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Top Psychology Jobs and Qualifications

Updated on April 1, 2015
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Psychology jobs can be found in school settings and in healthcare facilities. Many psychologists work in private practice, either independently or with a small group of other counselors or psychiatrists. Here, you can learn about some of the different types of jobs and how to qualify for them.



Specialties in the field include clinical, counseling, school, industrial-organizational and forensic psychology. Of the 160,200 psychologists in the U.S. in 2012, over 145,000 fell into the first three categories: clinical, counseling or school psychologists.

The number of industrial-organizational jobs is expected to increase by 53% over the next 10 years, although that will only bring the number of jobs up to about 2500. It is hard to determine how many forensic psychologists there are in the U.S. because occupational experts disagree on how this specialty is defined. Many people are curious about the specialty partly because of a popular television show. So, the last section of this page is devoted to that specialty.


Median earnings for psychologists in the U.S. is nearly $70,000 but about 10% of psychologists make less than $39,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. The highest earners, on the other hand, have salaries of more than $100,000. Next, we’ll look at clinical psychologists, because the education requirements for most of the other specialties are similar.

Clinical Psychologists Jobs and Education Requirements

Clinical psychologists may work in healthcare facilities, schools or private practice. The term “clinical” differentiates the specialty from “counseling” psychologists.


Clinical psychologists do provide counseling but the type of counseling provided and the environment is different. For example, clinical psychologists counsel people with depression, mental disorders or addictions. Counseling psychologists help students, couples and others with relationship concerns.


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The education requirements for clinical and counseling psychologists are similar. Most employers require a doctoral degree: a Ph.D. in psychology or a Psy.D., Doctor of Psychology degree.

Why Forensic Psychologists are Popular Psychology Jobs

The idea of forensic psychologists has been popularized by television. What you see on TV is partly fact and partly fiction, as you may be aware. The fictional part, in this case, is that the job may not be as exciting as it appears to be.


The forensic psychologist may work with the court to determine a defendant’s mental competency. He or she may help investigators create a psychological profile of a suspect. According to the Forensic Science Department of George Washington University, the correct term for the job portrayed on TV is “profiler”. Most psychologists in this field work full-time in another setting, such as private practice, and offer their services to law enforcement agencies on an as-needed basis.

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To become a forensic psychologist, you need degrees in psychology and law. The American Psychology-Law Society provides a guide to graduate programs in legal and forensic psychology for students who are interested in pursuing this specialty.


There is no doubt that the need for all kinds of psychologists will grow as the years go by. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs will grow by about 12% over the next ten years. If you’re interested in a career in psychology, you should start investing in your education now to qualify for those future psychology jobs.

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