and behavioral health challenges across the lifespan. Clinical psychology is one of 17 psychological specialties recognized by the APA. Including clinical psychologists themselves, all roles encompassed within this category require a doctoral degree in psychology to qualify for licensure, which is required to practice.

Clinical psychologists provide a range of continuous mental and behavioral health care to individual patients, groups, couples or families.

Child psychologists focus on the psychological and developmental needs of infants, toddlers, children and adolescents. Clinical child and adolescent psychology is an APA specialty.

Neuropsychologists specialize in learning about the relationship between the brain and behavior. They are proficient in the diagnosis of brain disorders and assessing brain function. Clinical neuropsychology is an APA specialty.

Geropsychologists specialize in applying psychological principles and methods to older adults and seniors. They are especially knowledgeable of the mental and behavioral health changes and challenges in later life, and their goal is to maintain and maximize patient well-being as they age. Geropsychology is an APA specialty.

Health psychologists explore the relationship between mental and physical health. They have knowledge of how cognitive functions influence behaviors that affect our physical health, and they use clinical services to help people achieve maximum health and wellbeing. Clinical health psychology is a specialty recognized by the APA.

Rehabilitation psychologists apply psychological principles on behalf of people with various disabilities, injuries or illnesses. They help patients emotionally cope with their disability and promote healthy behaviors so that patients can positively adapt to their unique circumstances. Rehabilitation psychology is an APA specialty.

Counseling Psychology

Many people often wonder and are confused by the difference between psychologists and counselors. The main difference is that they earn different degrees—most counselors need a master’s degree in counseling, while psychologists almost always have doctoral degrees. Counselors still provide mental health and therapeutic counseling services to clients, but given the difference in their training, they tend to have a more client-focused role instead of a research-focused one.

Substance abuse counselors offer counseling to people coping with addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs. They can work in a variety of settings including detox and addiction treatment centers, hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, private practice and more.  

Marriage and family therapists provide counseling to couples and families. They are focused on relationships and address a variety of issues that could disrupt the group or family dynamic, such as marital challenges, domestic abuse, grief, child and adolescent behavioral issues and more.

School counselors typically serve the entire population of their school and provide a broad mixture of mental health and academic support services for their students.

Career counselors aren’t actually considered mental health professionals, but they do specialize in helping people find fulfilling careers. As a result, they are usually employed by high schools, colleges, universities and workforce assistance programs.

Rehabilitation counselors help people cope with various physical, emotional or developmental disabilities to improve their quality of life.

Mental health counselors provide psychotherapy to clients struggling with a variety of mental and behavioral health issues. They also serve relatively healthy individuals who simply seek the guidance of a mental health professional in their own lives.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology may not be APA specialty, but it is comprised of numerous roles that, in general, explore the various relationships between learning, cognition and mental health. With the exception of school psychologists, most of these roles require a master’s degree in education or psychology to qualify. Specialist-level psychology degrees—degrees that fall in between a master’s and doctorate—are considered the entry-level degree for school psychologists.

School psychologists can evaluate, diagnose and treat various mental and behavioral problems that may be affecting a student’s health and/or academic performance. Whereas school counselors provide a wide range of support to all students, school psychologists typically help children and adolescents that have been referred to their services and require more individualized support.

Educational consultants typically have degrees in education and/or psychology  and may also have teaching or administrative experience. They work with schools and districts to design and implement changes that improve student outcomes, such as changes to curriculum, technology, staffing and more.

Educational researchers collect data to draw conclusions about certain aspects of education. They rely on their research skills to conduct studies that will yield useful information about a given educational situation.  

Assessment specialists are skilled in conducting assessments, tests and evaluations on individuals or groups to understand their mental health needs and make appropriate recommendations or referrals to other providers. This role can be found in educational settings and various healthcare settings as well. 

Learning disabilities specialists are educators that are trained to work specifically with students that have various learning disabilities. They may be classroom teachers and are also responsible for conducting assessments and developing appropriate curriculum.

Behavioral interventionists work with individual students in the classroom that exhibit problematic behaviors. They create behavioral plans and use specific strategies to replace negative behaviors with positive ones.

College/university counselors provide various mental health services to students as a postsecondary institution.

