Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors
http://www.psywww.com/careers/options.htm This section will help you learn about graduate programs in psychology, education, and social work that will prepare you for work in psychology and psychology-related careers. Note: If you want to help people with problems (do "counseling"), you are not limited to careers that require graduate degrees in psychology. Psychology-related graduate programs such as education and social work are typically happy to have students who majored in psychology as undergraduates. Too, in my experience, they often have less stringent admission standards than do psychology programs. Thus, if you're like most undergraduates who won't have the necessary GRE scores and GPAs to be admitted to master's or doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology, don't despair! You should definitely consider these alternative educational pathways to the counseling "mountaintop." At the master's and doctoral level, education becomes increasingly specialized. Thus, to do the work you want to do, it's essential to obtain a degree that will prepare you to do so. To ensure that you make the correct decision in this regard, you must be very clear about your career goals at this level. In addition, you need to know for sure that the degree you pursue will prepare you to do what you want. (If you get in the wrong degree program, you can waste time, money, and also end up unprepared to do what you had hoped.) There are many factors to be considered as you make decisions about your graduate school options. You will probably have to review the information in this section a number of times before it begins to make sense. Nonetheless, your future happiness and income are riding on it, so stick with it. Choose a graduate program on the basis of considerations that are important to you, not others. Just because your faculty mentor has a PhD doesn't mean that you need to get one to be happy or for your mentor to respect you. Get the degree that meets your needs. Choose a program that offers the level of education you want (master's, doctorate), that is compatible with your orientation (scientific, practical; behavioral, cognitive, etc.;), and that offers the coursework and training to prepare you to do what you want to do (individual, family, group therapy; testing; working with adults, children, etc.). I will provide some general guidelines to help you understand some of the major degree programs and their similarities and differences. Nonetheless, because of the detailed and technical nature of this information and because so much is riding on your making informed decisions, I strongly advise you to work with a faculty member who knows about the various degree options that are relevant to the work in which you're interested. (As you may have learned, some faculty know more than others and some are more willing than others to share what they know; it's a good idea to keep your ears open and to shop around.)
MA, MS, MEd, MSW, PhD, PsyD, EdD: What Does It All Mean? To understand the various degree options, you need to know some important points about academic degrees. You're probably aware that degrees have different "names" (the technical name for this is degree nomenclature), but you probably don't know what these are or what they can tell you. Just as there are a number of degrees offered at the undergraduate level--e.g., bachelor of arts ( BA) and bachelor of science (BS), there are a number of different types of graduate degrees; The nomenclature for degrees contains two important pieces of information. One tells you the educational level of the degree: "B" for a bachelor's degree (beginning level; 4 years); M" for a master's degree (intermediate level; 1-2 years beyond the bachelor's degree); and "D" for a doctoral degree (highest level; 3-5 years beyond the bachelor's degree). The second piece of information contained in degree nomenclature is the discipline in which the degree is awarded. Here things can get complicated, so I'll try to keep to the essential points. Those academic disciplines (majors) that deal with basic principles vs. the applications of knowledge are classified as the liberal arts (and sciences). These include psychology, sociology, political science, history, biology, physics, English, etc. Disciplines (majors) such as education, nursing, and business teach the
applications of the basic principles of knowledge. Because the various disciplines and their educational requirements are different, it's important to distinguish among them.Thus, all masters degrees in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines give degrees titled master of arts (MA) and/or master of science (MS).Often, an MA indicates that a thesis is required, whereas an M.S. indicates that it is not; however, this is not always so. (Note the correspondence with the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science degrees at the undergraduate level.) All doctoral degrees in liberal arts disciplines (psychology, biology, etc.) give the doctor of philosophy degree (PhD).* * The PsyD degree is awarded only in psychology and only in the "professional" areas of clinical and counseling psychology--not, for example, in subfields like social or developmental psychology. The major difference between the PsyD and the PhD is the emphasis on research. The PhD degree prepares clinical psychologists to be researchers (as well as practitioners); whereas, the PsyD prepares clinicians to be consumers of research (as well as practitioners). Thus, PhD programs require students to take more courses in research design and statistics and to conduct research compared to PsyD programs. In addition, PsyD programs place considerable emphasis on the provision of psychological services. If you're interested in a detailed discussion of the differences between the PsyD and PhD degrees, read the following article: Scheirer, C.J. (1983). Professional schools: Information for students and advisors. Teaching of Psychology, 10, 11-15. To further complicate matters, more distinctions are made among the degrees in the applied disciplines. We'll consider only those fields of greatest interest to psychology majors. In social work, there is a master of social work degree (MSW) and a doctor of social work degree (DSW)--and, sometimes, a PhD In education, the master of education degree is either the MEd or the EdM; the doctor of education degree is the EdD. In business, the master's degree is the master's of business administration (MBA); the doctorate, the DBA (or, sometimes, the PhD). If you want to explore this further, you can use your college catalog to see how the degrees of your instructors match their disciplines.
