The study of the human or animal mind and behavior, Psychology branches out into various more focused studies or subfields as an academic discipline. Many students thriving for higher education take an interest in the workings of the mind can further specialize in a more specific concentration. Psychology aims to better humanity in the personal, work, and social settings by promoting constant interpersonal development while stumping individual roadblocks.
If you’re interested in this field, first it’s important to know the concentration you’ll be focusing on in your career. These are the best concentrations in Psychology:
- Behavioral Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Engineering Psychology
- Research/Experimental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Social/Personality Psychology
- Sports Psychology
- Quantitative and Measurement Psychology
While each area is different, all are equally interesting and beneficial. Let’s get to know the core specialties.
Behavioral psychology studies how our mind and our behavior connect. Also called Behaviorism, this psychological approach is concerned with understanding why humans think, feel, and behave the way they do. It seeks to uncover behavioral patterns with the end goal of helping predict action. It also aims to improve individual behavior and transform them into positive habits through behavioral-modification techniques. Behaviorism utilizes scientific and objective investigation strategies but deals primarily with stimulus-response behaviors. It is anchored on the principle that human behavior is learned through interaction with their environment. If you are interested in this practice, you need to earn a graduate-level degree in behavioral neuroscience that specializes in behavioral psychology. Clinical psychologists are required to earn licensure before practicing.
Clinical Psychology centers on the assessment and treatment of mental illness and other complex or abnormal psychiatric problems of the mind. This is ideal for individuals who are comfortable with hands-on work, and with a lot of patients. Clinical psychology is a graduate study, and graduates earn a psychology doctorate along with training in clinics. Once you receive your doctorate, you’ll need plenty of hours for fieldwork in a clinic, hospital, counseling centers to both group and independent practices. Work typically involves assessing, diagnosing and treating psychological disorders, conducting research or administering programs to prevent and resolve clinical problems. Prior to choosing a program in this field, always be sure it is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology
Cognitive and perceptual psychologists work around human thinking, memory, reasoning, perception, decision-making, and judgment. The field studies how the mind copes with reality and how people comprehend, gain knowledge or communicate. You need to earn a Ph.D. to practice as a cognitive and perceptual psychologist. Licensure is a plus but it is not a requirement unless you are in a consulting practice or clinical profession. The range of specializations includes visual processing, artificial intelligence, memory disorders, children’s understanding of emotions, conscious and unconscious behavior, and self-awareness.
To counsel means to guide and help people cope with life problems, allowing them to realize their central strengths and helping them understand their psychological well-being. This type of psychologist is an expert at observing the differences in human traits in many respects, including religion, race, and sexual orientation around which instruction, research, and psychotherapy work revolve. Graduates of Counseling Psychology Ph.D. programs work in government agencies, research firms, private firms, substance abuse treatment centers, and universities to counsel people of all age groups.
A branch that deals with human psychological development, developmental psychology helps people in various stages of life: prenatal, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and finally, old age. This is a wide-field specialization that leads to various career paths such as rehabilitation counselor, behavioral therapist, caseworker, and school counselor. Several schools across the country offer Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree programs in Developmental Psychology.
Fit for our fast-paced and highly-advancing world, Engineering Psychology (also called Human Factors Engineering) emphasizes the behavior and capability of man as they relate to the application of technology or operational systems. Engineering Psychologists are holders of master’s or doctorate degree. Their work typically involves researching, designing products, or developing software with the goal of making products and resources function more efficiently and offer ease of use in the age of consumerism.
The human mind is complex; Research/Experimental Psychology helps map out the many intricacies better. This field of study involves research and application of scientific methods for discovering how the human brain works as it relates to post-traumatic stress disorders and treatment of mental illness. This subfield of Psychology requires critical thinking skills and communication competence as they advocate for research. To become a fully-fledged research psychologist, you need to earn a doctoral degree, complete post-doctoral placement, and apply for licensure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19% job growth for this field.
Forensic psychology work requires eagerness and awareness of social and cultural issues, high observational and communication skills, genuine passion for resolving crime, adaptability, composure, and patience. Forensic psychologists work with detectives, lawyers, and other professionals to, among other things, evaluate the mental state of a crime suspect for testimony in a court of law. Forensic psychologists hold a Ph.D. or PsyD degree and have obtained licensure. They work in law firms, forensic hospitals, correctional facilities, law enforcement agencies, and judicial courts.
Health psychology, sometimes called medical psychology, involves the study of behavioral and psychological progressions in health, sickness, and healthcare along with the social factors affecting them. Health psychology aims for health education and prevention of physical and psychological illness. Health psychologists who hold appropriate training are given prescribing powers in some states. They work in health care clinics, hospitals, universities, or private corporations and specialize in women’s health, pain management, oncology, and smoking cessation, among others.
Industrial-organizational psychologists enhance the quality of the work environment of and increase productivity within, an organization. They utilize psychological principles and research methods to resolve issues to ensure that everyone in it is in a healthy working and social condition. Specific work includes counseling employees or members of the organization, rehashing company policies, and creating new work processes. Some professionals team up with the human resource department, while others are specially hired. They work in construction sites, factories, or multi-million-dollar corporations. Industrial and organizational psychologists are holders of a master’s degree.
Neuropsychology is a critical profession that helps doctors understand how problems in the brain occur and how the brain reacts and recovers. The expertise of a neuropsychologist is required for patients undergoing brain surgery or in the recovery stage. With aid from high-end technology, they assess and diagnose brain-related illnesses and injuries, and recommend the right course of medical action. They use neuropsychology principles that also help determine and treat brain injury in animals, and assist in their recovery. Other neuropsychology specializations also include the child’s learning and social psychology; these psychologists work in government research facilities or private organizations.
To become a practicing neuropsychologist, you need to earn Master’s and a Doctorate in the field, obtain state licensure, get postdoctoral experience, and become Board certified. Neuropsychologists in the United States earn an average of $94,100 annually.
A social-personality psychologist is an expert in identifying the social norms, beliefs, and attitudes that affect a range of interpersonal behaviors, including groups. You’ll find a social psychologist in testing firms, advertising agencies to academic settings. They also work for market research companies and consulting firms. Doctoral degree programs in this field typically require up to 5 years of training that culminates in a dissertation in Social-Personality Psychology.
Sports psychology deals with many subjects ranging from Kinesiology to Biomechanics. It studies the physical and psychological benefits of an active lifestyle and determines how mental factors affect performance. More so, they work with athletes or Olympians to beat mental struggles and enhance performance through various techniques. A sports psychologist helps them overcome hurdles and maximize their potential. Careers include, but are not limited to, Sports Rehabilitation Therapist, University Team Coach, Sports Research Specialist, and Sports Psychology Professor. Entry-level work requires a clinical psychology doctorate or master’s or doctorate degree in clinical psychology, counseling, and sports psychology or counseling.
Quantitative and Measurement Psychology
Quantitative psychology is a wide field but generally works around methods that measure the various attributes of a human being. This discipline often deals with statistics, the math of psychological processes, researching, and analyzing data. Quantitative psychologists are holders of a doctoral degree. They work as program analysts and earn advanced degrees in statistics or psychological measurement. Graduate programs usually choose students with a background in linear algebra, calculus, as well as college-level and graduate-level statistic courses.
Psychology is a beautiful study that features the inner workings and complexities of the mind. Dealing with problem-solving, attention, perception, memory, or language acquisition, this field of study and the continuity of it prospers the development of individuals while improving their health and relationships. Psychology is also immensely beneficial to society in general. Unearthing the mind’s deeper vessels leads to vaster knowledge and discovery that allows mankind to delve to enormous possibilities.