Instructional designers create curriculums and instructional materials for educational courses, from early learning all the way to postsecondary education. They design, develop and implement the overall learning experience. 

Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology is the study of human behavior in the workplace. I/O psychologists aim to improve employee well-being and satisfaction, improve productivity and solve a host of other work-related issues using psychological principles. These roles traditionally require a master’s degree. There are also many other roles in the workplace that utilize psychology to address certain issues and create harmonious work environments, many of which only require a bachelor’s degree to get started.

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists apply psychological knowledge within a workplace to improve both the experience for employees as well as company outcomes. They explore questions concerning productivity, management, employee retention and morale.

Human resource managers oversee the operations of an organization’s human resources department, which include onboarding new employees, providing conflict support and updating company policies and procedures.

Talent acquisition specialists develop and implement recruitment processes for organizations and use those processes to find qualified employees to fill job vacancies.

Organizational development consultants work with an organization’s leadership to identify challenges within the organization and propose solutions. Challenges they may tackle could include performance issues, efficiency, employee retention, employee satisfaction and more.

Training and development specialists create training programs for employees. They assess where more training could be beneficial for an organization, and then design and administer that training. 

Employee engagement specialists seek to improve engagement and commitment between employees and their employers. They design and implement initiatives to cultivate a more positive work culture.

Leadership development coaches support and provide training for leaders, managers and executives to improve their managerial skills that have a lasting impact on the organization and its employees at large.

Research Psychology

Practically all psychologists will conduct research at some point in their career, primarily because graduate programs usually require students to complete at least one research project in order to graduate. That being said, many psychologists and similar professionals may choose to focus on research in their career that follows and generate knew knowledge within the field. In addition, some types of psychologists are, by the very nature of their role, going to be involved in more research than others.

Experimental psychologists study human behavior through methodical experiments and controlled studies. Experimental psychology is not an APA specialty, therefore experimental psychologists may specialize in any number of psychological domains.

Cognitive psychologists are interested in the brains’ cognitive processes, including memory, perception, learning and language. Although behavioral and cognitive psychology is an APA specialty in and of itself, their ideas show up in many other specialties as well.

Social psychologists study how social interaction and influence affect the behavior of individuals and groups. Their job options are varied—they may choose to work in educational, government, healthcare and social service settings.

Developmental psychologists explore how humans grow and develop through the physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual and emotional changes that occur across the lifespan.

Personality psychologists are all about personality: defining what it is, how it functions, how it forms and how it changes—or doesn’t change—over time. 

Psychometrics specialists—also referred to as psychometrists—administer various psychological, neuropsychological and personality tests. They often work with patients that have cognitive conditions or who have suffered brain injuries.

Quantitative research analysts develop scientifically sound research methods and studies for a given topic. They may help psychologists and other psychology research professionals analyze the data gathered in a study to draw certain research conclusions.  

Ready to get started?

The possibilities for a career in psychology are practically endless. When you’re ready, click the Find Schools button to find programs for you.

Health Psychology

It is a well-documented fact that physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. Harm to one, for example, can cause harm to the other. Health psychology investigates the relationship between these two domains of health. The principles of health psychology show up in numerous other health professions besides just the work of health psychologists themselves. Some of these roles only require a psychology associate or psychology bachelor’s degree, while other more advanced roles may require a master’s degree.

Behavioral health specialists typically work under the supervision of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and social workers to administer mental health care to patients. Their duties may include conducting intake interviews, providing administrative support and assisting in therapeutic counseling. Conversely, some jobs use the term ‘behavioral health specialist’ simply to describe licensed professionals in general, such as counselors, therapists and social workers.

Public health consultants work with organizations to design and implement public health initiatives and can specialize in a variety of areas to do so. They use skills in project management, health education, psychology and more to address public health issues such as substance abuse, suicide prevention, veteran support and much more.

Health educators are a broad group of professionals that educate communities about physical and/or mental health issues. They could be classroom teachers, professors, community health workers and much more.

Wellness coaches support clients, usually one-on-one, with a variety of health-related goals. They help clients come up with actionable plans to achieve their goals and identify any barriers to their success.

Patient advocates guide people through the healthcare system.  They assist patients in finding the care that they need, managing insurance and communicating with providers.