A Master's Degree or a Doctoral Degree? Are there any practical reasons for choosing a master's degree or a doctoral degree? Yes! Doctoral degrees will enable you to earn more money, to work in positions with more responsibility (and status), and to have more independence. Of course, doctoral programs are hard to get into, and take more time and effort to complete--typically at least 4-6 years beyond the bachelor's degree. A master's degree gives you more occupational advantages than a bachelor's degree, but fewer than a doctoral degree. On the other hand, master's programs are easier to get into than doctoral programs; they are also less difficult and take less time to complete (typically 1-2 years beyond the bachelor's degree). To determine the relative difficulty of the various degree programs (and departments), you need to consider several factors. First, you need to compare admissions standards (how hard is it to get in?).Second, you also need to compare the graduation requirements in the programs in which you're interested (how hard is it to graduate?). Is there a foreign language requirement? written comprehensive and/or oral exam? a thesis? a dissertation?
Some Useful Distinctions Between Degrees in Clinical Psychology, Education, and Clinical Social Work To help you understand why you might lean toward a degree in psychology, social work, or education, I'll try to make some distinctions among the graduate programs in these fields. Psychology. In psychology graduate programs, you will learn a lot about research methods and statistics and specialize in a subfield of psychology: developmental, social, personality, neuropsychology, clinical, health, etc. (See "Areas of
Specialization in Psychology." If your sub-field is clinical or counseling psychology, you will also get a lot of practical experience in conducting psychotherapy and psychological testing. Typically, what distinguishes psychology from education and social work is the strong research focus--remember your courses in research methods and statistics? Thus, most master's and doctoral psychology programs in clinical psychology will require coursework in research. This research emphasis serves two primary functions. First, because psychology is an empirical discipline, psychologists must understand research methodology to keep up with developments in the field (by reading professional journals). Second, psychologists and psychology students conduct research to advance knowledge in the field. Thus, doctoral programs require a dissertation (a major research project of publishable quality), and some master's programs do as well. If you select a master's program that requires a thesis, you will need these skills to conduct the research for your thesis. (A thesis is a research project that may or may not be of publishable quality and is highly desirable if you are planning to go on for a PhD) In a non-thesis program, you will need the research skills to understand the research articles you read for your classes and papers and to keep up with developments in the discipline after you graduate. In my experience, most psychology majors have relatively little interest in research. (I don't mean this as an indictment, only a description of reality as I see it.) If you are one of these students, you should think seriously about going on in a field other than psychology (and should definitely rule out a PhD in psychology--although a PsyD may be an option--see Halgin (1986) below). If research is not your cup of tea, graduate programs in education and social work may be much more to your liking. For additional information on this idea, I would urge you to read the article listed below; it describes a number of alternative career and educational options to traditional clinical psychology, as well as strategies for increasing the the likelihood of being admitted to competitive doctoral programs in clinical psychology. Halgin, R. P. (1986). Advising undergraduates who wish to become clinicians. Teaching of Psychology, 13(1), pp. 7-12.
This is available on the shelf in the library- Psy 000 in Psych Department Office, and there is also one copy on course reserve. An essential resource on graduate programs in psychology is the APA publication, Graduate Study in Psychology (see "Books on Graduate School for Psychology Majors"). At the back of the book, there is an alphabetical list of all of the subfields in psychology; under each heading, you will find listed almost all of the institutions that offer degrees (both master's and doctoral) in that subfield. Once you locate the schools you're interested in, you can read the details about admission requirements, application deadlines, degree requirements, program goals, faculty/student statistics, tuition costs, and financial aid. Some subfields in psychology also publish their own directories. These directories include the Directory of Graduate Programs in Applied Sport Psychology, Graduate Training Programs in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Related Fields, and Neuroscience Training Programs in North America (see "Books on Graduate School for Psychology Majors"). Additional useful references on the topic of graduate programs and their admission criteria, etc. include the following: Mayne, T. J., Norcross, J. C., & Sayette, M. A. (1994a). Admission requirements, acceptance rates, and financial assistance in clincial psychology programs. American Psychologist, 49, 605-611. Norcross, J. C., Mayne, T. J., & Sayette, M. A. (1996). Graduate study in psychology: 1992-1993. American Psychologist, 51, 631-643.
