As the field of psychology continues to grow due to necessity and popularity, it is also diversifying. Future psychological professionals have a great many more degree programs to choose from as a result of there being more career paths to chose from. One of the most recently established degree programs is applied psychology. In order to fully understand this subfield, and identify whether or not it is the right degree program for you, here is an overview of the differences between an applied psychology degree and a regular psychology degree.
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Definition of Applied Psychology
Applied psychologists are individuals who have learned basic psychological principles, theories, and techniques in order to apply them to other fields. Many people say that psychology is in everything. This could not be truer. Whether we realize it or not, as long as we think and feel, act on those thoughts and feelings, interact with other people, sleep, learn, speak, and make decisions, we are undergoing the very processes that psychologists spend their careers studying. The fact that we are universally united under psychology is perhaps why it has become such a common field of study. However, many graduates were finding it difficult to translate their regular psychology degrees into careers within other fields. This is why applied psychology came along.
Definition of Other Types of Psychology
When pursuing regular degrees in psychology, students also learn about psychological principles, theories, and techniques. However, they predominantly learn how to apply these within the narrow scope of the field of psychology itself. In experimental or research psychology, they learn how to research new psychological ideas and novel applications of old ones. In clinical psychology, they learn various ways to apply psychological knowledge to the treatment of individuals struggling with mental illnesses and other emotional and cognitive problems.
Regular psychology degrees limit graduates to careers within private practice, psychiatric facilities, and other clinical mental health settings. These are fantastic options for those interested in these careers. Applied psychological opens doors to other careers for those wishing to apply psychology to the wider community. The American Psychological Association explains why applied psychology careers such as the below are gaining in both popularity and prevalence within modern society.
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Assisting businesses and organizations with achieving best practices in areas such as human resources, management, and workplace satisfaction.
- Forensic Psychology: improving the efficiency of agencies and individuals within the criminal justice and legal systems and the wellbeing of the people served and impacted by these systems.
- Sports Psychology: helping individual athletes, teams, and leagues enhance performance and maintain physiological and emotional health under strain and stress of physical exertion and a competitive environment.
- Educational Psychology: working with schools and other educational institutions to revitalize curriculum, policies, and procedures to maximize learning, increase academic achievement, and develop extracurricular programs.
Many people are fascinated by psychology but hesitate to pursue a degree because they do not see themselves as psychologists in the traditional sense. If being the next Sigmund Freud is not for you, but you love learning about psychology, consider earning a degree in applied psychology. It is the perfect way to apply psychology to a field in which you dream of building a career.