Psychology is an interesting field with several advantages. For people who enjoy working with others, it allows a large amount of personal interaction with all types of people from different backgrounds and ages.
Another one of the most positive aspects about psychology careers is the variety of areas available to work in. People who are interested in a psychology career have several fields within psychology to choose from, including lesser known areas, such as forensic psychology, sports psychology, and engineering psychology.
It is also possible to work with a specific population or age group. For instance, some people may choose to work with the homeless or with crime victims. Individuals who like working with children may choose to work as a school counselor in public and private schools with children of all ages. Depending on the level of education a person earns, psychology careers may include positions as family therapists or counselors who work with both adults and children.
Individuals with a psychology background are hired in a variety of employment settings that include:
- Criminal justice
- Social services
- The medical field
Places of employment may include schools, hospitals, counseling centers, prisons, and government agencies. The field of psychology may also include research opportunities and teaching at various levels, such as high school, college, and graduate schools.
Working in the field of psychology may also provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It allows an individual the chance to help other people and possibly really make a difference in someone else’s life.
Advantages of Working in Psychology Careers
Because there are so many areas in the field to choose from, it allows a person already in the field the option of moving into a new area of psychology without changing careers completely. Moving into another area of psychology often presents interesting and new challenges. Since variety is available, it alleviates the possibility of boredom and burnout.
Depending on the level of education a person earns, it is possible to set up an independent practice as a psychologist, therapist, or counselor. People who want to be their own boss and have their own business may enjoy this option. It allows someone to create their own schedule and enjoy the aspects of running their own business.
Although salaries vary greatly depending on type of employment, geographical area, and level of education, a psychology career can pay well. People who have earned a master’s degree or a doctorate will usually have the highest earning potential.
Although some jobs may depend on funding and no field is immune to job cuts, psychology careers have been around for over a hundred years. For as long as humans exist, it is likely they will have complex issues, emotional concerns, and situations in which the need for psychology professionals will continue.
Disadvantages of a Psychology Career
When deciding on various psychology careers, it is important to not only look at all the benefits and positive aspects, but also to be aware of the disadvantages. And although there are many benefits to a psychology career, disadvantages also do exist.
People who work in psychology careers are often working with people who have various problems. Issues may include mental health problems, history of traumatic events or abuse, drug or alcohol addictions, and family dysfunction. Continually dealing with these issues as a psychology professional sometimes takes its toll and may become emotionally draining.
Depending on the area of psychology a person enters, some situations may be particularly disturbing. For instance, individuals who become victims’ advocates may hear about horrible crimes, including those against children. Parents may especially find this hard to deal with.
Burnout is a possibility for those working in various psychology careers. It is essential that employees and employers recognize signs of burnout, such as decreased interest in work, excessive sick days, and low morale. People working in the field should develop ways to relax. Spending time doing enjoyable activities and getting enough sleep and exercise may help reduce the likelihood of burnout.
Another possible disadvantage someone working in a psychology career may have to deal with is learning to help people who have done disturbing things or who live a lifestyle the professional disagrees with. For instance, some people in the field may work with convicted criminals, substance abuse addicts, and individuals guilty of spousal or child abuse. Although it is essential to put personal feeling aside to work effectively, it may be difficult at times.
Some types of jobs in the field of psychology may require long hours. Depending on the place of employment, overnight and weekend work may be required. For instance, employees working in a psychiatric facility may be assigned to the overnight shift.
Many jobs in the psychology field are at nonprofit agencies, which may rely on funding from public or private companies, agencies, and donations. Jobs may be cut if funding decreases. In addition, people employed by government agencies may also have positions cut or be laid off due to government funding cuts.
Another disadvantage to psychology careers may be low wages, particularly for individuals without advanced degrees. Those with advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree, however, will usually obtain positions that have higher salaries. But to some extent, wages will be highly dependent upon the type of position held and geographical location.