11 Exciting PsyD Specializations
Obtaining a doctoral degree in psychology is an exciting and financially rewarding choice for a better career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of jobs in the psychology field will increase by a healthy 14% through 2026, which is faster than average. The median income in the field is also strong at $77,000. But professionals with the most experience and education may earn as much as $124,000 per year. (BLS.gov).
If you are thinking about obtaining your doctorate in this growing profession, you may want to consider these exciting psychology concentrations:
#1 Counseling Psychology
This is a general practice specialty in professional psychology that is among the most common choices for graduate students. The discipline focuses on how people function personally and in relationships at any age. This form of psychology also addresses the emotional, social, work, school and physical health issues that people might have at various life stages.
Counseling psychologists also help their patients address emotional, mental and physical health problems to enhance their sense of well being, alleviate distressed feelings and resolve serious personal crises. Further, counseling psychologists offer assessment, diagnosis and treatment of serious psychological problems. (APA.org).
Counseling psychologists focus on the following issues:
- The good aspects and strengths of clients
- The situational and environmental influences that are affecting clients
- Problems surrounding diversity and social justice
- How career and work affects the lives of patients
#2 Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology is a specialty that deals with how people grow and change over their lives. Professionals in this field are not just focusing on the physical changes that happen as people grow. They also are looking closely at emotional, social and cognitive development that happens throughout their lives.
Some of the many challenges that developmental psychologists help their patients to deal with include:
- Development of motor skills
- How people acquire language abilities
- Emotional development
- How self-awareness and self-concept develop
- Childhood cognitive development and throughout the lifespan
- Social and cultural influences on children
- Moral reasoning
Developmental psychologists spend long hours investigating and observing these many processes and how they happen under normal circumstances, but they also want to learn about things that can disrupt such processes. (VeryWellMind.com).
#3 Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology is the specialty that offers continuing and comprehensive mental and behavioral assistance to families, couplies, and individuals. These professionals also offer consultation to communities and agencies; education, training and supervision as well as research-based practice. Clinical psychology involves many aspects of serious psychopathology. The scope of this field involves people of all ages, nationalities, genders and various systems. (APA.org).
Some of the aspects that must be understood to practice clinical psychology are:
- Developing a strong understanding of psychopathology and diagnostic considerations.
- Major mental health problems across the lifespan that are based upon a good understanding of psychopathology.
- Be able to integrate and synthesize personality test information with other standardized assessment test data.
- Be able to effectively consult with other healthcare professionals regarding serious psychopathology, violence and suicide.
- Engage with various research institutions and be able to evaluate science, knowledge and methods related to those areas.
#4 Behavioral Psychology
Behavioral psychology is a learning theory that is based upon the concept that all behaviors were acquired via conditioning. Conditioning happens via interaction with different environments. Behavioral psychologists believe human responses to environmental stimuli shape our actions. (VeryWellMind.com).
According to this theory of psychology, human behavior can be studied in an observable and systematic way, no matter of our internal inner states. Only behavior that is observed should be considered. This type of psychology holds that thoughts, emotions and moods are too subjective to be taken seriously.
Strict behavioral psychologists believe that anyone can be trained to do almost any task, no matter of their genetic background, personality, thoughts, etc. It only requires appropriate training and conditioning.
#5 School Psychology
School psychology is a practice that is focused on the practice and science of the field with children, families, youths, learners of various ages, and the overall educational process. Education and training of these psychologists will prepare them to offer many useful skills in the school environment: intervention, assessment, prevention, health promotion, program development and psychological diagnosis. (APA.org).
School psychologists also are there to intervene with students and at the school system level, and develop and implement programs that can prevent misbehavior. In this work, they perform valid assessments and work with children alone and in groups to encourage strong, positive environments for learning, where children from all backgrounds are ensured they have full access to good education and psychological services.
#6 Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology is reported by experts as having a broad definition but also a very narrow definition. This field of psychology is simply the application of clinical psychology principles to legal matters. One expert notes that forensic psychology is how we apply clinical psychology to the forensics area. It also is applying clinical specialties to legal institutions and to those who contact the law. (APA.org).
The broad definition of this specialty stresses how experimentation and research are applied to other areas of psychology, such as cognitive and social psychology to legal matters. This might include applying the results from cognitive psychology studies to legal issues. The major function of forensic psychologists is to do psychological assessments of people who are involved in the legal system.
This is a professional psychology specialty that applies methods and knowledge of psychology to understand and help older people and families to maintain well being, overcome their problems and obtain their maximum potential in their late life stages. (APA.org). Some of the specialized knowledge that is important in this field include:
- Aging and general adult development processes, including psychological and social changes regarding gender and ethnicity.
- Mental health and human behavior later in life. This can deal with medical problems, psychopathology, functional changes and neuroscience.
- Foundations of assessment in this specialty areas, such as research and theory affecting mood, cognition, function and decision making.
#8 Organizational Psychology
Organizational and industrial psychology, also called I/O psychology, involves the study of human behavior in the workplace and organizations. The focus is to derive principles of group, individual and organizational behavior and apply the knowledge to work problems. (APA.org).
Psychologists need to have detailed knowledge of how organizations develop, employee and employer attitudes, overall career development, human performance and decision making, consumer behavior, human behavior job and task analysis and assessment of the individual at the workplace.
Some of the skills and procedures that are important in organizational psychology are:
- Be skilled in the identification of training and development needs for employees
- Design/optimize work and job tasks as well life quality for each employee
- Design and implement training programs and check their effectiveness at regular intervals
- Provide coaching to employers and employees to increase efficiency and productivity
#9 Sports Psychology
This specialty uses skills and knowledge of psychology to deal with the best performance and well being of athletes. Also, it deals with social matters regarding sports participation, and the systemic matters that are related to sports settings. Interventions in sports psychology are intended to help athletes and other people who participate in sports, such as coaches, administrators and parents in many different sports-related settings. The range can be from recreational youth programs, to Olympic and professional athletes. (APA.org).
#10 Quantitative Psychology
The quantitative psychologist studies and develops techniques and methods that measure human behavior. The work typically centers on statistical and mathematical modeling of various psychological processes, designing research studies and analyzing psychological data.
Students trained in this discipline can focus on improving various research methods, looking at how statistical models are built, and how to identify innovative ways to apply new psychological methods to obtain answers to complex research questions. A quantitative psychologist could focus on enhancing the design of surveys and questionnaires to get the best responses. (APA.org).
#11 Engineering Psychology
The growth of engineering psychology is noteworthy in the 21st century. From the time that people wake up until they go to sleep, they deal with a world that is immersed in technology. Our everyday interactions in our lives involve working with home appliances, telephones, computers, airplanes, cars, subways and more. How well a system has been designed will affect whether each experience is positive smooth and safe.
The demand for these psychologists is rising because industries understand that psychologists are vital in the design process. The final products can be more enjoyable and functional to use. Also, a system or product that has been designed properly from the beginning can reduce the number of frustrated customers and expensive redesigns. (APA.org).
- Psychologists. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Sports Psychologists. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/sports.aspx
- Counseling Psychologists. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/counseling.aspx
- Clinical Psychologists. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/clinical.aspx
- Behavioral Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/behavioral-psychology-4157183
- Forensic Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/psn/2013/09/forensic-psychology.aspx
- Developmental Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/developmental-psychology-4157180
- Engineering Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2007/03/engineering.aspx