According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Handbook, the field of Professional Psychology is expected to grow 12 percent between now and 2022. The BLS considers this rate of growth “as fast as average” growth. This rate includes Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists. There are, however, some areas of Psychology that are seeing higher than average rates of growth.
Industrial / Organizational Psychologists
The area seeing the greatest amount of growth overall is Industrial / Organizational Psychologists. The BLS predicts a whopping 53 percent growth rate between 2012 and 2022. These psychologists are employed by businesses and organizations to help in the hiring process, to improve ways to maintain employees, increase employee productivity and improve overall office morale.
The rapidly changing medical industry will likely lead to significantly increasing needs for Health Psychologists. These professional will be ready to work alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to better provide patients with comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatments. In addition to treating psychological and behavioral issues, these professional psychologists will be required to work on teams to develop or administer prevention or wellness programs.
As the Baby Boomer Generation reaches retirement age, the United States will see a huge increase in the elderly population. As a result, the field of Geriatric Psychology (or Geropsychology) will likely see a similar increase in positions available. These psychologists focus on the psychological, emotional, and physical issues faced by the elderly population. This can include researching and evaluating various problems that may occur as an individual matures toward the end of life.
One more area seeing significant growth is Neuropsychology. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than two million people in the United States suffer a brain injury each year. An article published by the American Psychological Association titled “Psychology Job Forecast: Partly Sunny” outlined the growing demand for neuropsychologists, who will evaluate and treat these victims of stroke, dementia and traumatic brain injuries. Another factor helping move the field of Neuropsychology along are the advances in brain imaging which give Neuropsychologists more information about the brain and its processes than ever before.
As the field of Professional Psychology sees stiffer competition from less qualified mental health professionals, the rate of job growth is not as high as in the past. This does not mean that the field of Psychology is suffering. What is being experienced, instead, is a shift from traditional paths in Psychology to new and evolving sub-fields. With these specialty areas growing in numbers, there are more and more graduate training programs offering specialized degrees in these areas. This means that those people who want to pursue a career in Psychology but fear for not finding a job, there are a number of Specialty Areas within Professional Psychology that are increasing every year.