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Job Outlook for Psychologists

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.

Employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social services agencies should drive employment growth.

Demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will increase as people continue to turn to psychologists to help solve or manage their problems. More psychologists will be needed to help people deal with issues such as depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, job stress, and addiction. Psychologists will also be needed to provide services to an aging population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Psychological services are also needed for veterans suffering from war trauma, for survivors of other trauma, and for individuals with autism.

Demand for psychologists in the healthcare industry is also expected to increase because their collaborative work with doctors, social workers, and other healthcare professionals provides patients with comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatments. In addition to treating mental and behavioral health issues, psychologists will be needed to work on teams to develop or administer prevention or wellness programs.

School psychologists will be needed to work with students, particularly those with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Schools also rely on school psychologists to assess and counsel students. In addition, school psychologists will be needed to study how both in-school and out-of-school factors affect learning, which teachers and administrators can use to improve education.

Employment of industrial-organizational psychologists is projected to grow 53 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Organizations use industrial-organizational psychologists to help select and keep employees, increase productivity, and improve office morale. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast employment growth will result in only about 900 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Job Prospects

Competition for jobs for psychologists will vary by specialty. Overall, candidates with a doctoral or specialist degree and post-doctoral work experience will have the best job opportunities.

Job prospects should be best for those who have a specialist degree or doctoral degree in school psychology. Employment of school psychologists will continue to grow because of the raised awareness of the connection between mental health and learning and the need for mental health services in schools. Given the limited number of graduates in this specialty and the growing need of mental health services in schools, school psychologists are expected to have good job opportunities.

Candidates with a master’s degree will face competition for most positions, and many of them will find jobs in a related field outside of psychology. Even industrial–organizational psychologists, despite much faster-than-average employment growth, are expected to face competition for positions due to the large number of qualified graduates. Industrial-organizational psychologists with extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science may have a competitive edge.

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find work in other fields such as business administration, sales, or education. However, they may be able to find work in the field of psychology as assistants.

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