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The Rat – Psychology Jobs In and Out of the Lab

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 24, 2011 in Career Path

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When they’re not raiding alleyways for garbage, rats are best known for being the subjects of countless scientific studies and tests, especially in the field of psychology. But did you know that rats are one of the world’s smartest animals? They are incredibly curious, learn quickly and have amazing senses of smell and hearing. They even dream in a similar way to humans.

Careers in the field of psychology are for those curious about the human mind. Many jobs involve research with rats or human subjects, but there are also jobs in psychology that allow you to work directly with people through counseling. Like a rat, you’ll need to be smart, as most positions require a master’s or doctoral degree. Here are some psychology jobs that will allow you to explore the wonders of the human—and perhaps rodent—mind.

1. Career or Vocational Counselor

Career counselors may help college students looking for a first job, or experienced individuals searching for a new job in their field or a new career path. They look at a client’s interests, job history, education, skills and personality characteristics in order to determine what careers may be right. They may also use tools such as assessments and evaluations. In addition, career counselors help clients develop job skills, practice interviewing, improve their resumes and find job openings.

2. School Psychologist

School psychologists help children deal with emotional, academic and social problems, usually in a school or other educational setting. School psychology has rapidly become one of the top job trends due to increased attention to children’s mental health. As it is a relatively new field, demand for qualified school psychologists is high.

3. Counselor

Counselors help a people with a wide variety of problems, but often specialize in a certain issue, such as marriage, family, emotional, educational and substance abuse issues. Most states require at least a master’s degree in order to become a licensed counselor. Typical work settings include schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, mental health clinics and private practices.

4. Genetics Counselor

Genetics counselors help provide individuals, couples, and families with information about genetic disorders. They usually work with other medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and geneticists to offer support and guidance to families who have a family member with a genetic disorder or who have a risk of passing down an inherited disorder to their future offspring. They usually have graduate training in genetics and counseling, and most have doctorate degrees.

5. Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply psychology to the field of law. This career may not be as flashy as it is depicted on shows like CSI, but forensic psychology is still an exciting choice with potential for growth. They often work with other investigative experts to form criminal profiles, examine insurance claims, evaluate child custody reports and investigate suspected child abuse.

6. Engineering Psychologist

Engineering psychologists study how people interact with machines and other technology in order to design and improve the quality of the workplace and its products. For example, they could redesign a product to make it more efficient and easier to use in a work situation. Most work for private corporations performing research or consulting, but some may also be professors.

7. Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose and treat clients suffering from psychological disorders. These professionals typically work in hospital settings, mental health clinics or private practices. Clinical psychology is the single largest employment area within psychology, but there are still plenty of jobs available for qualified professionals. In order to become a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctoral-level degree in clinical psychology and most states require a minimum of a one-year internship. Most graduate school programs in clinical psychology are fairly competitive.

8. Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists focus on the psychological aspects of sports and athletics. They research topics such as motivation, performance and injury in order to improve athletic performance. They may also look for ways to use sports as a way to improve mental and physical health. Sports psychologists work in a variety of settings including universities, hospitals, athletic centers, private practices and research facilities.

9. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists focus on workplace behavior and look for ways to increase worker productivity and select the best employees for certain jobs. Some I-O psychologists perform research through employee and workplace assessments, while others work directly with people by evaluating job candidates and training new employees. There are many opportunities at the master’s-degree level, but those with a doctoral-level degree in the field are in greater demand and will earn higher salaries.

10. Special Education Teacher

The field of special education is a wonderful opportunity for those who love helping children. Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of learning disabilities. You may work with several children for shorter periods or work one-on-one with just a few each day. A special education teacher must have a relevant bachelor’s degree and along with a teacher training certificate in special education. Enrollment is increasing in special education programs, and so job demand is high.

This guest post is contributed by Patricia. Patricia has a Masters in Psychology degree and maintains the site Psychology Degree. She writes about various subjects within the psychology field.

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