Careers In The Field of Psychology

Learn everything you need to know about Psychology careers.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to reach their education and career goals is failing to truly explore and research the career paths they plan to pursue.

Some of the obvious questions you should ask yourself are:

  • -Does the career path fit your personality?
  • -Would doing this job, day in and day out make you happy?
  • -Is the typical salary enough to reach my income goals?
  • -How much schooling will I need and what kind of time and costs am I willing to commit to my education?

The more difficult questions- that only experts and individuals in the field of psychology can answer- are addressed in our extensive list of psychology careers below.   Be sure to read our career descriptions, expert interviews,  and step-by-step instructions on how to obtain licensure in your state, before you take the next step towards your career.

Choose a Psychology Career Category…

Professions Job Responsibilities Education Requirements
Child Psychologist

Child Psychologist

Child psychologists are responsible for studying, analyzing, and diagnosing the mental, social, and emotional development and behavior of children from birth through adolescence. Some of the things that child psychologists study include genetics, personality and brain development, social maturation, and language development. They are also charged with helping identify, prevent, and treat social, emotional, and developmental issues that inevitably arise in children. Doctoral or professional degree
Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists are the psychologists in charge of analyzing, identifying, treating, and preventing mental disorders and issues. Don’t mistake them for medical doctors as they can’t prescribe medical treatment in most of the country, instead they work in private practice, or state-run hospitals, or an academic environment and study psychological disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. Their job is to help their patients identify, understand, and treat both common and serious mental disorders. Doctoral of Professional Degree
Rehabilitation counselors

Cognitive Neuroscientist

Cognitive neuroscientists examine and understand brain functions and how they relate to behavior and development. Their primary job responsibility is to study and conduct research on how and why humans think and behave the way they do. They combine science and psychological knowledge to try and understand how behavior and actions are controlled by neural activity and functions. Doctoral or Professional Degree

Cognitive Psychologist

Cognitive psychologists study the human thought process by examining how people process and store information, especially in regards to subjects like language, decision-making, deductive reasoning, and problem-solving. Their research consists of intensive study of the aforementioned subjects and then applying that information so they can help solve real-world problems and help people understand their behavior and the behavior of others better. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Community Psychologist

Community Psychologists have the unique job of studying, researching, understanding, and analyzing the relationships of people with their immediate and broader communities. They try to understand the reasoning behind community issues, how people interact with their communities, and how people behave and act with others within their community. A relatively new discipline, community psychology is important in understanding community mental health and well-being. Doctoral or Professional Degree

Consumer Psychologist

Consumer psychologists study and analyze how thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, ideas, and impulses impact people’s behavior as consumers. They study how and why people use, buy, and experience certain products and then they draw psychologically-based conclusions surrounding consumer behavior, trends, and patterns. Consumer psychologists often look at factors such as decision-making, impulse control, and social and cultural influences when examining consumer behavior. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Counseling Psychologist

Counseling psychologists focus on the emotional, social, educational, and developmental behavior on people and use that research to help encourage and facilitate more successful personal and interpersonal behavior. Counseling psychologists do everything from consulting work for government agencies and large schools to individual and group therapy for those suffering from substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and many others. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Developmental Psychologist

The primary function of developmental psychologists is to study and understand human social and emotional growth and development over the course of time. Developmental psychologists are often asked to evaluate and diagnose patients with developmental disabilities, understand the origin and problems with language development, and work with people of all ages and personalities to pinpoint their developmental obstacles and successes. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Educational Psychologist

Educational Psychologists have the unenviable job of studying and understanding how people are capable of learning in educational settings, the efficacy of certain educational methods, and the effectiveness of the instructional process.  They help identify gifted and disabled learners and try to drill down to the root of the problem in hopes of identifying and treating issues in the early stages. Educational psychologists take a proactive rather than reactive approach to the job and use their research to improve educational experiences for people of all learning styles. Doctoral or Professional Degree

Engineering Psychologist

Engineering Psychologists are tasked with taking knowledge, research, and understandings of psychology, and applying them to the field of engineering in order to help build and engineer better systems and processes. They work on subjects like sensory perception, long-term memory, decision-making behavior, and problem-solving. A large part of their work is trying to engineer safer and more effective usable systems. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Environmental Psychologist

