BEYOND THE B.A.:
AREAS OF SPECIALTY TRAINING
my options after the B.A.?
The Psychology major: you can take your knowledge
of psychology and apply it in any setting that involves people interacting.
The analytical skills prepare you for broad-based work applications, while
the feeling and interpersonal skills prepare you for social interaction. The ability to appreciate
complexity is a valuable characteristic. To advance professionally in the field of psychology, you'll need more
training. This career center website gives information on careers, salaries, the job market, etc. The American Psychological Association's student
website gives students more information on careers,
and training in psychology. A new Psychology resource website: www.allpsychologycareers.com.
APA has collected data in 2003 comparing degrees in Psychology (BA, MA, PhD) with work activities; work settings; and employment status. They offer information on positions and salaries with Master's degrees and with doctoral degrees. They also have interesting information on degrees by gender and race and ethnicity.
See this Board of Behavioral Sciences site for 2007 data on numbers of California licensed Master's level therapists, social workers, and educational psychologists. This pdf from the California Board of Psychology lists the number of licensed psychologists in each county in California in 2008.
I get more training in Psychology?
Training usually means graduate work in the field of psychology.
This can occur at either the Master’s (M.A., M.S., M.S.W.) or Doctoral
(Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D.) level. It can occur in a variety of fields in psychology.
Certificate programs also offer documented training in specialized areas
of psychology; they are independent of educational degrees at the Master's
and Doctoral levels.
What graduate programs offer training in psychology?
See the following sites for organized information on programs in psychology across the US. For grad programs in Psychology and all related fields, see this site or this site. For a listing of Psychology graduate programs and admission requirements, see this site. For a listing of clinical and counseling programs and related career information, see this site.
give me the best chances of getting a good job?
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that
clinical, counseling, school, health, organizational, and educational
psychology offer the most job openings. The highest paid and greatest
range of jobs in psychology are available to Ph.D. graduates, even though
fewer new doctorates today are able to get university teaching jobs (as
they have traditionally done in the past). See
the APA's website for the data from the 2003 survey on occupations and salaries of Doctoral level and Master's level
practitioners, sorted into many interesting categories. Also see this Board of Behavioral Sciences site for 2007 data on numbers of California licensed Master's level therapists, social workers, and educational psychologists.
some of the training specialties in Psychology?
There are many different areas; the following is a partial
list and description. Much of this information is taken from the American
Psychological Association Website, www.apa.org.
Remember that you can also go into other areas (Education, Sociology,
Criminal Justice, Business, Women's Studies, Social Work, Theology) and
use your Psychology skills and expertise.
The best way to find out more about training opportunities
in the field in which you're interested is to conduct an internet search
with the keywords of your interest area, in addition to "Master's"
Art therapy uses the modalities of art expression to work in a therapeutic
way with others. For more information see the section on Creative Arts
Dame de Namur University and Loyola
Marymount University offer a Master's in Marital and Family Therapy
with an Art Therapy emphasis. California Institute of Integral Studies
offers a Master's in Counseling with an Expressive
Arts Therapy emphasis. Naropa Institute offers an M.A. in Transpersonal Counseling with an Art Therapy emphasis.
Clinical psychologists assess and treat people who need psychological
help. They may act as therapists for people experiencing normal crises
(such as a change of job or the breakup of a relationship) or for people
suffering from chronic psychiatric disorders (such as schizophrenia or
antisocial personality disorder). They may specialize in psychological
testing and assessment, in educational testing, research, forensic work,
or divorce and child custody work. Some are generalists who work with
a wide variety of populations, while others work with specific groups,
such as children and the elderly, or specific problem areas, such as domestic
violence or mediation.
Clinical psychologists have a Doctoral degree (a Ph.D.,
Psy.D., or Ed. D.), are trained in universities or professional schools,
and have undergone extensive predoctoral and postdoctoral internship trainings.
They work in school settings, colleges and universities, counseling centers,
community clinics, hospitals, prisons, and private practice. San
Francisco State offers a Master's in Clinical Psychology. See the
vs Psy.D. website for more information. See also Counseling Psychology.
