Careers in Psychology
Psychology is a branch of science that deals with mental processes and behavior. It is the systematic study of human and animal behaviour, mind and thought. To pursue the career of a psychologist, one should have a genuine desire to help other human beings. Psychology is mainly concerned with the way the mind works. Psychologists study the processes, motives, reactions, feelings and nature of the human mind. Their treatment is based on changing the behavioural patterns of the patients without medication. They do counceling and help people by bringing about changes in their thought process, thus improving their quality of life. Psychologists need not have a medical degree. But they have to study several years to specialise in various aspects of psychology. One can pursue Psychology at the plus two level, graduate, post graduate and doctorate level. There are specialisations in many fields of psychology such as social psychology, child psychology, occupational psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, etc Psychologists teach, practice and do research or work in one of the many branches of applied psychology. They apply their knowledge and techniques to a wide range of endeavors, including human services, management, education, law and sports.
Psychology is offered as a subject at the Plus Two or equivalent level with a combination of other social sciences and statistics. At the graduate level, one can study psychology as an Honors subject in most universities. After graduation, one can opt for an MA or MSc in Psychology, Social work or Counseling. Specialisations in the subject can be pursued at the post graduate level or at the doctoral level- M.Phil or Ph.D, after post graduation. At the master’s and doctoral level, education becomes increasingly specialized. Post graduate courses in psychology are offered only to students who have graduated with psychology. Post graduate and doctoral degrees in Psychology puts emphasis on research. If your interest is in practice, i.e helping people with problems (counseling ) you could opt for Psychology-related graduate programs such as education and social work For those who do not wish to put in too many years of study, there are one year Diploma courses in Special Education or Mental Retardation. Educational: For Bachelor programme in psychology – 10+2 For Post graduate courses in psychology – Bachelor degree in psychology For Ph.D./ M.Phil – PG or Diploma in psychology Duration: Graduation in psychology is a 3 year programme. Post graduation is of 2 years duration and during the course, specialization in a special branch of psychology is possible. M.Phil or Ph.D. is of 2 year duration. Personal Skills: Good communication skills, patience, ability to work with all kinds of social/ cultural and age groups are the essential qualities of a psychologist. They should have a genuine interest in people, their behaviour and have empathy for their problems. They have to be sensitive and caring and also have the ability to understand people of very different backgrounds and upbringing. Course area Study of psychology includes a diverse range of activities such as the processes of thinking, learning and perceiving, remembering, forgetting, physiology of the nervous system, development of children, social relationships and their effect on personality development, mental disorders, applications of psychology to the study of society, industry, education etc., techniques of experimenting and testing, and statistics. There is a wide variety of topics in the professional study of psychology and some overlapping occurs between the different specialized branches. Good at science, math, critical reading and writing.
Job Prospects and Career Options
The nature of work of a psychologist is influenced most by the areas of specialisation in the subject. They work in a number of different settings, including universities and colleges, primary and secondary schools, government agencies, private industry, hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They are also employed in social welfare organizations, research establishments, rehabilitation centres, prisons, child/ youth guidance centres, advertising industry and in a variety of other set-ups. Psychologist with master’s degree, work under the supervision of one or more doctoral level psychologists. Those with bachelor’s degree are eligible for jobs in community health centers and vocational rehabilitations and as administrative assistants. Career Options Career prospects in Psychology depend on the area of specialization. There are variety of options for psychologists. They can specialise in various areas such as Clinical Psychologists – Clinical Psychologists work in counseling centers, independent or group practices, hospitals, community health centers or clinics. They help mentally and emotionally disturbed clients adjust to life and may help medical and surgical patients deal with illnesses or injuries. Areas of specialization within clinical psychology include health psychology, neuro psychology, and gero psychology. Counseling Psychologists – Counseling is the skill of helping normal people, through discussion, to decide how best to cope in specific situations. Counseling psychologists deals with people who have serious emotional and personal problems. They use various techniques, including interviewing and testing, to advise people on how to deal with problems of everyday living. Social Psychologists – Social psychologists work with social organisations and institutions in research, systems design or other applied psychology fields. They seek to understand the nature and causes of individual behaviour with others and with the social environment. Educational Psychologists – They work in schools and colleges with teachers, students, parents and administrators to resolve students learning and behaviour problems. They may evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs, behavior management procedures, and other services provided in the school setting. Industrial Psychologists – Industrial psychologists work for business, industry or government. They apply psychological principles and research methods to the workplace to improve the working conditions and productivity of employees. They also advise companies on ways of getting consumers interested in products and services. Research psychologists – As researchers, psychologists proceed like scientists. They investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior. They use laboratory experiments and various kinds of tests, interviews, questionnaires and surveys. Prominent areas of study in experimental research include motivation, thought, attention, learning and memory, sensory and perceptual processes, effects of substance abuse, and genetic and neurological factors affecting behavior. Developmental psychologists – They study the physiological, cognitive, and social development that takes place throughout life. Some specialize in behavior during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, or changes that occur during maturity or old age.
The work of a professional psychologist is challenging and highly remunerative. Earnings depend on qualification, area of specialisation and experience. The highest- paying position is for psychologists having M.Phil and Ph.D degree. Remunerations in the corporate sector are the highest, though salaries vary according to the level of involvement and the job profile. At the entry level the remuneration varies approximately from Rs. 5000/- to Rs.8000/-. Established consultants in any of the fields of specialization can earn at an average between Rs.8000 to Rs.10,000 or even more. Those are in private practice have much more earnings.