If you are considering a career in psychology but are not sure which specific area you want to pursue, then maybe you should travel the path of general psychology. This broad branch of psychology will allow you to study the mind and its many behaviors through a purely scientific approach. It will be your goal to establish principles and conduct specific research in an attempt to better understand individuals and groups of people. Ultimately, your work will be aimed towards improving society by increasing your understanding and delivering more effective treatments. Of course, as you work to better understand the many layers of human behavior, you will also be responsible for working to gain an understanding of the neurobiological and physiological processes that are thought to be an underlying cause for our daily behaviors and functions.
In your capacity as a general psychologist, you will find yourself studying concepts such as attention, emotion, perception, cognition, brain function, phenomenology, personality, behavior, the unconscious mind, and interpersonal relationships. Keep in mind, your work as a general psychologist will require you to work in many different aspects, such as philosophy, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Regardless of which of these areas you find yourself focusing your work within, it will be important that you are comfortable using empirical methods, deductive methods, and possibly even inductive methods. By incorporating more than one type of methodical assessment, you will likely be more successful as you attempt to identify the causal and correlational relationships that exist between psychology related variables.
Becoming a Doctor requires a Doctorate and Psychology is no less a demanding field, being as scientific oriented or as prestigious as pursuing a Doctorate of Medicine. There are some interesting differences though. First, one can enter the field with a Bachelor’s degree. While your activities will be limited, there is a growing trend for Bachelor’s degree holders to be employed in private industry in professions that do not require patient contact or counseling. Many states allow Baccalaureates’ to become certified as psychology teachers up to the high school level. Master’s degree holders are granted the same opportunities but in a more expanded capacity. Additionally, they are granted the certification to work as Industrial-Organizational Psychologists and can be employed as psychological assistants in research projects. However, the minimum requirement to work in the field is a Doctorate. This will require a minimum of five additional years of full-time study beyond your Bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind that this is a medical degree and requires all the dedication and rigor of a medical degree. Acceptance to graduate programs is highly competitive and you will need to focus your work early on. The reward is a field of study that is addictively fascinating, who isn’t interested in the nature of the mind? You will be delving deeply into its nature.
There are extensive career options for a Psy.D.’s’. Private practice is the single, leading sector with over 34% of all 170,000 currently degree holders being self-employed as private practitioners or consultants. Next in line is Industrial-Organizational Psychologists. While there are fewer then 1.5% of all Psychologists working in this field, it is growing 2.5x times faster than all other fields. The vast majority, over 90%, work in the medical, clinical field. There are many different disciplines there as well. One of the strongest is school Psychologists. Many of the social concerns that are in the news are driving the increasing demand for Psychologists in the public school system. Research is also a strong field to track into providing an advanced environment to develop ones scientific interests. While the average growth of this sector will exceed the general nation, average growth for all employment as mentioned above there are specific sectors of growth that are far ahead of even the fastest growing professions. The sector that is currently the focus of strong growth is the field of School Psychologists. There is increasing demand for professionals in this field and practices that specialize here are growing rapidly. The second is the Industrial-Organizational Psychology field. While the total number of individuals in the field is small, growth is projected to be over 26% over the next ten years. Our modern world is demanding, and this is a continuing source of stress for all. This means that this will always be a growing industry and a fascinating pursuit. If you are looking for an advanced degree in psychology including your PsyD then we have listed several of the top schools in the country that offer these programs.