There are several factors to consider when choosing a major in psychology for graduate study. In your preliminary research, you have probably noticed the range of possibilities in the psychology field. Sub-categories include clinical psychology, counseling psychology, counseling psychology, developmental psychology,experimental psychology, forensic psychology, geriatric psychology, health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology,neuropsychology, school psychology, social psychology, and sports psychology.
Psychologists do research, teach, and perform clinical work. They work in healthcare settings and industrial plants. They work alone and as interdisciplinary team members. To help you choose the psychology major that is right for you, here are some tips:
-Be sure you generally like working with people since the majority of psychology majors require doing so.
-Think about the setting in which you want to work-academia, a small office, a research lab, a primary or secondary school, corrections facility, or business and industry. Knowing the environment you prefer will help narrow down your possibilities.
-Determine whether you like working with people individually, in small groups, and with families as opposed to several students together in a classroom.
-Decide if you prefer working with individuals of a particular age. For example, if you want to work with children, perhaps school psychology would be a good fit for you. A desire to study the geriatric population might direct you to a new and rapidly developing specialty area, geriatric psychology.
-Consider one of the majors involving laboratory work, if you prefer a more solitary work existence.
-Meet with various professionals who specialize in the areas you are considering. Most will be willing to assist students regarding their career goals. Be sure to have your short list of focused questions ready before the meeting.
-It's important to select a specialty area based on your genuine interests. For example, if you are an avid sports and athletic-minded person, maybe sports psychology is the area for you. Or, if you are fascinated with the human brain and the science behind it, neuropsychology may be your bailiwick.
The psychology field is growing and diversifying. Career options for people possessing graduate degrees are predicted to increase by 10% to 20% by 2010, according to the American Psychological Association. So, if you've selected psychology as your field, choices for majors are varied and will no doubt lead to a long, successful career.
APA online, 2007. Careers in Psychology (Online). American Psychological Association available at www.apa.org/topics/psychologycareer.html. Accessed on August 20, 2007.