Education Graduate programs in counselor education place less emphasis on research than do psychology programs--including those in clinical and counseling psychology. At the master's level, you probably won't have to do a thesis; at the doctoral level, you may have to complete a dissertation, although some programs allow students to substitute a major theoretical review paper. (For this level of detail, you will need to review the degree requirements for individual programs.) In education programs, students also typically get less coursework and practical experience in psychological assessment than do students in psychology programs. Moreover, preparation in this area is usually limited to eductional testing--e.g., occupational interest inventories. Counselor education programs will require you to take courses and have supervised experiences in the appraisal and treatment of psychological problems. Thus, if you want to do counseling, but are not interested in doing psychological testing or research, a degree in counselor education (agency counseling or school counseling) may be just what you want. If you're interested in learning to use a battery of psycho-educational tests to determine why a child isn't performing well in school, school psychology may be the career for you. Because school psychologists also usually design programs to help children perform better (based on the results of testing and interviews with the child, teacher, and parents), they take courses in counseling and behavior modification as well as in educational, intellectual, and personality assessment. My understanding is that an independent research project (thesis) is not required for this degree. A minimum of a master's degree is required to become a school psychologist, but many states require school psychologists to have training beyond a master's degree (EdS or education specialist's degree); some require the doctorate (PhD). The APA publication, Graduate Study in Psychology (see "Books on Graduate School for Psychology Majors") lists APAaccredited programs in school psychology, educational psychology, and counseling psychology that offer education degrees (as well as those offering psychology degrees).
Clinical Social Work Unlike graduate programs in counselor education, school psychology, and clinical/counseling psychology, social work programs will not prepare you to conduct psychological testing. Otherwise, clinical social workers take coursework and practica in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems, among other topics. Thirty years ago, social work education tended to be rather Freudian, but I don't know if this is still the case. Frankly, I think there is much to be said for a degree in social work. The training is typically good; the degree enables you to work in a variety of settings (hospitals, schools, community mental health centers, etc.); and one can obtain a license in clinical social work at the master's level in all states. (See next section, "What Are Licenses and Certificates?") If you want to know what institutions offer graduate programs in social work, consult the booklet, Summary Information on Master of Social Work Programs, published by the National Association of Social Workers. (See "Books on Graduate School for Psychology Majors"). You can order a copy by contacting the National Association of Social Workers at the address given in the section, "Master's- and Doctoral-level Careers in Psychology and Related Areas."
What Are Licenses and Certificates? A license is a "quality control" credential awarded by the state--not an educational institution. A license gives you legal authority to work independently--i.e., you don't need to be supervised by someone else. This means that you can have a
private practice--see clients on your own, receive insurance payments, and so forth. Recall that physicians, dentists, and veterinarians are licensed. The use of the title "psychologist" is regulated by state licensing boards. That is, only individuals who have met the requirements for a psychology license may put themselves forward to the public as "psychologists." Similarly, licensed "psychologists" are prohibited by law from putting themselves forth to the public as a licensed social worker and vice versa. A major reason for these regulations about the practice of psychology, social work, etc. is to protect the public from those who are not competent to treat those in need of assistance. Although the requirements for a psychology license vary from state to state, they typically involve the following: (1) a doctoral degree in a field of study that is "primarily psychological in nature," (2) one year of supervised clinical work during graduate school, (3) one year of post-doctoral supervised clinical work, and (4) a passing score on a standardized examination. Some states also require an oral examination once the written exam is passed. For many people, the fact that clinical social workers with only a master's degree can be licensed in all 50 states is a major advantage of the MSW degree. You should note, however, that managed health care is driving many licensed mental health workers out of private practice because they cannot compete with the health maintenance organizations (HMOs). To learn more about this, talk with a clinical psychologist in your department. In many states, individuals with master's degrees in clinical psychology (MA/MS) and agency counseling (MEd) cannot be licensed. And even in those states where they are licensable, they are never licensed as a "psychologist" because they don't meet the minimum requirement of a doctoral degree. When individuals with master's degrees in psychology are licensed, they usually carry a title like "psychological associate" or "psychological assistant" to distinguish them from licensed "psychologists." Moreover, their work is limited to certain activities--pychological testing, for example. In Georgia, those with a master's degree in psychology (and agency counseling, I believe) are eligible for two licenses: a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Of course, individuals with master's degrees who aren't licensed are still able to work in a variety of mental health settings (community mental health centers, etc.) where supervision from licensed individuals is available. In some states, those with master's degrees in clinical psychology (and agency counseling, I believe) may be eligible for certificates. Certificates are quality-control credentials awarded by professional organizations--not a state or an educational institution. They certify that a person has had courses and supervised practical experience in particular areas such as drug addiction or family therapy. Although they do not grant an individual the authority to work on one's own (private practice), certificates are often necessary to get jobs where specialized skills are needed. For example, in Georgia, one has a much better chance at getting a job in the addictions area if one is a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC).