Health policy analysts collect data on and research policies that affect public health. They may propose, design and implement new public health policies for an organization or the government.

Health program evaluators plan, coordinate and administer evaluations of various public health programs. They may also have a hand in proposing new programs as solutions to any existing issues they find in their evaluations.  

Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology is all about the intersection of psychology and the legal system. Forensic scientists analyze physical evidence of a crime, but forensic psychologists analyze the psychological aspects of legal proceedings.

As interconnected as crime and psychology are, there are numerous different roles on top of forensic psychologists themselves that use psychological knowledge within the legal and criminal justice systems. Educational requirements can vary immensely: psychologists need a doctoral degree—either a PhD or PsyD—but a master’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, criminology or similar subjects are necessary for many other roles.

Forensic psychologists provide psychological insight to assist judges, attorneys and other law professionals in various legal proceedings. This could entail many different things, such as whether a defendant is psychologically fit to stand trial, mediating and providing support in child custody cases, providing psychological treatment to victims or police officers and so much more. When necessary, they may testify in court as expert witnesses.

Criminal profilers are highly trained law enforcement professionals that investigate serious crimes in an attempt to identify and prosecute a perpetrator.

Jury consultants work with courts on a number of tasks before, during and after a legal trial. They help assemble juries, prepare witnesses and conduct focus groups and mock trials.

Correctional psychologists are a type of forensic psychologist that provides mental health services to inmates in correctional facilities. They screen inmates, conduct psychological assessments and execute mental health treatment plans for patients.

Police psychologists provide psychological support and other mental health care to police and correctional officers. It is not a specialty recognized by the APA, but some forensic psychologists make police psychology the focus of their career.

Victim advocates guide victims and/or witnesses of crime through the legal system. They provide emotional support, connect victims with appropriate resources and help them navigate any legal proceedings and administrative duties that may accompany the crime or trauma that occurred.

Court liaisons are typically clinically trained professionals that provide a link between the courts and mental and behavioral health services. They conduct assessments and can help connect people with various programs and treatment options. 

Juvenile rehabilitation counselors provide and/or coordinate counseling and other mental health support services for youth in juvenile rehabilitation facilities.  

Sport Psychology

Sport psychology is considered a psychological proficiency by the APA. Psychologists and other professionals that use sport psychology address the physical and mental well-being of athletes to help optimize performance. They also explore social and developmental aspects of sport, and their expertise is not limited to athletes alone—coaches, parents and other members of the athletics ecosystem can benefit from their services. Most positions in this field require at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree in subjects such as sports psychology, general psychology, health sciences, exercise science and more are often preferred.

Sports psychologists utilize cognitive and behavioral skills training, counseling and clinical interventions and more to help athletes and other sports personnel maximize their potential, both on and off the field.

Performance enhancement consultants use skills-based training to help people maximize their performance. This kind of training may be intended for athletes, people wanting to do better in their professional lives, students and other everyday people.

Mental skills coaches teach athletes, teams and coaches how to improve their performance using the principles of sport psychology and mental techniques, skills and drills.

Athlete development specialists are a kind of specialized coach that provides more individualized support for athletes. They rely on physiological and psychological knowledge of sports and athletics to help athletes realize their full potential. 

Team dynamics consultants work with groups—sports teams, a professional team working on a project or any other group of people that work together towards a common goal—to identify team goals, strengthen trust and comradery among members and help resolve conflicts.

Coaching consultants aim to help coaches and other group leaders maximize their success and improve their leadership skills. They provide skills-based training and support to help coaches identify their goals and any barriers that may be inhibiting their ability to be effective leaders.

Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychologists explore the relationship between people and their physical environment. These ideas can be applied to numerous different roles in the sphere of conservation and sustainability, the demand for which may only increase as environmental and climate changes occur more frequently and more severely. Professionals in this field frequently hold degrees in environmental science, psychology, biology, engineering and more.

Urban planners develop land use plans to solve various issues affecting communities and revitalize certain facilities in towns and cities. They have to be able to identify community needs and visualize how development plans can meet those needs.

Sustainability consultants advise businesses and organizations on how to decrease their environmental footprint. They help propose environmentally conscious solutions that can be implemented by the organization to be more sustainable.

