Counseling and Psychology are concerned with the mind, human behavior, and mental health. If you want to learn what makes people tick, why organizations and communities behave the way they do, or if you want to help people live happier lives, studying Counseling and Psychology could be the right choice for you.
It’s a field that spans biology to sociology, and gives you the flexibility to work in many different settings. And depending on your area of specialization, your earning potential could be very high!
Fields of Study in Counseling & Psychology
When you study Counseling and Psychology, you are choosing a discipline with endless variety and career options. Counselors and psychologists work in many different industries and specializations, because there’s one thing they all have in common – people.
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For example, counselors work with individual patients, families or couples, and they can work independently or for an organization like a school or business. They might specialize in a particular style of therapy, such as psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, or cognitive-behavioral. There are also social workers who specialize in mental health counseling.
Unlike psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, psychologists don’t go to medical school. But they usually do have doctoral degrees – either a research-based Ph.D. program, or a clinical Psy.D. degree.
With either type of degree, psychologists have options to specialize in many different areas. Some of the major fields are:
- Counseling psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Industrial/organizational psychology
- Social psychology
- Sport psychology
Benefits of a Career in Counseling and Psychology
What could be more fascinating than a career that focuses on the human mind? Choosing a career in Counseling and Psychology means that you will always be learning.
That may be part of the reason for the extremely high level of job satisfaction reported by people who work in these fields. For example, PayScale reports that workers with a master’s degree in counseling psychology rank their average job satisfaction level at five out of five, the highest score possible.
Flexible career paths are another benefit of a career in Counseling and Psychology. You could end up working in a mental health clinic, in a large organization, or in education. And job security probably isn’t something you’ll have to worry about – with significant predicted growth over the next decade, there will be an increasing need for people trained in Psychology and Counseling.
The Outlook for Counseling and Psychology
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Counseling and Psychology will experience faster than average employment growth over the next decade. Some fields, like marriage and family therapists and substance abuse counselors, are expected to increase 20 percent by 2026.
The overall increase in demand crosses many areas of specialization, so there are lots of reasons for the projected growth. According to BLS, though, a big reason is that the importance of mental health is being recognized more and more throughout society.
New advances in technology and research make this an exciting time to study Counseling and Psychology. For example, new research suggests genetic causes for mental health issues like major depression or autism – and with a greater understanding of the causes, more effective treatments could be on the way.