Those who choose to study psychology are not only curious about human behavior, but also know the scientific knowledge they acquire from the study of human behavior can be applied to a wide range of problems in everyday life. These students are not only interested in satisfying a desire for a better understanding of themselves and others, but also recognize how psychology applies to a broad range of professions (including education, business, sports, and the law) and can form the foundation for graduate study.
What do psychologists do?
The work of the psychologist is to solve problems through the careful collection of evidence, the analysis of scientific data, and the development and implementation of intervention strategies. Some psychologists use their knowledge of human behavior to develop additional theories and test them using the scientific method. Other psychologists use established knowledge to develop and implement intervention strategies to enhance the efficacy of human behavior to meet the changing needs of people and our society.
Human service agencies and health care facilities employ 30 percent of all working psychologists. The majority of these psychologists are clinical or counseling psychologists who help to diagnose and treat individuals with various behavioral and emotional problems. An advanced degree in psychology creates numerous opportunities to work in fields other than counseling including sports psychology, industrial organizational psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, and developmental psychology, to name a few.
Teaching and research are areas most chosen by non-practicing psychologists. Approximately 40 percent of psychologists work in educational environments, in such positions as counselors, educators, and researchers. Most often, those psychologists with academic positions also maintain a private practice while teaching or conducting research. With masters-level qualifications, teaching in high schools or junior colleges is possible, while doctoral-level qualifications are required to teach at the college and post-graduate levels.
The American Psychological Association is an excellent resource for those interested in learning more about career paths in psychology.
Careers outside psychology
With a strong background in research and the scientific method and with experience in identifying and resolving many of the problems surrounding human behavior, the study of psychology is good preparation for many other professions. Many corporate, business, and educational enterprises look favorably on applicants with some background in psychology. Students from our undergraduate program have gone on to careers involving their knowledge of psychology (e.g., working with developmentally disabled children, working in human resource offices, leading sales teams, managing organizations). An emerging area of psychology is psychometrics and psychological testing which involves the design and administration of tests of competence and aptitude employed in business and corporate setting.