What Kinds of Counseling & Psychology Specializations Are There?

Counseling and Psychology are focused on the mind, so it’s not surprising that there are tons of possible degree specializations. After all, humans are complex creatures.

On this page, you will find details on some of the main areas of specialization in Counseling and Psychology, along with some examples of the enormous range of possibilities!

Go beyond even these and study our Counseling and Psychology homepage.


School and Career Counseling

Chances are you’ve spent some time working with your school’s guidance counselor. But those interactions only give you part of the idea of what school and career counselors really do.

They can work with students in elementary, middle school, or high school, helping them to develop skills, make good choices, and prepare for college or the workforce.

To work as a school counselor, you’ll probably need a master’s degree in counseling, and will typically need to be licensed by your state.

Career counselors help people to choose a career path, and to make plans that will prepare them for that career. Career counselors may need a master’s degree, and will need to be licensed in order to practice in some states.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school and career counselors earn a median salary of $54,560, and demand for these jobs is expected to increase by 11 percent in the next decade.

Marriage and Family Therapy

Marriage and family therapists use a family-centered approach, whether they are working with individuals, couples, or families.

They address mental health issues by treating their clients’ relationships, helping them to deal with issues like low self-esteem and stress.

This career is projected to grow 20 percent by 2026, according to BLS, and marriage and family counselors can make a median annual salary of $49,170.

Want to check out more options for specializations in Counseling? A few other common areas include substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counseling.


Clinical Psychology

When you picture a psychologist, the images that probably come to mind are based on clinical psychology – the branch of psychology that deals with treating patients.

A clinical psychologist could work in a variety of settings, like a private practice, a clinic or a hospital. They help patients with mental health and behavioral issues.

If you choose this area of specialization, you’d be going into a field with high levels of job satisfaction. The compensation is good, too – the median salary for clinical psychologists is around $77,000 per year. You’ll need a doctoral degree and work experience in order to qualify for state licensure.

Research Psychology

Research psychologists study thought and behavior, working to expand our knowledge of the human mind. A famous example of psychology research is the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which college students were asked to play the roles of prisoners or guards in a simulated jail.

That particular experiment inspired a documentary, a book and a feature film, but most psychology research doesn’t get that level of notoriety! Still, the work that research psychologists do can have an effect on everything from product design to treatment plans for patients with brain injuries.

If you go into research psychology, the most common career path is teaching and conducting research as a college professor. But you could also work in a nonprofit organization, or as a consultant. You could even end up working for the U.S. Navy or the CIA.

Because the career options for research psychologists are so varied, the salary data is all over the place. For example, the CIA lists their salary range for research psychologists at $79,720 – $161,900. That’s a huge range for workers with the same job title in one organization!

Interested in another area of specialization? There are many more options in the field of Psychology.