Cognitive Psychology explores how the mind works, how we understand our
experience, and it offers models for understanding our cognitive functioning.
Cognitive psychology is directly involved in the study of perception,
motivation, emotion, categorization, stereotyping, learning, information
processing, decision-making, and all levels of human behavior. Most cognitive
psychologists teach and do research in colleges and universities. Many
clinical and counseling psychologists are cognitive in their orientation.
Community Psychology studies how the individual acts and interacts with
and within a community. It is usually oriented toward practical applications,
interventions, program design, and research, and usually seeks to strengthen
human services within a community. Most community psychologists teach
and do research in colleges and universities. It is sometimes a component
of doctoral work in clinical psychology.
Counseling psychologists do many of the things that clinical psychologists
do. However, their training is oriented more toward school, career, and
life choices, and less toward psychological assessment. Counseling psychologists
tend to focus more on persons with adjustment problems rather than on
persons suffering from severe psychological disorders, and to be more
comfortable in advising and directing a client. They may be trained in
Psychology Departments, Counseling Departments, or in Schools of Education.
They work in academic settings, community mental health centers, religious
settings, and in private practice.
Sonoma State, San Francisco State, and St. Mary's offer a Master's in Counseling. San
Jose State offers a Master's in Education with emphases in school counseling
or adult counseling, San
Francisco State offers a Master's in Clinical Psychology, and Chico
State offers a Master's in Psychology with the M.F.T. option. Sacramento State offers an M.S. in Counseling with different emphases (career; community; school; marriage, child, family). John F. Kennedy offers a Master's in Counseling Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. See
Ph.D. vs Psy.D. website for more information. See also Clinical Psychology. For a complete listing of all gradaute programs in school counseling, see this site; or this site for career counseling; this site for marriage and family counseling; or this site for substance abuse counseling.
Creative Arts Therapy
Creative arts therapists unite therapeutic skills with a depth psychological
background in art practices. Master’s programs build on training
in disciplines such as studio art, dance and movement, music, drama, or
poetry. The goal is to provide psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic
services within the full range of educational and clinical settings. By
focusing on imagination, creativity, and metaverbal processes, creative
arts therapists provide a unique approach to the special needs of children,
adults, families, and groups. Expressive arts therapists combine psychology
with a multimodal use of the arts.
Dame de Namur University and Loyola
Marymount University offer a Master's in Marital and Family Therapy
with an Art Therapy emphasis. California Institute of Integral Studies
offers a Master's in Counseling with a choice of Expressive
Arts Therapy or Drama
Therapy emphasis. John F. Kennedy University offers a Master's in Transformative Arts.
Depth psychology is a study of Jungian and archetypal psychology. It is
an interdisciplinary field that includes study in cross-cultural folklore
and mythology, anthropology, archaeology, literature, art, and religion.
Depth psychologists might be psychotherapists, teachers, ministers, or
group leaders, or they may work in any field where they are able to apply
a depth psychological perspective. Psychotherapists trained in Jungian
psychological methods and techniques at specified training centers are
called Jungian analysts.
State offers a Master's degree in Depth Psychology, and Pacifica Graduate
Institute offers Master's and doctoral programs in Depth
Psychology and Mythological
Developmental psychologists study how we develop intellectually, socially,
and emotionally over the lifespan. Most developmentalists focus on childhood
or adolescence, though there is also a rapidly growing field of adult
development. Developmental psychologists usually do research and teach
in academic settings, but they may also act as consultants to day care
centers, schools, or social service agencies.
Jose State has a Master's program in Child and Adolescent Development,
and San Francisco State has a
Master's program in Developmental Psychology.
This is a new interdisciplinary field of psychology that explores the
relationship between ecology and individuals. Ecopsychology might examine
how an ecosystem influences the well-being of its inhabitants, or how
a community behaves toward the natural world. It is a developing field.
Ecopsychologists might be therapists, environmental activists, teachers,
or community organizers, and they might style themselves as activists
to bring positive change to a community’s ecological policies.
Institute offers a Master's in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology
with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy, as well as an online
Master's in Transpersonal Psychology with an Ecopsychology emphasis.
