What To Consider When Starting A Career In Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, thought, and emotions. There has been a huge surge in interest in this fascinating discipline over the past few years, as it becomes ever more obvious how beneficial an understanding of human psychology can be in helping to navigate relationships, both in the workplace and within your own family and friendships. If you would like to take your interest further, read on to discover what to consider when embarking on a career in psychology. 


Psychology is not a subject that is habitually offered by high schools; however, you can study it as a major at college. One thing to be aware of is that, though it might feel very different to physics, chemistry, and biology, psychology is classified as a science, and as such, you will be awarded a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. You might be put off from studying for a Bachelor’s degree due to the difficulty of juggling study around family and work commitments. However, there are other options available, as well as traditional campus-based classes. Excelsior College online BS in Psychology will provide you with the flexibility to fit your education around work and family commitments.

Which branch of psychology do you want to specialize in? 

There are several different branches of psychology that you could specialize in. Abnormal psychology, for instance, looks at abnormal behavior and psychopathology. Mental health professionals work in the field of abnormal psychology, helping to assess, diagnose and treat people suffering from a range of mental health conditions. On the other hand, behavioral psychology looks at how behaviors are acquired through conditioning.

You will learn how to use behavioral strategies such as operant conditioning to teach or modify behaviors, which can have a great application in learning and rehabilitative environments such as the classroom and prisons. Counseling psychology involves providing help to clients experiencing mental distress and who have a wide range of psychological symptoms without necessarily having been diagnosed with a specific mental health condition; this is the field that you will work in as a counselor. 

Where do you want to work?

Thanks to the many different branches of psychology, there are many different settings in which you can work. You might prefer working in a laboratory setting, devising rigorous tests to support psychological theories that are then disseminated by practitioners. Or, you might want to help people to improve their lives and learn effective coping mechanisms, in which case you might decide to become a counselor.

Here, you can even decide to specialize further into offering counseling for a specific issue, such as relationships or addiction, or even using different approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. However, if you would like to work in a clinical environment helping people who are severely mentally ill, as a psychiatrist, for instance, you will have to first complete a medical degree program and become a registered doctor, before completing a psychiatry residency.