Environmental Psychologist

Environmental Psychologists take part in the study of environment and the psychological interaction that takes place in certain types of environments. It is believed that the understanding of an environment and how people interact with it can help to increase productivity, increase or decrease comfort, increase or decrease creativity, etc. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic Psychologists are the intermediaries between the field of psychology and the justice system because they are responsible for applying psychology to the field of justice, criminal investigation, and law. Forensic psychologists are called upon during legal disputes like custody battles, insurance hearings, and other types of lawsuits. They investigate reports, evaluate the behavior of both parties, and determine mental competency of defendants. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Gerontologist

Not to be confused with geriatrics, gerontologists study and research all the aspects of aging, including social, psychological, developmental, and biological influences. Gerontologists study the physical and social changes in people as they get older; they study the actual aging process; they study the importance of an increasingly aging population, and they identify, analyze, and attempt to understand the reasoning behind age-related disease. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Health Psychologist

Health Psychologist

By understanding the mental, emotional, and socioeconomic factors that might lead to certain illnesses, doctors can also have a better understanding of how to prevent these illnesses. Health psychology also plays a role in helping medical professionals understand the mental and emotional effects of certain illnesses. This not only refers to the effects of certain symptoms on patients, but also the behavioral, social, and economic ramifications that illnesses might have as well. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Organizational-Industrial Psychologist

Organizational-Industrial psychologists are scientists who study employees, the workplace environment, and organizational structure. They are tasked with determining how to make a organization more productive and efficient by examining employee behaviors and the motivations behind them, external workplace influencers, and infrastructure in place and how it can be improved. They try to identify spots where effectiveness and efficiency can be improved through hiring best practices, feedback, and training drills. Doctoral or Professional Degree

Media Psychologist

Media psychology is the intersection between our media-rich society and psychology, and media psychologists are charged with examining and studying that intersection and trying to answer questions by merging their understanding of human behavior and emotions and how it relates to their use, consumption, and reaction to media. They measure motivations of the content producer, user response to the content, user perceptions and reactions, and research about technological development in order to help better understand how people interact with the media and technology. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Military Psychologist

Military psychologists use psychological research to identify, treat, prevent, and combat mental, emotional, and developmental issues with military personnel and units. Military psychologists can be deployed with active duty troops or they can work in hospitals and government agencies, and they assess individuals to identify things like emotional trauma, stress disorders, traumatic brain injuries and many other awful side-effects of war.  They research behavior, emotions, and social development to try and nip serious issues in the bud before they become a problem. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Neuropsychologist

Neuropsychologists study the relationship of abilities, behaviors, and cognitive functions of people. They are in charge of assessing, diagnosing, and then clinically treating abnormal development, medical, psychological, or neurological conditions and problems. They study brain anatomy, diseases, and dysfunction in hopes of better understanding neurological issues that afflict people everywhere. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Psychometrician

A psychometrician is someone who measures a person’s psychological attributes such as knowledge, skills, problem-solving ability, and other abilities that someone might need to work in a particular field or profession. They conduct data analyses, measure the validity of an exam program, or create language tests. They also may develop test specifications and define the parameters of certain exams and tests to make sure they conform to industry standards. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Rehabilitation Psychologist

Rehabilitation psychologists have the ever-important job of helping patients suffering from neurological trauma, chronic illness, chronic pain, and other physical disabilities with the psychological impact of their issues. They are often called upon to perform psychological interventions so that people are better able to manage their emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal problems and issues. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

School Psychologist

School psychologists have the job of aiding children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally by collaborating with others in the school environment to provide the most supportive learning environment for students.  They are trained in education and psychology and often deal with child development, learning disabilities, external factors, curriculum and instruction, and other factors that may influence an educational environment. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Social Psychologist

The job of the social psychologist is to study social factors such as perception and interaction and determine how they affect and influence the behavior of individuals or large groups.  They spend a lot of time researching and analyzing human behavior in hopes of better understanding the psychology influenced by social factors. Their primary job is to observe and analyze human interaction in certain social settings. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Spiritual Psychologist