John F. Kennedy offers a certificate in Ecotherapy.
Educational psychologists study learning, and the materials and strategies
for improving the learning process. For example, an educational psychologist
might study reading and then develop a new technique for teaching reading.
They are also trained in educational assessment within the school setting,
and they work with teachers to devise effective learning programs for
gifted, challenged, and disabled students. They're typically trained in
Schools of Education and employed in schools, colleges, and universities.
Jose State offers a Master's in Education with emphases in school
counseling or adult counseling, as well as in Child Development, with a focus on elementary school teaching. UC
Davis offers a Master's and a doctorate in Education with an emphasis
in Psychological Studies. See also School Psychology. For a complete listing of all gradaute programs in school counseling, see this site, or this site for educational counseling; or this sitee for educational psychology.
Environmental psychologists study how the individual and the group influence
the environment, and how the environment influences the individual and
the group. The environment could be as small as a dim classroom with artificial
lighting, to something as large as the ecosystem in Borneo. Environmental
psychologists might assess how a neighborhood project to plant trees influences
the well-being of its community, as well as how the design of airport
furniture facilitates the travel experience. Environmental psychologists
generally work in universities, teaching and doing research, and also
act as consultants to public policy agencies, public housing agencies,
land use and natural resource management agencies, and architectural and
interior design firms. CUNY New York has a doctoral program in Environmental Psychology.
Forensic Psychologists study how psychology applies to the legal world.
Forensic psychologists study criminal behavior, conflict resolution, divorce
and custody disputes, and testify in courts as expert witnesses. Forensic
psychologists are often clinical psychologists, though they need not be, and training may be done
in Psychology Departments. Some forensic psychologists obtain a J.D. degree
and may practice as an attorney.
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology offers a Master's in Forensic and Correctional Mental Health Psychology. UC Irvine offers a doctoral degree in Psychology and Law through the doctoral programs in Psychology and Social Behavior or the program in Criminology, Law and Society. Alliant
University offers a doctoral program in Forensic psychology
at the Psy.D. (clinical) level at a number of their campuses. See this site for a complete listing of graduate programs in forensic psychology.
Health psychologists are interested in health and illness, and how biological,
psychological, and social factors affect it. They may design and conduct
programs to help individuals stop smoking, lose weight, manage stress,
and stay physically fit. They're employed in hospitals, medical schools,
rehabilitation centers, public health agencies, academic settings, and
private practice. They may have trained in a research Doctoral program
with a specialty in health psychology, or they may be clinical psychologists
with a focus on health psychology. Behavioral medicine is a closely linked
field of health psychology, in which practitioners (psychologists, doctors,
nurses, therapists, health care workers) work with the area between illness,
medicine, and optimum health.
UC Irvine offers a doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in Health Psychology. The University
of Wisconsin at Milwaukee offers a Master's in Health Psychology. John F. Kennedy University offers a Master's in Holistic Health Education.
This is an interdisciplinary field which includes the discipline of developmental
psychology, and that explores the contextual influences on human development.
A human development expert might focus on family systems, social influences
on childrearing, media influences on gender behavior, or personality influences
on health and aging. Human Development graduate programs often offer good
options for Psychology majors. Human development specialists usually teach
and do research within a Human Development clinic or specialty area, teach
in universities and colleges, consult to health care centers and facilities
for the aging, and in schools for young children.
Humanistic psychologists study how to increase the potential of persons
and groups. They are often interested in creativity, spirituality, intuition,
body-mind integration, and maximum functioning. They might work with artistic
expression, do body work or massage, engage in drama therapy, work with
imagery in physical performance, design a learning curriculum, or enhance
a meditation practice. They work as teachers, consultants, body workers,
therapists, community activists, and change agents.
John F. Kennedy University offers a Master's in Integral Psychology. Sonoma State offers a Master's in Psychology with a Depth Psychology emphasis,
and a Master's in Organization Development.
Industrial / organizational psychologists are primarily concerned with
the relationships between people and their work environments. They're
interested in improving productivity and the quality of work life, and
so they may conduct organizational assessments, provide trainings, develop
employee change programs, and implement change strategies in organizations.
