Psychology

Earnings Potential

  • Clinical psychologists, counselors, and school psychologists in the median range earn between $54,950 and 71,800 per year (BLS). 
  • Industrial and organizational psychologists typically earn between $56,880 and $93,210 per year (BLS). 

Facts at a glance

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18-26% increase in job growth for psychologists through 2014.  Job growth is expected to increase along with the increased demand for psychologists in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics, consulting firms, and private companies (BLS).
  • The best jobs go to school psychologists, especially those with a specialty degree in counseling, health or school psychology.   
  • Jobs are also expected to increase for industrial and organizational psychologist to help businesses improve productivity and retention, as well as help employees deal with workplace diversity and antidiscrimination policies (BLS). 

Summary of what this career entails

Psychologists are scientists or clinicians who specialize in the study of the human mind, human behavior and human cognition (Wikipedia.org).  Research psychologists investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior.  Clinical psychologists provide mental health counseling to patients in hospitals, clinics, schools, or private settings.  Industrial and organizational psychologists are usually hired by businesses, industry, government, or nonprofits to provide training, conduct research, design systems, and act as advocates for psychology (BLS).

Examples and or details of work

In an article published online by the American Psychological Association in its November 2006 issue, writer Lea Winerman talks about how psychologists are studying the influence of positive attitudes about aging and personality on longevity.  In the article, titled “A healthy mind, a longer life”, Winerman talks about gerontologist Robert Atchley, PhD who thirty years ago ran a study of 1,100 residents of Oxford, Ohio.  The participants, all over the age of 50, were asked to answer survey questions about their physical and mental health, socioeconomic status, work life, family and other topics.  These questions were designed to measure people’s attitudes toward their own aging.  In 2002, a Yale university psychologists, Rebecca Levy published a study based, in part, on Atchley’s study.  Levy compared death records of the participants and compared them to their survey answers.  She found that those with a positive attitude about their own aging lived an average of  7.6 years longer than those who had a more negative view (Winerman). 

According to the United Press International (UPI), scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in collaboration with Central Texas Veterans Health Care System have discovered a gene linked to mental illness.  The article titled “Gene linked with mental illness is studied” and published on November 7, 2006, reports that the variant gene linked to mental illness is also linked to an “enlargement of a brain region that handles negative emotions” (UPI).  This gene is related to neurotransmitters in the brain that release serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood, sleep, sexuality, appetite.  Low levels of serotonin are known to cause depression, bipolar, anxiety, and migraines (Wikipedia). 

Degrees that lead to this career

A doctoral degree is generally required to practice as an independent licensed clinical or counseling psychologist.  A Ph.D. is also required to teach, conduct research, perform clinical analysis, and counsel patients in universities, health care services, secondary schools, private industry, and government.  Psychologists with a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree usually work in clinical settings or have their own private practice (BLS).

References

United Press International. “Gene Linked with Mental Illness is Studied”.  7 Nov. 2006. 

8 November 2006.

            <http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20061107-032716-7634r>.

U.S. Department of Labor.  Bureau of Labor Statistics.  “Psychologists”.  4 Aug. 2006.  8 November 2006.

<http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm>.

Wikipedia.  “Psychologists”  8 Nov. 2006.  8 November 2006. 

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychologist>.

Wikipedia.  “Serotonin”  6 Nov. 2006.  8 November 2006. 

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin>.

Winerman, Lea.  “A Healthy Mind, A Longer Life”.  American Psychological Association. Apa.org.

Nov. 2006.  8 November 2006.

<http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov06/healthy.html>.

 

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