What Are the "Best" Careers in Psychology?

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Psychology Careers With Growth Potential

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Kendra Cherry

Psychology careers sometimes get a bad reputation on the inevitable "best careers" lists that are released by various sources each year. Psychology majors are often ranked as some of the most underpaid and underemployed college grads, but there is one key caveat to remember – most of these lists are referring to students who have graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Options at this educational level are generally more limited, but there are still plenty of things you can do with an undergraduate degree.

Despite these often grim career predictions, there are several bright spots. The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that the demand for psychologists will grow approximately 12 percent through the next decade, about the average amount for all occupations.

Some careers, however, are predicted to grow much faster and regularly make the annual "best of" lists that pop of on different career websites. The following are just a few of these specialty areas that are highly ranked in terms of demand, pay, working conditions, and projected growth.

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Clinical Psychology: Ranked As a Top Career Choice

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According to one survey of 35,000 U.S. workers, clinical psychology ranked at 23 out of 50 jobs described as the best jobs in America. Some of the key reasons why clinical psychology ranked so highly included:

  • Excellent Salaries: The median annual income for an experience clinical psychologist was $81,100. The highest reported yearly income was $172,000.
  • Great Projected Job Outlook: CNN Money reported that online classified ads seeking clinical psychologists grew by 28% between April and August of 2009. The Occupational Outlook Handbook suggests that the demand for clinical psychologists is expected to grow by about 11 percent through the year 2022.
  • Strong Quality of Life Rankings: The clinical psychologists surveyed reported excellent rankings of personal satisfaction, benefit to society, job security and future growth.

Of course, looking at statistics can never offer a full view of the many aspects of a job. If you are considering clinical psychology as a career, spend some time carefully researching your options in order to determine if this field is a good fit for your personality, needs, and long-term goals. Don't let a single factor, such as projected salary, guide your decision-making process.

Instead, look at the entire career as a whole including the educational and licensing requirements, job outlook, work settings and typical job duties. As Facebook user Cassandra Adams explained in the CNNMoney.com comments section, "Getting into, paying for, and completing the PhD is a labor of love. Do NOT do it for the money...With that said, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing and that makes it worthwhile. I love the flexibility I will have in terms of job duties and settings and hopefully, I'll spend my work hours making someone's life more fulfilling."

Careers in psychiatry also ranked high on the survey. Psychiatrists came in third on the list of the highest paying careers, with a median annual salary of $177,000. CNNMoney.com also noted some of the advantages of psychiatry including low overhead costs and fairly low malpractice insurance rates.

Learn More:

Reference:

Best Jobs in America - CNNMoney.com. Retrieved from money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bestjobs/2009/snapshots/23.html

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Industrial-Organizational Psychology: One of the Fastest-Growing Careers

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Dawn Rosenberg McKay reports that industrial-organizational psychology ranks as one of the top ten fastest growing jobs with a master's degree or higher. In 2014, the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics named I-O psychology as the single fastest-growing career of the next decade.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in industrial-organizational psychology are expected to grow by a whopping 53 percent through the year 2022. In 2012, the median salary for industrial-organizational psychologists was $83,580. Of course, wages can vary based on a variety of variables including education, training and location. You can use the Salary Wizard provided by Salary.com to get a better look at typical earnings in your field and geographic area.

I-O psychologists work in a wide variety of settings that include universities, research facilities, private businesses and government agencies. Some psychologists in this field are self-employed or work on a consultation basis.

A few of the issues that industrial-organizational psychologists may tackle include:

  • Worker productivity
  • Human and computer interaction
  • Employee training and assessment
  • Training program development

Learn more about the field of I-O psychology as well as what it takes to become an industrial-organizational psychologist.

Related:

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School Psychology: Ranked As One of the Top 50 Careers

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According to U.S. News and World Report, school psychology ranked at number 31 on their list of the 100 best careers. The report on the 100 Best Jobs highlighted professions that offer strong job opportunities, quality of life, salaries and potential for job growth. Jobs in marriage and family therapy as well as medical and public health social work also made the list.

Some of the major reasons why school psychology made the list include:

  • Decent Salaries: The median salary for school psychologists in 2012 was $67,650, although salaries range considerably from less than $40,000 to more than $109,000 a year.
  • Strong Projected Job Outlook: Job outlook projections by the U.S. Department of Labor suggest that jobs in the clinical, counseling and school psychology fields will grow by approximately 11 percent through 2022, creating nearly 17,000 new jobs in these specialty areas.

Of course, looking at statistics can never offer a full view of the many aspects of a job. If you are considering school psychology as a career, spend some time carefully researching your options in order to determine if this field is a good fit for your personality, needs and long-term goals. Don't let a single factor, such as projected salary, guide your decision-making process.

Instead, look at the entire career as a whole including the educational and licensing requirements, job outlook, work settings and typical job duties. Learn more in this article on careers in school psychology.

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