|Of the thousands of career possibilities in the United States, psychology ranks number ten on Money magazine's "Best Jobs in America" publication–an annually published list which features the top 50 careers nationwide. Psychology beat out other careers including law, veterinary sicence and even dentistry. So what where the top career choices? Software engineer (#1), financial advisor (#3) and college professor (#2), among a few others.|
Careers included in the "Best Jobs in America" list are evaluated based on a number of criteria starting with above average job growth over the next 10 years – as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other evaluation criteria include requireing a minimum of a bachelor's degree; level of job stress; fostering of creativity; work environment; flexibility; advancement opportunity; and ease of entry into the career. Study data suggested that the psychology ranking in the "Best Jobs in America" list primarily represented the fields of counseling, clinical and school psychology.
In comparison to other careers, psychology scored fairly high in the areas of creativity and flexibility. It scored moderately well in advancement opportunity and work environment. However, it received low marks in the areas of job stress and easy of entry. Job opportunities in psychology are expected to job by 19 percent over the next decade–well above the average for all other occupations. Of all fields of psychology, school psychology is predicted to be the fastest growing – due in large part to an increase awareness of relationship between mental health and early childhood education.
A career in psychology is appealing for many of the same reasons it's listed as one of the top 10 jobs in America. It offers flexibility, it's fulfilling and compensation is good. While salary figures vary dramatically among psychology subfields, and based on experience and education, most professional psychologists can expect to make between $65,000 and $75,000 a year (according to data recently published by the BLS). The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests higher than average salaries for psychologists involved in the subfields of clinical, school and industrial psychology.
Interestingly, if you combine the No.2 career (college professor) with the No.10 career (psychologist) you end up with Psychologist Professor, a career option that is growing in popularity among aspiring psychology professionals. Relative to other career fields, including psychology, College Professor scored exceptionally well in creativity, flexibility and career advancement. However, it was one of the poorest scoring of the top 10 careers in the area of ease of entry, due to high competition for available positions and education requirements. Notwithstanding, according to the BLS, opportunities for college level professors and academicians is predicated to grow at a rate of over 30% over the next ten years – an impressive growth rate by any standards.
The demand for college professors – which includes instructors with master's and doctoral degrees – is rising due increasing enrollment by students in professional psychology programs offered at four-year universities, colleges, community colleges and vocational schools. According to a study published by Money magazine, most college professors earn about $82,000 a year. The same study also reported over 95,000 new positions for college professors opening up annually. A recent report published by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) indicates that professors and instructors working for private universities (offering doctoral programs) on average earn about $132,000 annually, where instructors working at two-year community colleges (and comparable institutions) earn slighly less than $50,000 a year.
Which ever field of psychology you decide to pursue, job opportunities should be plentiful and compensation attractive. However, the best opportunities will be available to those who have strong educational backgrounds in psychology and related disciplines.