Beyond physical health
Psychology is a broad field that can encompass anything from nursing, and social work to private psychology practices. As a science, the practice of psychology focuses on behavior (both individual and social), with the simplified question being: why do people do what they do?
In the field of psychology, you can focus your career specifically on your own interest. You might ask yourself:
- Am I interested in the physical or genetic makeup of living things? You can enter the field of biology and investigate the way behavior is inspired by nature rather than society.
- Am I interested in the ways people interact with each other and live within a community? Sociology focuses on the social aspects of group behavior.
- Am I interested in individual behavior? Psychologists look at both biology and society and how these aspects influence people.
Each of these areas can also be further specialized. For example, you can choose to work directly with patients or you can focus your career on research. You can also choose between working with normal or abnormal behaviors, or both. There are a number of subcategories that are contained under each of the fields of biology, sociology and psychology.
Most people who enter psychology as a field will continue their education with graduate study. This is required if you want to work as a medical professional.
If you're not interested in graduate study, you can certainly use your education in a number of different areas. Many psychology students enter the business world and launch careers in human resources, computer science or management. A strong basis in the understanding of human behavior can help foster efficient leadership, coordination and organizational skills.
Psychology also provides a foundation for careers in education, child care or law. Many industries consider psychology students an important asset, because they're able to work well with people and maintain an atmosphere of community within the workplace.
What to Expect
It's difficult to summarize the field of psychology because there are many different categories and career paths that a student may choose. For example, the educational requirements for a career in business are quite different from a career in medicine or education.
The salaries also span a wide range in these separate areas, and within all the subcategories that are contained by these groupings. For example, if you use your education for a career in human resources, depending on where you work and what position you fill you could be looking at a pay of anywhere from the mid $20 000 a year range to over $100 000 a year. If you embark on an educational career, you might make $40 000 a year as a school counselor or over $110 000 a year if you go on to become a professor. Salary expectations are even more widely spread when it comes to the medical profession - expectations will depend on what field you enter, where you work and what position you hold.