Psychology is the study of human behaviour in different contexts. In fact, it is such a broad subject that it can be applied in almost all aspects of everyday life! Psychologists are found in different types of workplaces, performing diverse roles. Some of the sectors and types of organisations that employ psychologists are listed below.
- Almost all established and large hospitals have a clinical psychology or wellness department that hires qualified and certified clinical psychologists, to provide therapy to individuals who may be going through either clinical symptoms or suffering from acute mental health challenges.
- Clinical psychologists are needed to help diagnose the problem and provide therapeutic interventions that help the patient recover and heal. The range of problems may vary from mild, acute to severe, and chronic.
- Usually, clinical psychologists in hospitals work alongside a team of psychiatrists who prescribe the necessary drugs, to help balance the neurotransmitters in the brain that may be causing emotional and mental imbalance.
- To become a clinical psychologist, you need to complete an MPhil or doctorate in the subject and gain significant internship experience with senior psychologists and psychiatrists. In India, obtaining a licence from the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) is essential, if you wish to practice as a clinical psychologist.
Schools And Educational Institutions
- Many psychologists teach at schools and colleges. To be a lecturer in a college, the minimum requirement is a postgraduate degree in Psychology, along with certifications of teaching eligibility. For example, in India, the NET (National Eligibility Test) is needed to teach at universities. Doctorates who are engaged in research and publications are preferred over postgraduate students.
- To teach at a school, you need to be a postgraduate in Psychology and complete a bachelor’s degree in education (B.Ed). You would typically teach high school students who have chosen psychology as one of their subjects. Schools and educational institutions also have counsellors who help students with their socio-emotional needs and challenges in the growing up years. This usually requires a post-graduation in child or adolescent psychology and counselling. School counsellors sometimes also teach psychology to higher school students, as well as assist in career guidance and counselling.
- Special educators or psychologists who specialise in teaching and helping children with special needs or learning disabilities are also in demand in schools and educational institutions. This usually requires a postgraduate degree or diploma in special needs education.
- All centres of learning, including engineering and medical colleges, often have a youth counsellor, who helps students work through stress, anxiety, and other challenges that are caused by exams, family challenges and other stressors related to adulting.
Special Needs Education
- Many centres help in the assessment, diagnosis, and therapy of children and adults, who may have special needs. The psychologists who join special needs education centres are usually skilled in areas like play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, diagnostic assessments, and help inculcate communication and other social skills in children. By providing special education, these professionals support and counsel parents of children with learning disabilities, autism, dyslexia etc.
- There is a process of registering with the RCI if you want to be authorised, to conduct assessments to diagnose and identify learning disabilities and special needs. Special education is an area that needs post-graduation, courses in special education, and significant internship experience.
- Corporate organisations often employ psychologists as ‘Wellness Officers’, to help employees overcome stressful situations, and be happier and more productive. Usually, this role requires specialisation in counselling or clinical practice, along with excellent communication and facilitation skills.
- Apart from the above, organisational psychologists usually work in corporate organisations as a part of the human resources, or learning & development wings. They are involved in designing and implementing systems and policies that are people-friendly and aligned with the business culture and objectives of the organisation.
- In this profession, you may benefit from additional qualifications like an MBA in HR, or even a post-graduate course in Training & Development, based on your interests. For counsellors and wellness officers, postgraduates in clinical psychology or counselling, are preferred.
Social Sector And NGOs
- The social and non-government sector usually hires psychologists who are keen to work for improving society and supporting individuals who have been marginalised on various grounds. To join the social sector, you would need to specialise in either applied, clinical, counselling, or social psychology. A postgraduate degree is preferred, however, some organisations are open to hiring graduates in Psychology too.
- One of the best ways of joining such initiatives is to do a few internships with organisations that are working in areas that interest you. The area could be any, ranging from education of the children from socio-economically backward families, to uplifting of victims of domestic violence. Job profiles such as those of counsellors, researchers, as well as program managers are given to psychologists, based on their training and specialisation. Researchers may need a doctorate, while counsellors could be postgraduates with a keen sense of listening and empathy.
Psychologists In The Social Sector
Training And Coaching
- Many psychologists make excellent trainers as they have good communication and presentation skills. Consulting organisations, training organisations, public sector organisations, and the like, are always in need of trainers who can impart soft skills, behavioural training, team building and other workshops, that help employees accomplish business objectives and targets.
- Psychologists who work in training and coaching, are usually organisational or social psychologists, who have spent a few years learning different aspects of behavioural training.
- Advertising and marketing agencies need the help of professional consumers and social psychologists to understand audience profiles and create campaigns to increase profitability. To work with an advertising agency, you need to be a graduate or postgraduate in Psychology, with a keen interest in consumer and social psychology. Internships in such organisations are a great way to understand the requirements of the role and gauge your interest in consumer psychology and sales.
Prisons, Juvenile Cells, Rehabilitation Centres, Hospices, etc.
- Criminal psychologists and social psychologists are needed to help conduct research and reformation efforts, to help individuals who have been marginalised by society. The inmates are in grave need of counselling and support as they are often stressed by the impact of the events of their life. Many inmates need help to return to mainstream society after completing their term or treatment plan. In prisons, psychologists who understand criminal behaviour usually work along with a team of social workers to help educate, counsel and skill them for their future.
- Criminologists and forensic psychologists are needed to help in legal and criminal investigations, to understand the events that led to the crime. Sometimes they also interrogate the suspect to confirm the validity of the accusation. There are many courses offered in criminal and forensic psychology in India, however, the number of employment opportunities for such roles is yet limited, and those available are usually of a rehabilitative nature.
- Additionally, psychologists and counsellors are also needed in old age homes, orphanages, de-addiction centres, cancer hospices etc. Depending on the area of work, the specialisation of psychologists may vary. For example, a clinical psychologist who has specialised in substance abuse would typically work in a de-addiction centre, while a child/developmental psychologist may be needed for orphanages, old age homes etc.
Research And Publication
- There is a growing need for researchers, editors, proofreaders, content writers, book writers etc. in the social sciences.
- The preferred qualification for research is usually post-graduation, or above. Research-based work requires you to be comfortable with data, and working on long-term projects. Most universities advertise openings for research assistants, research fellows, and provide contractual employment to students aspiring for research and academic careers.
- Publishing houses that compile books usually need a team of editors and proofreaders to go through the content and provide feedback so it can be published with the needed structure and format. Psychology graduates and postgraduates can assist in editing and compiling research-based content.
- Apart from this, areas like health psychology, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, are important areas of research and application that overlap significantly with biology. Psychologists who specialise in these usually do a mix of research, application and teaching. Neuropsychologists are also in demand in hospitals and clinical settings.
- A related area is cognitive psychology, which investigates how the brain functions and also how we learn and develop. This area has applications in hospitals, special education, as well as creating and designing learning material for students and employees.
As the article depicts, there are a variety of emerging careers in Psychology. For more specialised roles, it is important to be a postgraduate or doctorate in the subject. Many students are opting for a psychology career as it is emerging as one of the hot career options today. For junior psychologists, starting salaries usually range from Rs. 3 to 5 lakh per annum, and they may keep upscaling with experience and time. While the need and role of machines has increased manifolds in today’s times, especially post the pandemic, the need for human beings who can support other people for ensuring healthy functioning has also increased at the same time. Hence, careers in psychology are likely to keep witnessing great demand in the times to come.
Dr. Srividya is an Organisational Psychologist, Career and Personal Growth Coach. She works with teens, parents, adults, and returning professionals, to help them align their personal and professional needs, desires, and overcome personal and professional challenges. She can be reached at www.lifevidya.in.