Job Outlook from http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx Psychology graduates generally report being pleased with the way what they studied in school helped prepare them for both life and work. A woman who opened her own business shortly after earning a baccalaureate in psychology explains, ―After all, psychology is the business of life.‖ Psychology graduates continue to be excited by the changes taking place in the field that relate to what they are now doing. The 2001 Doctorate Employment Survey from APA's Center for Psychology Workforce Analysis and Research (CPWAR) found that 73% of the 1,754 responding psychologists who earned their doctorates in 2000-2001 secured their first choice when looking for a job. In addition, 75% of respondents were employed within 3 months of receiving the doctorate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that opportunities in psychology will continue to grow over the next decade. ―Employment in health care will grow fastest in outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment clinics. Numerous job opportunities will also arise in schools, public and private social service agencies, and management consulting services. Companies will use psychologists' expertise in survey design, analysis, and research to provide marketing evaluation and statistical analysis. The increase in employee assistance programs, which offer employees help with personal problems, also should spur job growth. Opportunities for people holding doctorates from leading universities in areas with an applied emphasis, such as counseling, health, and educational psychology, should be good. Psychologists with extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science may have a competitive edge over applicants without this background. Graduates with a master's degree in psychology may qualify for positions in school and industrial-organizational psychology. School psychology should have the best job prospects, as schools are expected to increase student counseling and mental health services. Master's degree holders with several years of business and industry experience can obtain jobs in consulting and marketing research, while other master's degree holders may find jobs in universities, government or the private sector as psychological assistants, counselors, researchers, data collectors, and analysts.
Doctoral Graduates As might be expected, the highest paid and greatest range of jobs in psychology are available to psychology doctorates. The number of doctoral graduates has remained stable over the past decade, and supply continues to meet demand. Unemployment and underemployment remain below what is noted for other scientists and engineers. Few drop out of the field. The greatest expansion of career opportunities for doctoral psychologists in the last decade has been in the for-profit and self-employment sectors, including, but not limited to, health service provider subfields, industrial–organizational psychology, educational psychology, and other fields with applications in these settings. Although fewer new doctorates have headed into faculty positions compared to past decades, it is the case that about one third of doctoral-level psychologists today are employed in academe, and more than half of new doctorates in the research subfields head into academe following graduation.
Master’s Graduates While the doctoral degree is the standard for independent research or practice in psychology, the number of psychology students who pursue a terminal master's degree has increased sixfold since 1960. Competition for positions in psychologyrelated jobs is keen. Just over one fifth of master's graduates are full-time students, and about two thirds of master's graduates are employed outside psychology. Many handle research and data collection and analysis in universities, government, and private companies. Others find jobs in health, industry, and education, the primary work settings for psychology professionals with master's degrees. With growing recognition of the role of psychology in the community, more jobs for persons with master's degrees in psychology may also become available in community mental health centers. Persons with master's degrees often work under the direction of a doctoral psychologist, especially in clinical, counseling, school, and testing and measurement psychology. Some jobs in industry, for example, in organizational development and survey research, are held by both doctoral- and master's-level graduates. But industry and government jobs in compensation, training, data analysis, and general personnel issues are often filled by those with master's degrees in psychology.
