career choices essay

Up until recently I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to

school but I really had no idea what I wanted to study. Recently, after contemplating

multiple career choices, I have decided that I want to become a psychologist.

Psychologists study the human mind and human behavior. Like other scientists,

psychologists make hypothesis and then perform experiments to test these assumptions.

Their research methods may differ depending on what topic they are studying. There are

numerous research methods in which psychologists gather their data. Sometimes they

gather information through controlled laboratory experiments. Psychologists also

administer personality, performance, aptitude and intelligence tests. Other methods

include observation, interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies and surveys. Psychologists

use their knowledge in a wide variety of settings including health and human services,

management, education, law and sports. In addition to the variety of work settings,

psychologists usually specialize in a single aspect of their growing field. Some types of

psychologists include clinical, counseling, school, industrial, developmental, social and

experimental or research psychologists. There are two categories of psychology that I am

interested in, they are clinical and industrial.

Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with applying research

findings in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Clinical psychologists classify

their work under three major headings: assessment, treatment and research. In

assessment, they give and interpret psychological tests. These tests are given to determine

the patients intelligence or to determine their mental characteristics. Another way to

determine these characteristics is in an interview, where the psychologist questions and

interacts with the patients. For the treatment stage the psychologist may use several types

of psychotherapy. Lately psychologists have been concentrating on the electric approach

but there is also behavior therapy, group therapy and psychoanalysis. Research is an

important aspect to most psychologists. Clinical psychologists are often participants in

research projects that have a bearing on mental-health care. A doctoral degree is usually

required to be a licensed clinical psychologist. Areas of specialization within clinical

psychology include health psychology, neuropsychology and geropsychology. Health

psychologists promote good health through counseling programs designed to help people

achieve goals such as to stop smoking or lose weight. Neuropsychologists studt the

relation between the brain and behavior. Geropsychologists deal with the special problems

faced by the elderly. The growth of these specialities reflect the growing need for

psychologists that deal with particular situations and conditions.

Industrial psychology is the application of various psychological techniques to the

workplace and industry. These techniques can be in the form of job analysis and

performance appraisals. It relates to the efficiency of the organization through appropriate

use of their human resources. Organizational psychology goes hand in hand with

industrial psychology. Organizational focuses on the development and understanding of

people in the organization. Psychologists in this field advise businesses and organizations

on the selection of workers and how to promote efficient working conditions. Also how

to boost morale, productivity, and job satisfaction. Industrial-Organizational psychology

(I-O psychology) was first developed in the US and became prominent during World War

II, when it became necessary to recruit and train the large number of workers who were

needed to meet the expanding economy. An I-O psychologist might work with

management to reorganize the work environment to improve productivity or the quality of

life in the workplace. They frequently act as concultants, brought in by the management in

order to solve a particular problem. As opposed to other fields of psychology, a person

only need s a master’s degree to become an I-O psychologist.

A psychologist’s working conditions are determined by their specialty and the

environment they work in. Clinical, school and counseling psychologists mostly have

private practices and set their own hours. However, they often have to work nights and

weekends to accommodate their patients. Psychologists that are employed in hospitals

and other health facilities work in shifts while those that work in clinics keep normal

hours. Increasingly, many psychologists now work in teams. These teams are composed

of other psychologists and some professionals. They use these groups for research or

strictly for consulting. Travel is also a part of a psychologists working condition. They

often have to travel around the country to attend different seminars and conduct research.

An important fact to note is that one half of all psychologists are self-employed. This

statistic is about five times the average for a professional worker. Educational institutions

employed the greatest number of psychologists, four out of ten. The next highest number

was in health services, which employed three out of ten. Employment of psychologists is

expected to grow about as fast as the average for all other occupations through 2008.

People holding doctorates from respected universities should have particularly good

opportunities. Also psychologists with a computer background should do especially well

in the future. The average annual income of psychologists as of 1998 was $48,050.

Psychologists just getting into the field with a degree can expect to start around $20,600.

Psychologists with some experience can make about $66,800 a year.

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