Workplace design specialists plan and design the spatial layout of a workplace to make it more efficient, aesthetically pleasing, sustainable, functional or to address any other workplace needs.

Conservation psychologists study how humans value and perceive nature as well as how humans interact with and behave toward nature. Given society’s concern with how humans are negatively impacting the environment, many conservation psychologists are interested in understanding what motivates humans to want to protect the environment.

Environmental policy analysts examine environmental policies and legislation to measure their efficacy and make sure that policies are enacted that meet the needs of the environment and communities.

Community development specialists develop, administer and analyze policies that affect the development of communities, such as affordable housing, parks development, new infrastructure and more.

Natural disaster resilience planners are a type of emergency management professional that creates contingency plans for communities in the event of a natural disaster.

Positive Psychology

The notion of positive psychology encompasses the positive experiences that make life worth living—in other words, it’s the study of human flourishing and how humans achieve happiness and fulfillment. Many professionals utilize this optimistic outlook to help others identify and build upon their strengths, find personal meaning and experience gratitude. Coaches and consultants within this field usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, and licensed professionals almost always need at least a master’s in order to practice.

Happiness coaches help clients achieve happiness and contentment. They provide individuals with strategies to unlock their potential and follow through on their dreams and aspirations, as well as identify any barriers that may be inhibiting one’s unrealized happiness.

Well-being consultants may work with individuals or for organizations to help identify how to create a more positive work environment so that overall well-being can be improved.

Positive education specialists apply the principles of positive psychology within schools and education. Their goal is to help create a positive learning experience for all children.

Life satisfaction researchers investigate how life satisfaction can be measured as well as what factors contribute to positive life satisfaction. They collect and analyze data to draw conclusions about how satisfaction and contentment can be achieved.

Strengths-based therapists utilize a strengths-based approach in their therapy practice, which means they focus on clients’ positive attributes, resilience, skills and other aptitudes to encourage and foster future growth.

Mindfulness instructors coach individuals, groups or organizations in how to practice mindfulness, the art of being fully present in the current moment without judgement or interpretation.

Geriatric Psychology

Geriatric psychology is concerned with the psychological changes that occur in older adults and seniors. As older generations continue to age and live longer, the demand for qualified professionals that are trained in how to successfully care for older adults is bound to grow. Most positions require an education in health and/or social sciences to qualify, as well as some supervised clinical experience.

Memory care specialists are professional care workers that are specially trained to assist seniors suffering from dementia. They often work in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes or in home health care. 

Certified care managers possess a particular combination of relevant education and experience working in care management that qualifies them for certification as care managers.

Elderly mental health counselors provide a range of mental health support services to older adults and seniors. They are attuned to the unique needs of the elderly and incorporate this knowledge into their counseling practice.

Dementia care consultants are professional care workers—typically nurses or other licensed healthcare professionals—that specialize in working with patients with dementia. They may provide support for institutions, such as nursing homes, or to individuals that are caring for family members with dementia.

Geriatric rehabilitation specialists assist the elderly as they recuperate from injury and illness or cope with a disability. 

Palliative care psychologists work with patients who are facing the end of their life, such as the elderly and the terminally ill. Their ultimate goal is to improve patients’ quality of life by reducing stress and helping them cope with fear, grief and uncertainty.

Geriatric behavioral health consultants work among various organizations to provide behavioral health care such as counseling to older adults and the elderly.

Military Psychology

Military psychology focuses on the unique mental health needs of military personnel, veterans and their families. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and substance abuse are among the most publicized issues that plague military personnel. With suicide rates of veterans outpacing those of non-veterans, for example, demand for qualified professionals in this field has seldom been greater. Many of these jobs may be within the military itself or are civilian roles. Either way, most people wishing to enter this field require at least a master’s degree, and these days you can even earn your psychology master’s online. Some more clinical roles may only be available to nurses or other healthcare professionals.

Combat and operational stress controllers teach military personnel how to control stress before, during and after combat. Their goal is to prepare soldiers for the realities of combat to improve resilience, courage and resolve to increase the chances of operations being successful.

