Job Outlook for Psychologists

Employment opportunities for psychologists are projected to grow as fast as average for all jobs nationwide. Employment opportunities will be plentiful for those individuals possessing a graduate or doctoral degree from a reputable university in an applied specialty, such as health or counseling, or those with a graduate or specialist degree in school psychology.

Employment change. Job growth for psychologists is projected to increase 12 percent through 2018. Job growth will be spurred as demand continues to increase for mental health services at private companies, consulting firms, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, social service agencies, hospitals, and schools.

Likewise, growth for school psychologist jobs will be spurred by increased concern about behavioral problems at schools, including bullying and substance abuse. Additionally, school psychologists are needed to counsel and assist students with emotional problems, drug addictions, and learning disabilities.

Rising medical care costs resulting from unhealthy behaviors, including obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking, will increase the need for more clinical psychologists specializing in behavior modification and prevention. Demand for worker assistance programs, initiatives meant to teach employees how to handle emotional problems, will result in increased demand for counseling and clinical experts. Additional counseling and clinical psychologists are needed to assist individuals struggling with addiction, job stress, relationship problems, depression, and mental health disorders. The aging baby boomer population will spur growth for psychologists specializing in geropsychology to assist elderly individuals struggling with aging related problems. More psychologists will also be needed to assist returning veterans.

Industrial-organizational psychologists will be needed to develop programs designed to increase employee productivity and retention for various businesses. They will also be asked to assist companies addressing workplace behavioral problems. Additionally, companies will consult with psychologists specializing in statistical analysis, marketing evaluation, and survey design.

Job prospects. Psychologists holding doctorate degrees in school psychology, counseling, or other specialties will have the best job opportunities. When seeking employment, psychologists trained or experienced in computer science and quantitative research will enjoy an edge over the competition.

Individuals with master's degrees in psychology, except industrial-organizational psychology, will experience intense competition for open positions since most organizations prefer hiring individuals with doctorate degrees. However, psychologists with master's degrees should not have problems finding counseling and psychological assistant positions. Many organizations also hire psychologists with master's degrees to conduct various tasks under the supervision of a psychiatrist or other licensed professional. Data gathering and research opportunities will also be available at private businesses, government agencies, and universities.

Job seekers with bachelor's degrees in psychology will have difficulty finding jobs related to this field. Entry-level assistant jobs at rehabilitation clinics and data analysis and gathering jobs can be acquired with a bachelor's degree. Those with a teaching certificate can teach psychology at secondary schools.