If you're interested in pursuing a psychology degree, the related disciplines of psychology and human behavior offer training for a broad range of career options. Research psychologists, for example, study the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of human behavior at colleges and universities. Within the health services industry, psychologists provide care in hospitals, schools, clinics, and other outpatient settings. Behavior experts and psychologists also work in private businesses, industrial settings, government offices, and the nonprofit sector.
College Degrees in Psychology and Behavior
The type of college degree you earn will determine your psychology career path. For example, if you want to establish a private psychology practice or work as a licensed psychologist, a PhD or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree is a career requirement. A master's degree can qualify you for careers in industrial-organizational psychology or school psychology. A bachelor's degree in psychology can provide career training for entry-level psychology jobs, such as an assistant position in a local community clinic, hospital, or prison.
Coursework in Psychology and Behavior Degree Programs
College degree program in social science in psychology may include widely varied coursework, a reflection of the broad array of possible psychology careers, Basic courses in human cognition and behavior, and human anatomy and physiology lay the groundwork for more advanced coursework at the master and doctoral degree levels. Advanced coursework may cover subjects like neuropsychiatry, neurobiology, and abnormal psychology. The study of mood disorders ranges from common conditions such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder to rarer disorders like schizophrenia and dissociative (multiple) personality disorder.
Psychology and Behavior Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual earnings for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists were $62,210 in May 2007. In addition to the attractive paycheck, psychologists should enjoy strong job prospects in the coming decade. The BLS predicts that the workforce will gain 25,000 new psychologist jobs by 2016--an increase of 15 percent.
Increased demand for applied psychology across a variety of sectors has spurred the faster-than-average growth in psychology jobs. The growing market for psychologists and human behavior specialists owes to several factors, including increased awareness of student mental health needs and increased demand for applied psychology in schools, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and clinics, consulting firms, and substance abuse treatment centers. Job prospects should prove strongest for those with a doctoral degree in an applied specialty from a leading university. Graduates of doctoral degree programs with a school psychology focus should also encounter excellent job prospects.
Advanced degrees are important for long-term psychology career success. If you pursue a master's degree in psychology, your career outlook should be strongest in industrial-organizational psychology careers, due to the limited number of positions for master's degree holders. A bachelor's degree can help you lay a foundation for continuing education in psychology and human behavior. Online bachelor's degrees in psychology can also provide the knowledge base necessary to enter fields related to psychology and behavior, including sales and marketing, business, and market research.