When people think about psychologists, they imagine someone on a chair, taking down notes from a patient lying down on a couch, dispensing advice based on what Freud or Jung had to say. Psychologists in private practice might fit this bill perfectly, but it’d be wrong to pigeonhole all psychology professionals in this mold.
In fact, few majors can offer specializations as diverse and far-reaching as psychology. This is due to the fact that pursuing a psychology degree means mastering various topics, including sociology, medicine, and law.
Here are some of the more popular, and surprising, specializations you can pursue when completing your psychology degree:
1. Educational Counselling
From elementary to high school, a school counselor helps students manage their emotions, develop and apply interpersonal skills, discuss academic achievements and goals, as well as provide postsecondary education and career counseling. Having a good counseling team is now considered a critical component for the quality of education an institution can deliver.
2. Legal / Law Enforcement
Graduates with a psychology degree can go on to play numerous critical roles in law enforcement. From liaisoning and forensic social work to jury consulting and juvenile correctional treatment, there are a number of specializations you can unlock for your psychology degree. Many law enforcement agencies also actively look for graduates with a background in psychology.
3. Sports Psychology
Whether you prefer to do research work or go out into the field, sports psychology has you covered. This specialization truly took off in the early 2000s, and now every professional athlete relies on sports psychologists to extract the best performances. Almost all athletic teams, across sports and levels, consider sports psychology an essential part of the coaching team.
In neuropsychology, you can expect to be more hands-on with research and conduct neurological tests, including assessing a patient’s neurological and cognitive functioning abilities. Graduates in neuropsychology can often continue their clinical research after graduating, and can even provide testimony in court as expert witnesses.
5. Consumer Behavior
Across industries, consumer research has always been a key component that influences decision-making. Psychological studies of consumer behavior help companies create products and services with the most mass appeal, as well as the most effective way to market products. If leading and analyzing focus groups is something that interests you, definitely consider specializing in consumer and market research.
In recent years, like children and teens, even senior citizens have had an entire branch of psychology dedicated to their specialized needs. In geropsychology, you will learn and understand how to help the elderly and their families to overcome problems, maintain good psychological health, and fulfill their potential during the latter stages of life.
7. Addiction / Substance Abuse Counseling
Individuals with addiction need help to deal with and overcome the physical, psychological, and emotional effects caused by reliance or dependence on drugs, alcohol, or any other kind of addiction. Hospitals, local community centers, and high-end treatment facilities – are all dependent on graduates specializing in this particular field in order to improve their rehabilitation programs.
Do remember that different specializations in psychology require different mindsets. You could pursue a specialization while getting your associate’s or bachelor’s degree or may even consider getting one later along with a master’s or doctoral degree. Once your education targets are in place, embark on a journey to get the right kind of specialization for the psychology degree you aspire to.
- Certain specializations in psychology do not limit you to classrooms – pick the right one and you can get out in the field to study and experience the practical aspects.
- Psychology specializations open up horizons beyond mental health, including education, sports, and law enforcement.
- Different specializations in psychology require different mindsets and personalities – chart out your education path before picking a specialization that’s right for you.