Spiritual psychologists have the job of helping people unlock their spiritual secrets by helping them overcome hidden or subconscious issues and overcome their fears. They help patients evolve spiritually and consciously and in turn that helps them grow stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally. Spiritual psychologists tap into a patient’s emotions and inner-psyche to help them feel more content with their lives. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists work with athletes, teams, coaches, and parents to help them overcome any psychological issues that result from things like career transitions, serious injuries, the long road of rehabilitation, and team-building concerns. Their work is an intersection between psychical and psychological science that often results in more effective performance, better communication, and an understanding of self. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Transpersonal Psychologist

 Transpersonal psychologists use knowledge of the psychology of spirituality and the spiritual side of the human mind to help patients unlock enhanced capacity for thought, creativity, emotion, and compassion. It helps people better understand themselves and analyzes transpersonal experiences and what effect they have on the perception, emotions, and spiritual development of the person. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Professions Job Responsibilities Education Requirements
Child Psychologist

Career Counselor

Career counselors help prepare their clients for the start, change, or advancement of their career. They provide consulting, coaching, and counseling so that clients can explore their interests and options more in-depth. The counselors take things like personality, aptitude, interests, personality, and behavior into consideration as they help guide clients towards careers that will make them happy. Doctoral or professional degree
Clinical Psychologists

Child/Pediatric Counselor

Child counselors are specifically trained to provide outpatient counseling treatment services for children, adolescents, and their families. They perform assessments for specific issues such as ADHD and autism and they also offer counseling services for children with behavioral, social, or emotional issues. They use their training to help families identify and treat issues in children such as weight disorders, anger problems, or social anxiety disorders. Doctoral of Professional Degree
Clinical Psychologists

Child Abuse Counselor

Child abuse counselors have the demanding and rewarding job of helping victims of serious child abuse try to rebuild their psyche, trust, and happiness. They use their training to identify, analyze, and treat specific symptoms of child abuse and they provide crucial therapy to help the child overcome their awful ordeal. Some of that therapy can involve playing, or encouraging children to speak their minds, or even working with the family to ensure the child is provided a safe and comfortable environment to continue their development. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Community Mental Health Counselor

Community Mental Health Counselors are mental health professionals who provide therapy, consulting, and coaching to people who are having issues in a community setting. These counselors are well-versed in the makeup of their community and they try to help clients understand their relationship to that community and help identify and treat issues and problems that arise out of the community setting. They are often charged with helping people adjust to and understand their community better as to minimize issues and promote mental health for everyone. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Depression Counselor

Depression counselors are specifically trained to deal with the mental, emotional, and physical issues that can arise out of depression. Depression counselors don’t just prescribe medication, they try to drill down to the root cause of the depression and help clients identify steps they can take to overcome the depression. Helping clients understand why they are depressed and helping them through the steps to recovery can have a profound impact on the quality of life for the clients. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Domestic Violence Counselor

Domestic violence is one of the more prevalent issues that take place in the home setting and domestic violence counselors are the ones who help victims of domestic abuse deal with and overcome their traumatic experiences. Their training helps them identify certain adverse effects of domestic violence and they can then help the patient slowly work to treat and combat those effects. They provide an important therapy for clients in need of understanding of their trauma and someone to listen to their issues. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Geriatric Counselor

Geriatric counselors provide treatment, analysis, and counseling services to seniors and their families. The counselors are considered experts and have specialized training and knowledge of common mental health issues that are known to affect seniors in particular. They can assess, identify and treat problems so that seniors can understand the issues they face and work to overcome them and live comfortably. These services are usually provided to seniors who live in long-term care and residential facilities, and help these seniors live a fulfilling and comfortable life. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Grief Counselor

Grief counselors are usually licensed therapists who help people cope with the grief and sense of loss that usually follows the death of a loved one, a particularly emotional divorce, or another tragic life experience. Coping can happen in a number of different ways and grief counselors are adept at identifying what method of counseling or treatment works with each individual. They try to help clients not only deal with that grief, but also help those clients deal with the grief while they continue to be productive members of society. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors work with individuals or families to address, treat, and sometimes even prevent mental and emotional disorders through a holistically focused healing approach. Generally they deal with issues like depression, addiction, substance abuse, and stress and they address these issues by combining neurological and psychological treatment with more traditional models as well. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors are responsible for treating patients with physical, mental, or emotional issues so that they can live as independently as possible. Trained at the graduate level, rehabilitation counselors deal with psychological and physical issues that affect patients including post-traumatic stress disorders and severe brain injuries. They combine the knowledge to help patients understand and overcome their disability. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

