ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Study Psychology? Possible Career Paths

Updated on February 20, 2018
annerivendell profile image

Anne has a BSc in Applied Psychology and has qualifications in counselling CBT & mindfulness. She teaches mindfulness workshops and courses.

Source

Some areas within psychology

Psychology
Concerned with
Clinical
Treatment of mental health issues
Educational
All forms of teaching and learning
Sport
Sport,Motivation, Performance, Competitiveness
Cyber
The behavior of people on the Internet
Forensic
Criminal Behavior
Organizational
Behavior of people at work
Transpersonal
Study of people and their spirituality
Positive
Study of positive thoughts and emotions

Reasons to study psychology

There is a saying that people study psychology because they want to find out what’s wrong with them.

That may or may not be true but there are lots of other reasons to study psychology.

It’s human nature to be interested in ourselves and what better way to spend anything from 3 to ten years (from undergraduate to doctorate) than studying ourselves and our behavior in depth?

Many people think that by getting a psychology degree they can then become a psychologist right away.

But in fact most careers in psychology require many years of postgraduate training, clinical training and, in Ireland,registration with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) , or their equivalents in other countries.

Exceptions to these requirements would be a career in advertising, marketing or in human resources.

However, these career paths would also benefit greatly from postgraduate qualifications.

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud | Source

Clinical Psychology and Sigmund Freud

Clinical Psychology, broadly speaking, is the treatment of people with mental health issues. This includes Counselling and Psychotherapy.

But although clinical psychology is not the only career path, it is possibly one of the best known.

Most people have heard of Sigmund Freud (who is actually dubbed the father of psychoanalysis) and his theories on the id, ego and superego, not to mention his ideas on sexuality and the Oedipus complex.

Many of his ideas have been discredited but he was important in the development of psychology because he was arguably the first person to mention and discuss the subconscious.


Social Psychology and Stanly Milgram

Social psychology involves the study of the behavior of people within groups or society.

It became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s when experiments on obedience, crowd behavior and body language were shown on TV shows.

A movie, The Tenth Level was made in 1975 about Stanly Milgram’s1 obedience experiments, This involved a random group of people from all walks of life; teachers, lawyers, tradesmen, nurses, secretaries, jobless, etc, etc.

The experiment went as follows: Volunteers were told that the experiment was about teaching methods.

  1. Two people would be called into a room and 'randomly' chosen to be the "teacher" and the "learner"
  2. But unknown to the volunteer, the "learner" was actually an actor,
  3. The teacher was then taken to a room and told to sit at a desk on which there was a lever with labels that went from "Mild" through "Strong" to "Severe-Caution!"
  4. They were told that the learner was in another adjoining room and they would be communicating via the speaker and microphone nearby.
  5. The volunteer was then told that they must read aloud from a list of ten facts (in one example)
  6. They were then to ask the learner to repeat the facts
  7. For every one the learner got wrong, the teacher was to pull the lever, which administrated a mild electric shock to the learner (This was untrue, the lever was not connected to anything)
  8. The teacher was told that every time the shock was administrated, it was a little stronger than the one before.
  9. The actor (learner) began to complain, saying the electric shock hurt
  10. But if the teacher hesitated to pull the lever, they were told to "Please continue"
  11. An astonishing 65% of the volunteers continued to pull the lever right up to the "Severe" level, even though the learner was by this time screaming and pleading for them to stop.
  12. The teachers were also clearly showing signs of distress, but still continued to obey the instructions that were continually repeated to them.

You can read about this experiment here

Educational Psychology does not just involve classroom teaching

Classroom teaching, although rewarding, is not the only area within Educational Psychology
Classroom teaching, although rewarding, is not the only area within Educational Psychology | Source
Sport Psychology
Sport Psychology | Source

Other areas of psychology

  • Educational psychology: Can involve not just classroom teaching, although that is a rewarding area in itself, but also specialization in helping children with learning difficulties, behavioral difficulties and special needs to obtain the education they deserve.
  • Sport Psychology: A rewarding and interesting area for those who have a particular interest in sport, motivation, performance and competitiveness, among others.
  • Cyber psychology: An upcoming area involving such fascinating subjects as on-line versus real-life identity, internet addiction, cyber crime and cyber bullying for example.
  • Forensic psychology is the study of criminal behavior. Many of us are fascinated by crime and the criminal mind.
  • Organisational psychology: This mainly involves the study of people at work, but also the interesting area of Ergonomics which is the study of how and why we use objects, from the simple chair to a complicated piece of machinery. An understand of ergonomics is essential in the development of such items.
  • Transpersonal psychology: The study of people and spirituality. Although it's been around since the 1970s, this area is still controversial and many psychologists dismiss it as not being scientific enough to be taken seriously.
  • Positive Psychology: As its name suggests, the study of positive thoughts and positive emotions. Seldom taught as a separate module in universities but it is gaining popularity as an area of research and has been become mainstream due to people like Daniel Goldberg and Malcolm Gladwell who write popular psychology books on it and related subjects.

Varied and interesting career paths within psychology

If you prefer to remain in academia, you can study for a doctorate and apply to continue to carry out research in your preferred area, either exclusively or while teaching at a university.

So as you can see, there are several, varied and interesting career paths available within psychology.

My advice is to wait until you have completed your undergraduate studies, during which you will learn about each area of psychology, before deciding in which area to specialise.

Reference

1. Miligram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. London: Tavistock

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Very nicely laid out for all of us to review and understand. I enjoyed this.

      Voting up and interesting.

    • annerivendell profile imageAUTHOR

      annerivendell 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      The above comments relate to a paragraph which I've taken out on the advice of my Mentor as being irrelevant to the title.

    • annerivendell profile imageAUTHOR

      annerivendell 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      @Nettlemere, yes, I did use it in my personal statement for my university application :-)

      @tresapelka, it was a long time ago and I probably wasn't aware of all of the details anyway, but it still facinated me at the time and sparked my interest in psychology.

      Thank you both for your comments, much appreciated.

    • teresapelka profile image

      Teresa Pelka 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      The subconscious remains much overrated in contemporary psychology. The case you've described would not involve some unconscious vegetative response (I don't believe in vegetative feelings or thoughts) - probably your neighbor starved himself and was aware of it?

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      A useful look at some of the options for employment within the psychology field. I think it comes as a surprise to many just how much further training is required following a degree in the subject. Intriguing story about your neighbour - I bet that sparked some interest if you included it in your personal statement for your university application!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)