What is an Applied Psychology Degree Program?
An applied psychology degree focuses on teaching you how to relate basic psychological practices (theories, principals, methods and techniques) to your everyday life. In other words, the purpose is to apply these practices to various situations (both at home and at the workplace). A degree in applied psychology gives you an opportunity to work with psychologists in a variety of different settings (treatment centers, social service agencies, businesses, manufacturing and distribution centers, colleges, hospitals and clinics, etc.).
It normally takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology, although it can take much longer if you want to obtain a master’s degree or doctorate in the field. If you wondering what you can do with a degree in applied psychology – this article can help you. Listed below are some helpful suggestions of how to best utilize an applied psychology degree.
What Type of Classes Do Applied Psychologists Need?
Applied psychology training depends on what field of psychology you enter. For instance, if you decide to pursue a career in family psychology, you may be required to take courses in family relationships, sociology, human development, child and family relationships, marital counseling, family counseling, counseling theories, research methods, etc., while on-the-other-hand, if you decide to pursue a degree in clinical psychology, you may be required to take courses in abnormal psychology, counseling theories, child psychopathology, cognitive behavior therapy, research methods, psychological assessments and family counseling.
Most undergraduate applied psychology programs take at least four years to complete. If you decide to further your education, it will take an additional two and a half years to earn a master’s degree and an additional five to seven years to obtain a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D). Moreover, depending on your specialty, you may be required to complete an internship and/or obtain licensure and/or certification before using your degree to seek employment.
Applied Psychology Degree Careers
You can become a forensic psychologist with a degree in applied psychology. With this degree you will primarily work within the criminal justice system. Your main tasks will be to determine whether or not a defendant is legally responsible for his/her actions during a crime. In other words, you are mandated by law to give an expert testimony on whether the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime.
You will also be responsible for handling any legal and competency issues that may arise during the course of a trial. It is important to note that you may be required to work with rapist, murders, child abusers and/or mentally ill defendants. You may also be asked to help select jurors for the trials. Ultimately, your main task will consist of analyzing the mind of an offender in order to determine if he/she is a threat to society.
You can also use your doctorate in applied psychology to enter the business world. With a degree in applied psychology, you will be able to work at a company as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Your main tasks will be to analyze employee attitudes, morale, satisfaction and behaviors. In other words, you will work with a company to improve employee performance and increase company revenue.
Another field you can enter into with an applied psychology doctoral degree is clinical psychology. In fact, clinical psychology is the most popular career choice in the mental health field. Your main task will be to provide services (treatments) to individuals, children, families, couples and groups who are experiencing psychological distress. You may treat people with psychological disorders like depression, phobia, anxiety disorders and/or schizophrenia.
If you have a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in applied psychology degree, you can seek employment in the educational field as an educational psychologist. The majority of your time will be devoted to studying how people learn. You will more than likely be located at an educational setting (elementary, middle school, high school and/or college/university) and your main tasks will be to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom curriculum and educational interventions and develop educational programs to improve the learning experience for students.
You will also be able to use your applied science degree to teach college-level educational psychology courses. These courses will consist of cognitive-behavioral psychology principles, theories, methods and techniques.
If you have a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in applied psychology, you may also become a health psychologist. If you decide to pursue this career with your degree, you will use your expertise to analyze the relationship between genetics, environment and personal choices to get a better understanding on how these factors influence health and well-being.
You will primarily work with a team of psychological and medical professionals in a clinical setting, although you may also be required to supervise health-related research studies and/or teach health-related college courses and training modules. Your main goal will be to help people improve the quality of their lives by teaching them how to make better lifestyle choices.
An employer may hire you as a sport psychologist, if you have a doctorate in sports psychology. Your main tasks will be to examine factors that may be affecting an athlete’s performance (endurance, tolerance, team participation and/or physical activity). You will also examine the athlete’s mental processes and address any issues that appear to be hindering him/her from doing his/her best.
Your main goal will be to get the athlete to focus on winning; not on personal issues. You will also be responsible for treating athletes with emotional distress and/or psychological disorders. In other words, you will teach athletes how to block out negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones.
References & Further Readings
- Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2009). Applied psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology
- American Psychological Association. (2013). Careers in Psychology
- Franklin University. (2013). Applied Psychology Degree Program
- Davy, G. C. (2011). Applied Psychology. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Muchinsky, P. M. (2008). Psychology Applied to Work: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Hypergraphic Press.