Choosing to pursue a career in psychology means you get to select from a number of different options. These career paths are generally organized into ten branches of psychology.
- Clinical Psychology: This branch of psychology is concerned with the treatment of psychological issues through prevention and intervention. Professionals in this area work with individuals with mental and behavioral issues to provide the care that they need, as well as with communities to educate them about mental health.
- Experimental Psychology: This field is all about finding answers to questions about psychology. Experimental psychologists mostly focus on research instead of the application. In fact, many of them spend most of their career researching just one topic.
- Biopsychology: Closely related to neuroscience, this branch of psychology examines the ways in which the brain and the body interact, and how our minds influence our behaviors. This area is very research heavy. Psychologists in this field may deal heavily with brain disorders and research about addiction.
- Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychologists study the ways that our brains deal with information, including how we obtain it, what we do with it once we have it, and how we store it. This branch of psychology interacts closely with professionals in many other fields, from education to public health to graphic design, and works to solve issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, speech issues, and memory loss.
- Educational Psychology: This area focuses on our behaviors in educational settings, and how they are affected by the brain. Professionals in this branch study learning disorders, psychological development in children and teenagers, and different educational approaches and methods. They also work to improve the educational environments for students.
- Developmental Psychology: This branch of psychology studies the development of the human brain, from when and how it is formed to what happens when people die. It also examines how the psychology of people and cultures form and develop over time. Developmental psychologists conduct research into the different stages of human life, and then apply the research in practical situations.
- Forensic Psychology: When you hear the term “forensic psychology” you may think of crime scenes or police investigations. This branch of psychology, however, is actually involved in almost every aspect of the legal world. Forensic psychologists are consulted in areas such as law creation, assessing witnesses, or how criminals are treated. Because of the close ties with legal issues, a career in this branch requires a thorough knowledge of the law.
- Industrial Psychology: Also known as organizational psychology, this branch is concerned with psychological issues that are related to the workplace. Companies hire these psychologists to measure employee aptitudes and solve issues related to career development, consumer behavior, and human performance.
- Social Psychology: This area of psychology examines how we are affected by our interactions with other people and different social environments. This area is also called community or critical psychology since it deals with issues such as social justice, prejudice, and diplomacy.
- Health Psychology: This area of psychology covers the ways our minds impact our bodies, and especially how biological and social factors can influence us. This includes topics such as addiction or how we motivate ourselves to stay healthy and in shape. Health psychologists work closely with healthcare professionals to help people overcome illnesses or chronic conditions.
Since there are so many different areas of psychology to study, it can be a bit overwhelming deciding on which one to pursue as a career path. Organizing psychological fields into these ten branches will help you to better define each branch of psychology, so you can see which one is the right fit for you.