Bachelor’s Graduates In 2002–2003 psychology was the most popular intended undergraduate major according to a survey of college freshman. As a single field and not a constellation of fields, such as is true of business, biology, or education, psychology outdrew all other fields. In 2000, 74,654 students graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Some students stop with a bachelor's degree in psychology and find work related to their college major. For example, they may be assistants in rehabilitation centers. If they meet state certification requirements, they may be able to teach psychology in high school. But the study of psychology at the bachelor's level is also a fine preparation for many other professions. In 2000, about 75,000 college seniors graduated with a degree in psychology, but many were not necessarily interested in a career as a psychologist. In 1999, fewer than 5% of 1997 and 1998 psychology BA recipients were employed in psychology or a field related to psychology. Of the 1997 and 1998 BA graduates in 1999, two thirds were in for-profit business settings, usually the sales/service sector. These students often possess good research and writing skills, are good problem solvers, and have well-developed, higher-level thinking ability when it comes to analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information. Most find jobs in administrative support, public affairs, education, business, sales, service industries, health, the biological sciences, and computer programming. They work as employment counselors, correction counselor trainees, interviewers, personnel analysts, probation officers, and writers. Two thirds believe their job is closely or somewhat related to their psychology background and that their jobs hold career potential.
Subfields in Psychology from www.apa.org Psychologists specialize in a host of different areas within the field and identify themselves by many different labels. A sampling of those focal areas is presented to give you an idea of the breadth of psychology's content as well as the many different settings in which it is found. Additionally, many psychologists teach psychology in academic institutions from high schools to graduate programs in universities. The field of psychology encompasses both research, through which we learn fundamental things about human and animal behavior, and practice, through which that knowledge is applied in helping to solve problems and promote healthy human development. In each of the subfields there are psychologists who work primarily as researchers, others who work primarily as practitioners, and many who do both (scientist-practitioners). Indeed, one of psychology's most unique and important characteristics is its coupling of science and practice, which stimulates continual advancement of both.
Clinical Psychologists Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These range from short-term crises, such as difficulties resulting from adolescent rebellion, to more severe, chronic conditions such as schizophrenia. Some clinical psychologists treat specific problems exclusively, such as phobias or clinical depression. Others focus on specific populations: youngsters, ethnic minority groups, gays and lesbians, and the elderly, for instance. They also consult with physicians on physical problems that have underlying psychological causes.
Cognitive and Perceptual Psychologists Cognitive and perceptual psychologists study human perception, thinking, and memory. Cognitive psychologists are interested in questions such as, how does the mind represent reality? How do people learn? How do people understand and produce language? Cognitive psychologists also study reasoning, judgment, and decision making. Cognitive and perceptual psychologists frequently collaborate with behavioral neuroscientists to understand the biological bases of perception or cognition or with researchers in other areas of psychology to better understand the cognitive biases in the thinking of people with depression, for example.
Counseling Psychologists Counseling psychologists help people recognize their strengths and resources to cope with their problems. Counseling psychologists do counseling/psychotherapy, teaching, and scientific research with individuals of all ages, families, and organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals, businesses). Counseling psychologists help people understand and take action on career and work problems. They pay attention to how problems and people differ across life stages. Counseling psychologists have great respect for the influence of differences among people (such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability status) on psychological well-being. They believe that behavior is affected by many things, including qualities of the individual (e.g., psychological, physical, or spiritual factors) and factors in the person's environment (e.g., family, society, and cultural groups)
Developmental Psychologists Developmental psychologists study the psychological development of the human being that takes place throughout life. Until recently, the primary focus was on childhood and adolescence, the most formative years. But as life expectancy in this country approaches 80 years, developmental psychologists are becoming increasingly interested in aging, especially in researching and developing ways to help elderly people stay as independent as possible.
Educational Psychologists Educational psychologists concentrate on how effective teaching and learning take place. They consider a variety of factors, such as human abilities, student motivation, and the effect on the classroom of the diversity of race, ethnicity, and culture that makes up America.
Engineering Psychologists Engineering psychologists conduct research on how people work best with machines. For example, how can a computer be designed to prevent fatigue and eye strain? What arrangement of an assembly line makes production most efficient? What is a reasonable workload? Most engineering psychologists work in industry, but some are employed by the government, particularly the Department of Defense. They are often known as human factors specialists.