School Counselor

School counselors are responsible for all aspects of their students’ educational life from academic achievement to social adjustment to even career selection and development. They work within the school infrastructure to support and foster academic success as well as personal and social development. They help ensure their students remain well-adjusted and prepared for whatever lies ahead. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Spiritual Counselor

Spiritual counselors deal with patients who have suffered spiritual trauma or dissatisfaction and they help these patients get in touch with their spirituality, understand what is afflicting them, and overcome or deal with that issue. These counselors combine their spiritual or religious knowledge with an in-depth understanding of the psychology behind the issues so that their patients can live happy and fulfilling lives. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse is an unfortunate issue for thousands of people across the country and substance abuse counselors are ones trained to help people understand the motivations behind their substance abuse issue, and then help people overcome and defeat those issues. They have psychological and physiological training that helps them understand emotional and mental issues of substance abuse as well as the physical ones. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Suicide Intervention Counselor

Suicide Intervention counselors have some of the most stressful and rewarding jobs as they are specifically training in the psychology behind suicidal feelings and depression and their job is to help patients with suicidal thoughts think more positively and continue to live a fulfilling and rewarding life. These counselors are trained to identify motivations behind suicidal thoughts and help the patients deal with those motivations so they can gain more self-confidence and self-worth. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Transformational Counselor

Transformational counselors offer an alternative form of mental and physical healing that focuses on self-improvement, spiritual healing, and deeper life satisfaction. The counselors combine traditional psychological knowledge with alternative methods for inner-healing to help patients find a greater sense of purpose, excitement, joy, and self-satisfaction. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Veterans Counselor

With more than five million veterans in the country, veterans’ counselors have their hands full assisting the nation’s heroes with a myriad of physical, emotional, mental, or social problems that can arise in people who have experienced combat. Veterans’ counselors help their patients identify the root of their issues and then help them adjust to a more traditional life by helping them treat and cope with the issues. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Professions Job Responsibilities Education Requirements
Child Psychologist

Substance Abuse Social Worker

Substance abuse social workers are usually the day-to-day case managers for people with substance abuse issues. They are responsible for using their knowledge and background to not only continually assess these patients, but also help them live a fulfilling day-to-day life by preventing and treating problems Doctoral or professional degree
Clinical Psychologists

Child/Pediatric Social Worker

Child social workers are the day-to-day case managers for children and families dealing with mental, emotional, or social issues. They are responsible for helping the child or family achieve normalcy in their day-to-day life and generally improve the quality of life by working to prevent problems and provide therapy or counseling if problems eventually arise. They help children find success socially and academically by identifying and addressing psychological issues. Doctoral of Professional Degree
Rehabilitation counselors

Disability Policy Worker

Disability policy workers are the people responsible for working with elected officials to pass laws that help those people who are disabled; they are basically lobbyists for the disabled population. These workers are well-versed in the psychological and physical issues that cause disability and they use that knowledge to advance the civil rights of disabled citizens looking for additional help from legislative representatives. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Family Social Worker

Family social workers help foster the development of a family dynamic and they also help families deal with emotional, psychological, or social issues that they face as a group through counseling, therapy, and a deeper understanding of where the problems came from. They help address issues such as domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, foster care, and repeated misbehavior so that families can live together in a supportive and comfortable environment. Doctoral or Professional Degree

Social Worker

Social workers are the people responsible for either helping people live their daily lives by helping them cope with their mental, social, emotional, and physical problems, or they can be clinical workers who can diagnose and treat mental and emotional issues. Both types of social workers are charged with helping people overcome emotional issues by using their psychological background and knowledge base. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Geriatric Social Worker

Geriatric social workers are people who are usually responsible for the day-to-day case management of seniors with recurring mental, physical, or emotional issues. They usually either help treat and prevent problems from arising with their patients thanks to their specific skill-set and knowledge of psychological and physiological issues that common affect the elderly. They help seniors deal with and overcome any issues so that they can live a fulfilling and normal life. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Medical Social Worker

