Several factors affect demand. Some of these are the level of your college degree, geographical location, specialty, and business sector. This post will examine these influences of a psychology degree, which 52% of undergraduates choose as a major.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of 2016, there were 166,600 psychologists with a median wage of $77,030. The projected demand is 14% or the change in 23,000 jobs over ten years to 2026. The BLS also states that a doctoral degree will expand work opportunities.
The Department of Labor states that California (1,760) and Florida (1,310) have the highest number in the profession. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale (460) and Boston-Cambridge (430) are at the top two metropolitan areas. The highest concentration of psychologists per one thousand jobs exists in Alexandria, Louisiana with 0.52. Second is Tacoma, Washington, with 0.49 per 1,000 jobs.
Level of Education
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree will be limited in their application of the degree. You can find entry-level employment in law enforcement, business, sales, teaching, and criminal justice. Counseling is a possibility with certain restrictions. You will likely work as an assistant to a licensed psychologist. Career counseling is another option. You would be guiding people into a rewarding career by assessing their abilities, education, experience, and skills.
A bachelor’s degree in addiction and drug abuse studies will allow you to meet the demand for counselors. You can add a substance abuse counseling certification to your degree to boost your skills and credentials.
Your baccalaureate has more value than being a stepping stone into a graduate program. The business world has avenues to pursue. Understanding people is one of the tenets of psychology. In the medium to large companies, you interact with people on different tiers. Your education can be an asset as you move through the channels within the company. Psychology will help you meet the demands of a leadership position and marketing, as well.
However, if you want to work in the field of psychology, you need at least a master’s degree. At this level, you can select a specialty, for example, school psychology.
To be a licensed psychologist, you need a doctorate. A Ph.D. or Psy.D. opens many doors. The American Psychological Association (APA) stated that almost three-quarters of graduates with a doctorate secure work in their first choice. The degree will place you in demand in research or applied psychology. Teaching is another consideration. However, you should weigh the benefits against the years of study and expense to earn a doctorate. You may find that you can receive a comparable salary with a master’s degree.
There is a demand for school psychologists. The BLS reports that the category of Elementary and Secondary School Counselors and Psychologists has the highest number of 44,280. The Offices of Health Practitioners is a distant second with 15,600 professionals. Clinicians deal with a variety of issues involving mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and behavioral problems.
As a school psychologist, you may work directly for the public school board in your community. Other employers are private clinics, state agencies, and private schools.
In May 2010, the Wall Street Journal printed an article referencing the hottest jobs in 2018. The profession of industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists did not make the top ten lists in 2010. However, of all the branches of psychology, the Journal stated that I/O would increase the most. As of May 2017, the BLS reported the employment prospects in the occupation to increase by 14%. The growth is well above average. Unfortunately, there are only 920 employed in I/O. And about 40% are in the scientific research industry.
The I/O psychologist performs several functions in an office setting or a manufacturing facility. They work with human resources and administration to boost employees’ productivity and job satisfaction. They can examine ergonomic issues that could affect an employee’s health. They may also review hiring practices, training programs, and safety concerns.
In a manufacturing complex, I/O psychologists explore hazardous conditions, injury reports, aggression, stress levels, and leadership problems. By collaborating with management, these psychologists strive to create a safe and content workplace.
Before you venture into this area, you may want to check what the demand is where you plan to open your practice. There must be a demand as the APA data show that more than 50% of psychologists are independent. Private practitioners advise that conduct your due diligence. One piece of advice is to find a void in psychological services that you can offer. Examples are marriage counseling, addiction counseling, employee relations, and behavioral issues. Experts also advise diversifying. You do not have to be a specialist in one area.