They may be one-time consultants to an organization, be employed full-time
within an organization as a change consultant, or be involved in personnel
and management. Organizational psychologists work in business, government
agencies, and academic settings, and as independent consultants, and design
and implement programs as well as conduct research.
Sonoma State offers a Master's program in Organization Development. Alliant offers both Master's and doctoral degrees in organizational psychology at a number of their campuses. San
Jose State and San Francisco
State offer a Master's in Psychology with an emphasis in Organizational
Personality Psychology is the study of the personality: what it is, how
it's motivated, how it's measured, how it develops, how it changes depending
on context and social circumstance. Personality areas are often merged
with Social Psychology areas in Psychology departments around the country.
Personality psychologists are usually employed in colleges, universities,
and medical centers, where they teach and do research. They may also be
employed by private and academic testing and assessment centers, where
they design, conduct, and report on psychological assessment.
Physiological psychologists study the physiology of behavior. They study
both very basic processes (how brain cells function) and more apparent
behaviors (how drug use affects behavior, how genetics influences psychiatric
disorders). Most physiological psychologists are employed in academic
or medical settings, where they teach and conduct research. In addition,
neuro-psychologists explore the relationships between brain systems and
“Professional counseling is the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. The primary purpose of counseling is to empower the client to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience personal growth, and make well-informed, rational decisions.” (U.S. Dept. of Human Services, Mental Health, United States, 2002)
“Licensed professional counselors (or in some states, “licensed clinical professional counselors” or “licensed mental health counselors”) provide mental health and substance abuse care to millions of Americans. Licensed professional counselors (LPC's) are master’s level mental health service providers, trained to work with individuals, families, and groups in treating mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders. LPCs make up a large percentage of the workforce employed in community health centers, agencies, and organizations, and are employed within and covered by managed care organizations and health plans. LPCs work with active duty military personnel and their families, as well as veterans.” (American Counseling Association, Who Are Licensed Professional Counselors)
LPC's: “The practice of professional counseling includes, but is not limited to, the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, including addictions; psycho educational techniques aimed at the prevention of such disorders; consultation to individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations; and research into more effective therapeutic treatment modalities. Counselors’ training in the provision of counseling and therapy includes the etiology of mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and the provision of the established, research-based “talk therapies” of cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic therapy. Counselors’ education and training is oriented toward the adoption of a truly client-centered, approach to therapy.” (American Counseling Association, Who Are Professional Counselors)
Counseling Specialization: As in other professions, such as medicine and law, Professional Counselors meet requirements for the general practice of counseling and may develop an area of expertise to work with special populations or issues, requiring advanced knowledge that is documented by coursework, national certification or a state credential.
How Professional Counselors are Qualified: According to the American Counseling Association, more than 100,000 professional counselors are licensed or certified in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Professional counselor education and training standards for licensure are on par with those of the other two master’s level mental health providers – marriage and family therapists and clinical social workers. State licensure requirements for professional counselors typically include:
- Possession of a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, or a closely related degree, from a national or regionally-accredited institution of higher education, including an internship and coursework on human behavior and development, effective counseling strategies, ethical practice, and other core knowledge areas;
- Completion of a minimum of 3,000 hours of post-master’s supervised clinical experience, performed within two years, and periodic completion of continuing education credits/hours after obtaining licensure;
- Passage of the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and/or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
- Adherence to a strict Code of Ethics and recognized standards of practice, as regulated by the state’s counselor licensure board.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW LAW: Visit the CCCL website http://caccl.org/ to learn about the requirements for grandfathering, reciprocity, and regular LPCC licensure. Your questions are likely answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
Quantitative and measurement psychologists focus on the methods and techniques
for acquiring and analyzing psychological data. They often develop new
ways of classifying and organizing data. They are usually mathematically
oriented people who work in academic settings where they teach and conduct
Rehabilitation psychologists work with people who have disabilities to
assist them in reaching their goals and maximizing their potential. This
may involve working with stroke and accident victims, people with mental
retardation, and those with developmental disabilities caused by such
conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism. They work in medical,
clinical, and academic settings, usually doing applied, hands-on work,
and they also conduct research. San
Francisco State offers a Master's in Counseling with an emphasis program in Rehabilitation Counseling.