Evolutionary Psychologists Evolutionary psychologists study how evolutionary principles such as mutation, adaptation, and selective fitness influence human thought, feeling, and behavior. Because of their focus on genetically shaped behaviors that influence an organism's chances of survival, evolutionary psychologists study mating, aggression, helping behavior, and communication. Evolutionary psychologists are particularly interested in paradoxes and problems of evolution. For example, some behaviors that were highly adaptive in our evolutionary past may no longer be adaptive in the modern world.
Experimental Psychologists Experimental psychologists are interested in a wide range of psychological phenomena, including cognitive processes, comparative psychology (cross-species comparisons), learning and conditioning, and psychophysics (the relationship between the physical brightness of a light and how bright the light is perceived to be, for example). Experimental psychologists study both human and nonhuman animals with respect to their abilities to detect what is happening in a particular environment and to acquire and maintain responses to what is happening. Experimental psychologists work with the empirical method (collecting data) and the manipulation of variables within the laboratory as a way of understanding certain phenomena and advancing scientific knowledge. In addition to working in academic settings, experimental psychologists work in places as diverse as manufacturing settings, zoos, and engineering firms.
Forensic Psychologists Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues. Their expertise is often essential in court. They can, for example, help a judge decide which parent should have custody of a child or evaluate a defendant's mental competence to stand trial. Forensic psychologists also conduct research on jury behavior or eyewitness testimony. Some forensic psychologists are trained in both psychology and the law.
Health Psychologists Health psychologists specialize in how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness. They study how patients handle illness; why some people don't follow medical advice; and the most effective ways to control pain or to change poor health habits. They also develop health care strategies that foster emotional and physical well-being. Psychologists team up with medical personnel in private practice and in hospitals to provide patients with complete health care. They educate medical staff about psychological problems that arise from the pain and stress of illness and about symptoms that may seem to be physical in origin but actually have psychological causes. Health psychologists also investigate issues that affect a large segment of society, and develop and implement programs to deal with these problems. Examples are teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet.
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist Industrial/organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the work place in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of work life. Many serve as human resources specialists, helping organizations with staffing, training, and employee development. And others work as management consultants in such areas as strategic planning, quality management, and coping with organizational change.
Neuropsychologists Neuropsychologists (and behavioral neuropsychologists) explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior. For example, behavioral neuropsychologists may study the way the brain creates and stores memories, or how various diseases and injuries of the brain affect emotion, perception, and behavior. They design tasks to study normal brain functions with new imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Clinical neuropsychologists also assess and treat people. And with the dramatic increase in the number of survivors of traumatic brain injury over the past 30 years, neuropsychologists are working with health teams to help brain-injured people resume productive lives.
Quantitative and Measurement Psychologists Quantitative and measurement psychologists focus on methods and techniques for designing experiments and analyzing psychological data. Some develop new methods for performing analysis; others create research strategies to assess the effect of social and educational programs and psychological treatment. They develop and evaluate mathematical models for psychological tests. They also propose methods for evaluating the quality and fairness of the tests.
Rehabilitation Psychologists Rehabilitation psychologists work with stroke and accident victims, people with mental retardation, and those with developmental disabilities caused by such conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. They help clients adapt to their situation, frequently working with other health care professionals. They deal with issues of personal adjustment, interpersonal relations, the work world, and pain management. Rehabilitation psychologists are also involved in public health programs to prevent disabilities, including those caused by violence and substance abuse. And they testify in court as expert witnesses about the causes and effects of a disability and a person's rehabilitation needs.
School Psychologists School psychologists work directly with public and private schools. They assess and counsel students, consult with parents and school staff, and conduct behavioral interventions when appropriate. Most school districts employ psychologists full time.
Social Psychologists Social psychologists study how a person's mental life and behavior are shaped by interactions with other people. They are interested in all aspects of interpersonal relationships, including both individual and group influences, and seek ways to improve such interactions. For example, their research helps us understand how people form attitudes toward others, and when these are harmful—as in the case of prejudice—suggests ways to change them. Social psychologists are found in a variety of settings, from academic institutions (where they teach and conduct research), to advertising agencies (where they study consumer attitudes and preferences), to businesses and government agencies (where they help with a variety of problems in organization and management).
Sports Psychologists Sports psychologists help athletes refine their focus on competition goals, become more motivated, and learn to deal with the anxiety and fear of failure that often accompany competition. The field is growing as sports of all kinds become more and more competitive and attract younger children than ever.