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Understanding the Different Types of Psychology and Your Career Options 

As the human brain is arguably the most powerful thing in existence on Earth, the study of it, psychology, is a very vast field with many different focuses.

Regardless of the focus, however, the field of psychology affords those who pursue it as a career a lot of opportunities, job security, financial stability, and feelings of accomplishment.

Psychology truly saves lives – albeit not in the same dramatic fashion as emergency surgery, but it still happens every day. 

For those looking to pursue a career in psychology, it’s important to understand the different paths you can take, as some venture pretty far from the median.

Here is a closer look at some of the different types, and career options in each one. 

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology is the study of how humans change or are expected to change over a given period of time.

Though it is not solely focused on young people, a lot of the work is done in pediatrics.

There are a lot of “nature versus nurture” studies involved in developmental psychology, and with that, this is probably the best focus choice for anyone looking to work with children frequently. 

Some career options for those focusing on Developmental Psychology:

  • School Psychologists
  • Early Child Education Specialist
  • Clinical Child Psychologist
  • Protective Services Psychological Representative 

Behavioral Psychology 

This focus of psychology also often interacts with children, but no more frequently than it does with adults.

For children, behavior psychologists often try to find deeper issues that are causing youngsters to act out and it really isn’t much different for adults –  though adults who require care from a behavioral psychologist are generally at more danger to themselves, than they are to others. 

Some career options for those focusing on Behavioral Psychology

  • Hospital-based 
  • Substance abuse facilities
  • Correctional institutions 
  • Sports Psychologists 

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology would be a good choice for those people interested in helping individuals who suffer from mental health disorders. They tend to work with everyone from children to geriatrics, the latter often more frequently considering mental issues that regularly come with age.

Clinical psychologists also work with families to ensure the continuation of care goes to the home.

Oftentimes, clinical psychologists will work with the same patients for many, many years, making it a good choice for people who like to form long-lasting relationships with their patients. 

Some career options for those focusing on Clinical Psychology

  • Case managers
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Psychiatric Technicians

Cognitive Psychology 

Cognitive function is our brains’ abilities to process thoughts, problem solve, tap into memories, and things of the like.

Cognitive psychologists often work hand-in-hand with clinical psychologists regarding patients with mental illness, but their major focus tends to be on individuals who suffer from a learning disorder, or have developed one as a side-effect of a traumatic brain injury, such as a stroke. 

Most cognitive psychologists simply wear that title, but they can pursue careers in research, education, health policy writing, and of course, hands-on cognitive psychology.

Almost all jobs in cognitive psychology require a graduate degree, and most require a doctorate. 

Go for It!

The baseline education is the same, and most schools simply offer a psychology degree, and students generally find a focus in secondary education.

However, if something on this list, or from anywhere else, really sparks your interest, it’s never too early to start molding your focus and your future! 

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