For a listing of all Rehabilitation Counseling programs, see this site.
This area includes a diverse group of psychologists who do research in
psychology, such as learning, memory, cognition, perception, motivation,
and language; and the areas of social psychology, cognitive psychology,
developmental psychology, and so on. Most of these psychologists do research
and work and teach in academic settings, or staff research psychologist
positions at research universities.
Students interested in gaining experience in research
often choose to obtain a Master's degree focusing on research from one
of the CSU campuses, such as San
Jose State, CSU
Long Beach, San Francisco
State and Chico
State. This is excellent preparation for doctoral work in psychology.
School psychologists work to improve the development of children in educational
settings. They assess children's psychological and learning abilities
and then recommend programs to help children learn at their optimal level.
They're typically trained in Schools of Education and work in public school
systems. They often act as consultants to parents, teachers, and administrators
to optimize the learning environments of students.
Jose State and Sacramento
State offer a Master's in Education with emphases in school counseling
or adult counseling. San
Francisco State offers a Master's in Psychology in School Psychology with a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential.
See also Educational Psychology.
Social psychologists study how our beliefs, feelings, and behaviors are
affected by other persons. Some topics of interest to social psychologists
are attitude formation and change, aggression, prejudice, group dynamics,
and interpersonal attraction. Most social psychologists work in academic
settings, but some work in federal agencies and businesses doing applied
Francisco State offers a Master's in Social Psychology.
Degrees in social work or social welfare emphasize community mental health by working with community organizations, community mental health groups, groups, and individuals. Licensed clinical social workers might work in program evaluation, program planning, community outreach, mental health planning, facilitate support groups and psychotherapy groups, and conduct individual psychotherapy. A degree in Social Work or Social Welfare is a good alternative to the Master's in counseling. There are M.S.W. programs at San
Francisco State, Sacramento
Berkeley, and a new distance-learning M.S.W. program at SSU through CSU Long Beach.
Somatic psychology is an integrated field of study that combines knowledge
from anatomy, physiology, health psychology, and biofeedback, as well
as approaches informed by eastern psychology, yoga, massage, meditation,
and body-mind practices. The field integrates knowledge as well as skills
in working with the body and body-mind. The California Institute of Integral Studies and John F. Kennedy University offer a Master's in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Somatic Psychology, and Naropa Institute offers a degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology. Santa
Barbara Graduate Institute offers a Master's and a doctorate in Somatic
Psychology, as well as a Master's and a doctorate in clinical psychology
with an emphasis in somatic psychology.
Sports psychologists help athletes improve their performance, their motivation,
and their thinking about their sport. They may help the athlete focus
on goals, work with images, and regulate fear and anxiety. They also study
how sport influences the development of the person. Sports Psychologists
are trained within Psychology or Kinesiology departments. Most sports
psychologists teach and conduct research within colleges or universities,
while only a small percentage work with directly with athletes in applied
settings. John F. Kennedy University offers a Master's in Sports Psychology.
Transpersonal psychologists are especially concerned with the spiritual
dimension of experience. They are interested in exploring how spirituality
influences experience, and how it can be developed and integrated in day-to-day
life. They often use spiritual methods and techniques from Eastern and
Native American traditions, and they seek to explore the unique qualities
of diverse spiritual practices. A transpersonal psychologist might be
a therapist or counselor, facilitate groups, consult to individuals in
crisis, and teach and conduct workshops. They are only beginning to work
in social service agencies and traditional mental health centers.
The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology offers a Master's program in
Transpersonal Psychology and Women's Spirituality. John F. Kennedy University's
School of Holistic Studies offers a variety of Master's programs in
different areas of transpersonal psychology, such as Consciousness
and Transformative Studies and Transformative Arts. California Institute of Integral Studies offers
programs in East-West
Psychology and Philosophy and Religion with concentrations in Women's
Spirituality and Philosophy,
Cosmology, and Consciousness.