Trauma specialists are mental health providers such as psychologists, counselors and therapists that work with clients that have suffered trauma in some form. They apply psychological principles to reduce the physiological and psychological effects of stress, diminish the power of triggers and promote healing.

Military resilience trainers teach resilience skills to military personnel and their families. These skills are meant to teach people how to withstand and overcome intense physical and psychological situations.

Family support counselors work specifically with family members of military personnel to provide mental and behavioral health care. Counselors who work with military families are especially versed in supporting families members with concerns such as frequent relocation, PTSD and other issues that the military member may bring home, infrequent contact with the military member and more.

Post-deployment rehabilitation specialists provide medical and/or mental health treatment to soldiers returning home from active-duty deployment. Their services are typically focused on those that have suffered a traumatic injury or illness as a result of their deployment.

PTSD treatment providers include psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, counselors and other mental health professionals that specialize in treating patients that suffer from PTSD.

Consumer Psychology

Research conducted by consumer psychologists seeks to answer questions about why people make certain purchases and other financial decisions. Consumer psychologists are particularly interested in exploring these questions through the lens of sustainability, health and financial well-being. Many marketing and business professionals are interested in the same ideas and use consumer psychology to inform their business decisions, particularly with advertising. Professionals in this field typically only need a bachelor’s degree in psychology (you could even earn your undergrad in psychology online), marketing or a similar subject, but having a master’s degree could potentially lead to more job opportunities in the long run.

Market research analysts collect data on consumer trends and business conditions to help businesses make strategic decisions regarding their products, how to market them, how much to make them cost and much more.

Advertising strategists utilize their expertise in marketing trends to help businesses create advertising plans for products.

Brand consultants help businesses develop a unique and compelling brand voice for their marketing and branding materials. This brand identity can vary immensely depending on the business and the product(s) it sells.

Product development researchers work on creating new products and production processes for various businesses and/or manufacturers.

Customer experience managers oversee the development and implementation of strategies meant to enhance the customer service experience. Their goal is to create a customer experience that is engaging, memorable and effective at getting customers to make purchases.

Neuromarketing specialists study why people make certain purchase decisions and the neurological level. Their combination of marketing and scientific expertise may be utilized by companies, neuromarketing consulting agencies, government organizations and more. 

Cross-Cultural Psychology

Culture appears in just about everything we do. Cross-cultural psychologists take a special interest in culture and how it informs human behavior. You don’t need to be a psychologist, however, to find a career of which culture is a defining element. The qualifications for these roles can vary greatly, but many of these professionals have degrees in psychology, communications, global studies and foreign languages.

Intercultural trainers facilitate cross-cultural training within organizations to improve people’s cultural competencies, including the ability to effectively communicate with people from other cultures.

Diversity and inclusion consultants work with organizations to identify any deficiencies in diversity and inclusion and propose solutions.

Global leadership development coaches train various professionals on how to be a better, more effective leader. They specialize in helping people that work in diverse, international teams. 

International conflict resolution specialists help companies and/or government organizations mediate cross-cultural and international conflicts.

Expatriate adjustment counselors provide mental health support to clients that have moved to a foreign country. Their expertise in helping clients adjust to living in a new country makes them specially poised to counsel expatriates.

Cultural sensitivity trainers coach people on how to be more mindful of other people’s cultures, either proactively or reactively. They typically work for companies to provide employee-wide training.

Family Psychology

Family psychology explores questions related to family dynamics, societal changes affecting families and how to make couple and family relationships thrive. Couple and family psychology is an APA specialty itself, but it also has overlap with other specialties such as child and adolescent psychology and group psychology. Since many roles in this field involve counseling, most professionals interested in family psychology may need at least a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

Parenting coaches provide parents with strategies to improve their parenting skills and solve issues that may be affecting the parent-child dynamic.

Divorce mediators help couples navigate the legal and emotional processes of divorce. Their goal is not to repair the relationship but help couples move forward from the relationship in healthy ways.

Child and adolescent counselors are mental health professionals who provide psychotherapy to children and adolescents. They rely on their unique understanding of child and adolescent development as well as the issues that frequently plague this age group to intervene when mental health challenges arise.  

Blended family counselors specialize in providing counseling to families with step-parents and/or step-children. 

