A psychologist is a person who is technically qualified in the field of psychology in order to cure people afflicted with various mental illnesses and emotional disorders.
A psychologist begins the treatment of his client with the assessment of the mental conditions of his client using various psychometric tests. Thereafter he draws a detailed plan for the necessary behavioral modifications and psychological interventions required for the improvement of the client’s mental health.
According to the American Psychological Association, there are 56 categories of psychologists in three different areas such as applied psychology, research psychology and mental health psychology.
Applied psychologists use their professional knowledge to solve the real life problems. Applied psychologists are categorized into several sub-groups such as occupational or industrial psychologists, sports psychologists, community psychologists, aviation psychologists, engineering psychologists, forensic psychologists, educational and developmental psychologists, social psychologists and organizational psychologists.
Research psychologists are involved with scientific researches that are done in the field of psychology, for example, experimental psychologists.
Research psychologists are involved with academic and applied research in various fields of psychology so that they can formulate various psychological intervention programs that can be implemented in a wide variety of settings, both clinical and academic settings. Research psychologists are employed by research institutions, psychological training and development agencies and similar other research-oriented organizations.
Mental health psychologists are involved with people suffering from mental illnesses. They are clinical psychologists, health psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists. Mental health psychologists help their clients to get adjusted to the realities of the daily life through counseling, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy or sometimes through medication.
Major career responsibilities of mental health counselors include counseling or interviewing clients to assess their psychological problems; determine various psychological intervention programs for their treatment or behavior modification, evaluate the efficacy of these psychological programs, and assess the final results.
Organizational or Industrial Psychologists
Industrial and organizational psychologists are applied psychologists who apply the fundamental principles of psychology for the improvement of workplaces and organizations. They mainly work with consulting or counseling agencies, market research firms, recruitment companies, government police departments, defense departments, legal agencies, non-profit organizations, professional industry associations, corporate firms and various other industries.
Sports psychologists are involved with various psychological intervention programs meant for the sports personnel.
These are also applied psychologists who work in community development projects for the overall well-being of a particular community.
Aviation psychologists often work in the aviation industry for the improvement of mental health of the employees working in the industry.
Engineering psychologists are associated with the mental health improvement programs that are implemented in various engineering industries.
Forensic psychologists are also applied psychologists who contribute their knowledge in forensic psychology for solving various legal matters and criminal offenses.
Clinical psychologists are mental health psychologists. They are responsible for the improvement of mental health of their clients in clinical settings. They generally work with rehabilitation agencies, addiction centers, community agencies, hospitals, clinics, health centers, colleges and universities, and with individual clients and their families and couples with marital problems.
Counseling psychologists are also mental health psychologists. They normally work as professional counselors to their mentally troubled clients.
School psychologists are also mental health psychologists but their profession is mainly related to the improvement of mental health of the students. They mainly work with academic institutions and schools.
Professional psychologists who are trained to work in health care industry is known as Health Psychologists.
Educational and Developmental Psychologists
Educational psychologists are applied psychologists who apply principles of psychology for the welfare of educational scenarios.
Social Psychologists work for the betterment of various social situations.
Occupational Psychologists are involved with various occupational mental illnesses. Their role is mainly preventative rather than curative. They help people in various occupations to deal with the occupational stress effectively.
Experimental Psychologists are also called as research psychologists and they are responsible for the invention of various psychometric instruments and for the formulation of psychometric tests and assessment methods.
Education and Experience
An aspiring psychologist must have a PhD qualification in psychology or at least master level qualification in psychology along with two years of minimum professional experience to begin a professional career in his chosen area of interest. As far as specialized qualifications in psychology are concerned, a clinical psychologist must have qualification in clinical psychology, a counseling psychologist in counseling psychology, a forensic psychologist in forensic psychology and so on. A PhD qualification in psychology may take four to five years of academic study for its successful completion while a master level program takes about two years of study.
US Universities and Colleges for Psychology Education
Reputed US academic institutions that offer academic programs in psychology include Kaplan University; Walden University; Capella University Grand Canyon University; the University of Phoenix; Ashford University and Argosy University.
Kaplan University conducts a MS program in Psychology – Applied Behavioral Analysis while Walden University offers programs in forensic psychology and health psychology such as MS in Forensic Psychology – Mental Health Applications and BS in Health Studies – Health Psychology and Behavior. Capella University offers a BS program in General Psychology.
Major psychology programs available at the Grand Canyon University are Ph.D. in General Psychology – Cognition and Instruction, MS in Psychology – General Psychology and BS in Psychology. The University of Phoenix offers Associate of Arts program in Psychology. Ashford University offers BA in Health Care Studies – Psychology while Argosy University offers programs such as Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology and BA in Psychology.
Personal Qualities Required
Major personal qualities expected from a professional psychologist include above-average intelligence, creative thinking, deep understanding of human behavior, genuine interest in human sufferings, caring attitude, dedication to the job, patience and tolerance, and ability to work for long hours.
Earning potential for applied psychologists such as industrial and organizational psychologist are greater than that of mental health and research psychologists such as clinical and counseling psychologists. While mental health psychologists are believed to earn an average annual salary of $66,040, industrial-organizational psychologists earn a figure of approximately $83,260 per year (US Labor Statistics, 2009)
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