The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the job outlook for psychologists is expected to grow by 22 percent in the next six years. This growth rate is significantly higher than that of the majority of occupations, and there is a growing need for applied psychologists who can address the psychological needs of companies, schools and medical facilitates. Applied psychology is a highly competitive field, and those who wish to pursue this career path have many options for finding the vocation right for them. While searching for your ideal career path, consider one of the following five most coveted occupations in today’s applied psychology job market.
Industrial Organizational Consultant
Through studying and analyzing workplace behavior and interactions, industrial organizational (I/O) psychologists help companies and organizations to improve morale, increase productivity, and achieve company-wide goals. Organizations are increasingly aware of the benefits of hiring I/O psychologists, making this one of the fastest growing careers in psychology. By providing assistance and expertise in areas such as recruiting, hiring, performance standards and recruitment, I/O psychologists guide organizations towards success. Many I/O consultants serve as executive coaches, working to improve the effectiveness of those in upper management positions. Companies are recognizing that quality leaders are vital to an organization’s success, and executive coaching has become another fast growing opportunity for a career in I/O psychology. With a median salary of $56,794, landing a job in I/O psychology will provide you with financial security as well as an opportunity to follow a fulfilling career path.
Named by CNN Money as one of the top 100 jobs in America, a career in clinical psychology is both professionally satisfying and financially rewarding. The median salary for a clinical psychologist is $83,500, and with the growing number of Americans suffering from mental illness, there is a tremendous need for compassionate and qualified mental health providers. Clinical psychologists have the benefit of knowing they are using their talents to help those in need of assistance with issues surrounding mental health. Through evaluating mental disorders and recommending treatment methods, clinical psychologists help those battling mental illness to lead safe and fulfilling lives. Another benefit of this profession is that it comes with the option of starting a practice, giving you flexibility and freedom to set your own hours and choose your own staff.
Market Research Analyst
If you enjoy combining your passion for psychology with conducting and analyzing research, a career as a market research analyst is for you. Companies hire market research analysts to study customer behavior as a means of identifying purchasing trends. Through conducting a variety of research studies, analysts aim to understand why, when, and how consumers make their purchasing decisions. In order to pursue this career, you must have a strong ability to analyze complex data and be able to present your findings to CEOs in a way that is clear and concise. This is an ideal job for those who have studied psychology as it combines an understanding of the human psyche with research and analytical skills. The median salary for market research analysts is $60,570, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities will grow by 41 percent between 2010 and 2020.
From young children with disabilities to aging adults, occupational therapists provide assistance to those who suffer from physical and or mental disabilities. The goal of occupational therapy is to help those with disabilities to cope and perform daily tasks with the ultimate goal of leading independent lives. Occupational therapists assist their patients in day-to-day activities such as eating, dressing and continuing to do the things that bring them meaning and fulfillment. The use of an occupational therapist has proven to be successful in helping myriad individuals, including elderly adults who want to live independently as well as injured veterans working toward healing their minds and bodies. Careers in occupational therapy have a median salary of $72,320, and available jobs are expected to increase by 33 percent between 2010 and 2020.
School psychologists work with teachers and students to address the mental health needs of school children. Psychologists play a key role in identifying cognitive disabilities in students who are struggling academically and are available to assist children with mental, emotional, and social concerns. In addition to a stable median salary of $67,650, school psychologist positions come with the satisfaction of providing children with a mentally healthy educational environment. Becoming a school psychologist requires the ability to analyze data such as student’s test scores, as well as strong communication and interpersonal skills.
With the increasingly high rate of job opportunities, this is an excellent time to work toward landing a career in applied psychology. Consider these five rewarding and economically secure jobs as you pursue your career in applied psychology.
Image by Tom Wooldridge from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: Cara Parker is a contributing writer. She has worked in the field of applied psychology for 15 years as an occupational therapist and university professor.