Medical social workers are usually hospital or nursing facility employees who work with patients and their families to help them deal with psychological issues they are going through. They usually pay close attention to the social, mental, and emotional development and well-being of each patient in the facility so they can treat and prevent any issues from becoming recurring problems. They provide psychotherapy, counseling, and emotional rehabilitation to patients in need. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Mental Health Social Worker

Mental health social workers are in charge of things like assessing, treating, diagnosing, and caring for patients with serious emotional or mental issues. They provide day-to-day case management and help their patients work through their mental disabilities so that they can still live a healthy, happy, and productive life. They use their knowledge of psychology to help treat and prevent issues in each individual patient. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Parole Officer

A parole officer’s job is to assist and monitor parolees as they adjust to their new-found freedom. They help former inmates with everything from finding employment to dealing with old problems, like substance abuse. A parole officer may also be the one to decide whether a parolee goes back to prison. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Probation Officer

A probation officer is a professional that monitors offenders and makes sure that they abide by the rules and follow the conditions of the probation. Although they have some similar duties, parole officers and probation officers are actually very different. For instance, parole officers monitor offenders that have warranted an early release from a correctional facility; these are typically violent or repeat offenders. Probation officers, on the other hand, typically monitor nonviolent or first-time offenders, or offenders that have committed minor crimes. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Public Health Social Worker

Public health social workers identify social problems affecting the well-being and social development of the public and then seek to not only treat them, but also understand them better so they can prevent them in the future. They work to promote positive mental and emotional development in individuals, groups, the community and the public at-large by using their psychological background to help assess broader social development issues. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

School Social Worker

School Social Workers are usually hired by school districts to help students not only with academic success but behavioral, social, and mental health support as well. They use their training in psychology and counseling to help students and their families with any issues ranging from academic progress concerns to social development issues. They are the people responsible for helping children adapt and assimilate successfully to their school so they can be prepared for what lies beyond. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Professions Job Responsibilities Education Requirements
Child Psychologist

Art Therapist

Art therapists use the creative process of creating art as a therapeutic method for improving the mental and emotional health and well-being of their patients. The therapists usually either help patients use the art-making process as a healing tool or they help patients interpret the inner and deeper meaning of their art through their psychological and therapeutic background. Doctoral or professional degree
Clinical Psychologists

Existential Therapist

Existential therapists have the unique job of helping people deal with existential issues such as death, loneliness, suffering, and meaninglessness that patients often can’t handle on their own. They combine in-depth knowledge of the psychological factors at play with an education in existential principles to promote meaning and life-enhancements the patient can make mentally and emotionally. Doctoral of Professional Degree
Rehabilitation counselors

Marriage Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists help troubled couples and families identify and understand the psychological issues behind their discontent so that they can improve their relationship and repair any damage done to the relationship. They use their knowledge of the psychology of relationships and the family dynamic to help families and couples take a step back and recognize why the issues occurred in the first place. They then help the families and couples work through these issues together. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Transpersonal Therapist

Transpersonal therapists help their patients develop the psychological, physiological, and spiritual aspects of their life by dealing with the relationship between a patient’s physical, mental, and emotional state of mind. The therapists take a deeply holistic approach to helping their clients find self-satisfaction, personal happiness, and emotional and mental contentment in hopes that these will help the client overcome any issues they may have. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Musical Therapist

Musical therapists are responsible for assessing and treating emotional, physical, social, communication, and cognitive issues using musical responses and musical practice. The therapists uses their psychological expertise and knowledge of music to help identify the needs and state of well-being for each client, sometimes they even use music as a therapeutic or spiritual treatment for clients depending on the issue. Doctoral or Professional Degree
School and career counselors

Life Coach

Life coaches are the people who help their clients identify and achieve physical, emotional, and social personal goals. They help clients work through roadblocks to achieve success in careers, school, family settings, and others. They are adept at analyzing a person’s issues and designing treatment or coping mechanisms that people overcome those issues or accomplish their goals in spite of that issue. Doctoral or Professional Degree
Social and community service managers

Physical Therapist

Physical therapy is not only about the physical well-being of the patient. These therapists are responsible for helping people with physical or psychological issues or illnesses improve their movement and manage and overcome their discomfort. They use their psychological and physiological knowledge to help patients overcome issues such as serious back injuries or even self-confidence concerns. Doctoral or Professional Degree