Adoption specialists are typically social workers or similar professionals that oversee the adoption process, including screening prospective adoption placements, helping families prepare for their new children, conducting follow-up visits and more.

Art Therapy

Art and artmaking within a psychotherapeutic relationship has shown to be an effective tool to support therapy treatment goals. Art engages the human brain in unique and profound ways, earning art therapy a rightful place in the vast field of mental health. Therapists and counselors need a master’s degree to practice, but other roles within the field that are less clinical in nature may only require bachelor’s degree to break into.

Art therapists facilitate artmaking and creative expression with clients in a therapeutic counseling setting.

Expressive arts therapists facilitate artmaking in a therapeutic setting much like art therapists, but the difference is that they incorporate expressive arts such as writing, drama/acting, music and dance into their practice as well.

Art-based community outreach coordinators create and implement various outreach initiatives meant to engage community members in art-based activities and projects.  

Trauma-informed art therapists have special training in working with patients that have experienced trauma and how to use art therapy to produce the best possible outcomes for those patients.

Art therapy program directors oversee academic programs in art therapy. They manage instructors and other faculty, evaluate program curriculum and ensure that program outcomes are being met.

School Psychology

If you drew a Venn diagram with educational psychology on one side and child and adolescent psychology on the other, school psychology might be the overlapping middle ground. School psychology focuses its attention on children, youth, families and the schooling processes they interact with. Professionals in this field are trained to intervene and help students that are struggling with mental health, behavioral or academic issues.

They also work to develop and implement new programs that create a positive and healthy learning environment for all students. A master’s degree in school psychology is considered the entry-level education for most positions in the field of school psychology, including school psychologists themselves, though an EdS and EdD are also options.

Special education advocates act as a liaison between schools and parents of children requiring special education. They help to make sure the child’s needs are being met, educate parents on the resources available to them and work with teachers to develop appropriate, individualized education plans for the child.

Behavioral intervention specialists work with children and youth to treat behavioral issues through therapy, skill-building and other individualized social-emotional support.

School crisis counselors provide counseling and other mental health support to the student body. They are also trained to quickly respond to mental health and other student crises should they arise. 

Response to intervention (RTI) specialists assist schools in identifying students who may need more academic and behavioral health support, and then help those students using the response to intervention (RTI) methodology.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) consultants help identify students that may be on the autistic spectrum and then work with those students to help treat their symptoms and promote the best possible outcomes. They may work in a clinical setting or directly in the schools.


It’s no secret that the human brain remains a mystery to scientists in many ways, despite all the medical advancements that have been made up to today. Neuropsychologists seek to bridge this knowledge gap by examining the relationship between the brain and behavior. Psychologists and other professionals usually need a doctoral degree to work in this highly scientific branch of psychology.

Pediatric neuropsychologists are especially interested in the neurological processes of children. They are trained to diagnose brain disorders and assess neurological function in children. Their expertise is often called upon to help intervene with children experiencing behavioral issues.

Traumatic brain injury specialists are healthcare professionals that are specially trained in treating patients with traumatic brain injuries. Their goal is to help patients recover and restore normal brain function as much as possible.

Stroke rehabilitation psychologists help people who have suffered a stroke cope with their circumstances. They provide mental health support to try to mitigate post-stroke depression and anxiety that could hinder the patient’s recovery process.

Neurocognitive assessment specialists are trained to assess someone’s neurological functions to help with a diagnosis, determine cognitive strengths and weaknesses and help create a treatment plan.

Forensic neuropsychologists assess the relationship between brain function and behavior for the sake of assisting with legal proceedings such as criminal investigations.

Human Factors Psychology

Human factors psychology is the study of how people interact with machines and technology. Psychological professionals in this field ask questions surrounding usability, safety, how to improve products and how technological products affect us. Many other professions use the principles of human factors psychology on a daily basis. Qualifications to work in this field widely vary, with some positions requiring only a bachelor’s degree and others—like psychologists themselves—needing a doctoral degree.

Ergonomics consultants work with companies to identify ergonomic challenges in the workplace—things that impede efficiency, physical comfort and safety—and propose appropriate solutions.

User experience researchers collect and analyze data about users/consumers, their needs and whether a given product meets the user’s needs. Product developers use this data to update and create new products. 

