Career opportunities for women in the field of psychology have significantly increased in the last few decades, and more women are entering the field as well. While only around 30 percent of PhDs in psychology were awarded to women in 1970, that number has jumped to 75 percent in 2010. Below are some of the best psychology careers that women can pursue.
Of all the subfields of psychology, this is probably the one that most closely resembles what many people think of when they consider the profession of psychology. Clinical psychologists work with all different types of people with conditions ranging from depression to schizophrenia and more. Clinical psychologists do not just work in hospitals or private practices. They might be found in schools,working with social services or in other environments. They might also specialize in specific populations such as youths or families. Growth in this field is expected to be higher than average over the next decade.
Forensic psychologists work within the legal system. Their jobs may range from deciding whether someone is competent to stand trial to selecting police officers to studying how the criminal mind is formed and thinks. Forensic psychologists might also serve as expert witnesses in a trial. Although forensic psychology is growing rapidly, it has fewer women in it than some other subfields of psychology. This means it could use some pioneering women to diversify the field.
Women in this field of psychology, which focuses on the workplace, may end up in human resources or as management consultants among other specialties. They might design certain workplace training modules or might coach executives. This field was actually pioneered by a woman, Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who was an efficiency expert along with her husband in the early part of the 20th century. Industrial psychologists may work in the private sector or for the government, and their pay scale may be upwards of $75,000-$80,000. This is both one of the fastest-growing fields in psychology and one of the highest-paying.
Neuropsychology studies the brain, and neuropsychologists may work with people who have brain injuries. This field focus on the physical structure of the brain and draws from other, related fields such as cognitive science and neuroscience. Neuropsychology is one of the subfields that is expected to see significant growth in the years ahead. It is also one of the highest-paying career areas in psychology.
Developmental psychology is a field in flux, and that can make it an exciting place in which to work. Long focused on child development, as the population ages, there is an increasing focus on aging including helping people live independent lives for the longest period of time possible. A growing area sometimes known as geropsychology falls under this and looks at the needs of an aging population. It is also one of the fields that pays well and is poised for a great deal of growth in the years ahead. Its focus may range from end-of-life care to work on grief issues, caregiving issues, managing chronic illness, dementia and depression among other areas. A strong sense of empathy is a particular strength in this area of psychology.
With the presence of women in the field of psychology on the rise, there are also many opportunities for women’s networking and mentoring. Since the growth of women in the field has been so recent, faculty appointments have not yet caught up with the number of women students pursuing psychology, but it is expected that in the years to come, it along with the other career paths in psychology will reflect the talented and committed women pursuing this discipline.