Graduates with a background in psychology have an insight into how the human mind works and how people behave. They're skilled in observing and interpreting the connection between thoughts and actions, and they know how to apply this information to achieve the desired results. Several jobs require the understanding and use of psychology.
Marriage and Family Therapists
A career as a marriage and family therapist requires an understanding of psychology to use cognitive behavioral therapy in helping patients understand how their destructive thoughts and actions may sabotage -- or even be the result of -- their spousal and family relationships. The therapist then helps them learn how to change their thought patterns and behaviors. Demand for these professionals should grow by 37 percent through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than double the 14.3 percent national growth rate for other jobs. The median annual salary for marriage and family therapists was $39,710 in 2010. Those seeking this career need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.
Survey researchers use psychology to learn more about the public’s thoughts and opinions. They design, conduct and analyze surveys for marketing, scientific and other types of research to gauge opinions on a variety of subjects, including the economy, products and services, and social and political issues. Through 2020, the demand for survey researchers should grow by 24 percent, according to the BLS, faster than the national growth rate for other jobs. The educational requirement for this career is a bachelor’s degree in business, psychology or political science. The median annual salary was $36,050 in 2010.
Clinical Social Workers
Clinical social workers need a psychology background to diagnose and treat emotional, behavioral or mental disorders, such as depression. Through therapy, they help their clients discuss their feelings and cope with life-altering changes like divorce and unemployment. According to BLS projections, the demand for social workers will grow by 25 percent through 2020, much faster than the demand for other jobs. The median annual salary for social workers was $42,480 in 2010. This type of work requires a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology or sociology.
Psychology professors need a thorough understanding of the subject matter to teach students at a university or college level. In addition to lecturing students, they assess their pupils’ comprehension and conduct research and publish results in academic journals and books. The BLS projects demand for postsecondary teachers to grow by 17 percent through 2020, on par with the national average for other jobs. The educational requirement to be a psychology professor is a doctoral degree in psychology. In 2010, the median annual salary was $62,050.
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