Human-computer interaction specialists create effective, user-friendly digital experiences and products based upon data collected by user experience researchers.  

Aviation psychologists address psychological needs and challenges related to flying, such as helping passengers overcome a fear of flying, performing psychological assessments on pilot and teaching people how to manage their anxieties in-flight when situations like turbulence occur.

Transportation safety consultant assess various public and private transportation systems to determine if they comply with safety regulations and suggest ways to make them safer. 

Crisis and Trauma Psychology

Professionals in the field of crisis and trauma psychology explore how trauma impacts people and how to stall or reverse trauma’s adverse effects. They help people after trauma has occurred, but they are also trained in how to help people in the middle of a physical and/or mental health crisis and how to mitigate potential triggers in the future. Positions in this field that involve counseling require at least a master’s degree, but there are other crisis response roles that may only require an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or on-the-job training to qualify.

Crisis counselors are emergency mental health specialists that intervene to help individuals struggling with a crisis, either in the moment (e.g. over the phone) or in a traditional counseling space. Their goal is to provide short-term support and help the client transition back into a state of control and balance.

Trauma therapists work specifically with patients that have experienced trauma to help them recover and reduce the physical and mental impact of the traumatic event or situation.

Disaster response coordinators are emergency management professionals that create, implement and practice disaster response procedures for a wide range of disaster scenarios. 

Crisis hotline operators answer phone, text and chat lines for crisis situations. They are trained to provide immediate support to people in need, such as people contemplating suicide, drug relapse, or hurting themselves or others. They also provide callers with resources to seek out relevant professionals for longer-term support.

Critical incident stress management specialists support first-responders and other people that may be involved in critical incidents to help manage stress in the moment and after the critical incident has occurred.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) specialists work with people that have been affected by PTSD to overcome their trauma, identify and weaken triggers and provide general mental health support.

Things to consider when choosing a psychology career

Consider these two factors while doing your research:

Do you go for an established or emerging career in psychology?

The field of psychology coevolves with society itself as modern issues and new research opportunities continue to arise. In the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2021 trends report, they described numerous contemporary issues that the field will contend with in years to come. These issues prompt many questions and may lead to new opportunities within the field, such as:

  • Political division: How can psychology help more people find common ground and begin to heal the vast political divide?
  • Mental health apps: Are mental health and other self-help apps effective? Do they help or hinder leading more people to services provided by psychologists and therapists?
  • Distance learning: How is distance learning affecting individuals and their learning experience? Can distance learning provide unique benefits that in-person learning does not? How can psychologists help develop the distance learning experience to be as effective as possible?
  • Telehealth: How can the telehealth experience be improved? How should concerns about privacy and security be addressed?
  • Reaching underserved communities: How can we make sure that underserved communities get access to the mental health care that they deserve?

These are just a few examples of many emerging areas in which psychological professionals can have a direct impact. Consider whether you want an established area of specialty or a new emergent field.

What should I consider with personal interest and fit?

Deciding what career path to follow—especially if you’re considering career that requires a long and rigorous education—is a big decision. While it’s true that some careers allow more flexibility to pivot to another role within the field than others, it’s important that you begin by choosing a career that aligns with your interests and aspirations. After all, being passionate about what you do is much more likely to breed success and fulfillment.

In addition, it’s important to account for your personal strengths, weaknesses and values to find that perfect career fit. For example, passion for helping others may be a good starting point for a prospective counselor, but if you balk at the thought of sitting through hours of counseling sessions, then a more active role may be a better fit for you. It all comes down to taking an honest look at who you are and what you dream to do. By exploring the different types of jobs that are out there, you may discover something you didn’t even know existed that could be the career for you. 

Resources and further reading

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Psychology degree options

Explore these psychology degree paths and see where your education can take you. For instance, if you’re curious about careers in psychology with a bachelor’s degree, visit our bachelor’s degree page and see what your options entail.

Ready to get started?

The possibilities for a career in psychology are practically endless. By exploring the different specialties that are out there, you may discover the perfect path for you. Start by thinking about your own interests and strengths, and then take some time to research the different career paths that are out there to find the best fit for your personal skills and passions. When you’re ready, click the Find Schools button to find programs for you.