According to the National Institutes of Health, almost one in every five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. Moreover, mental health problems are part of the top causes of disabilities reported in the U.S. and other established market economies.

Given the many cases of mental health issues that are being reported today, it makes sense why psychology careers are becoming more lucrative these days. If you are aspiring to be a psychologist, however, you should not just pick any psychology career. Although all careers in psychology are great, there are those that are more rewarding and lucrative, and this article brings to you the top five:

Psychiatry

If you want to be a psychologist as well as a medical doctor, then psychiatry should be your first choice. A psychiatrist is basically a licensed doctor trained in mental health. As a psychiatrist, you can use your knowledge and expertise to diagnose, treat and prevent mental disorders. You can also come up with treatment plans for your patients, which may involve prescribing medications. Generally, psychiatrists work in different clinical settings, such as private practices, hospitals, prisons, addiction rehabilitation centers, and psychiatric institutions.

Although it takes about 12 years to become a licensed psychiatrist, it’s totally worth it. As of April 2021, a psychiatrist in the U.S. earns an average of $266,474 per year.

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology

If you’d like to work in the corporate world as a psychologist to help companies become more productive, then you should consider becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist. These professionals usually use their knowledge and skills in human behavior and general psychology to understand and influence employee behavior to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

Many corporations and small businesses are hiring I/O psychologists to conduct employee assessments and make sure the hiring process is efficient. They’re also using them to make sound recommendations about the best practices on employee morale, performance, and productivity. As of April 2021, the average annual salary for an I/O psychologist is $116, 471.

Social psychology

If you’re looking for a career that helps people directly and also society at large, you can consider how to become a social worker, or take it a step further and become a social psychologist. Social psychology is a great psychology career choice if you are interested in helping various demographics of people within society. This particular career choice comes with the opportunity to influence policy-making that can help politicians better understand the perspectives of their constituents. 

Social psychologists are some of the most impactful people in society as they help businesses handle conflicts better, assist organizations and individuals in reducing pollution and provide other services that help policymakers find solutions to real-world problems.

Essentially, a social psychologist specializes in studying how social influence, perception, and interaction affect group and individual behavior, and that’s why they help solve many issues in different aspects of society. Currently, the average salary for a social psychologist is $79,768.

Neuropsychology

There are those people who are often fascinated by the inner workings of the human brain and human behavior. If you’re one of those people, then you should sign up for a bachelor’s degree in psychology or biology psychology and study your way to this profession. After the bachelor’s degree, you have to complete a master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology, and a doctoral program in neuropsychology to become a neuropsychologist.

Neuropsychologists usually study the relationships between human behavior and the brain. More precisely, the neuropsychologists make assessments to characterize cognitive and behavioral changes resulting from a central nervous system problem, such as Parkinson’s disease. The average salary for a neuropsychologist today is $126,217 per year.

Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists are mental health experts who diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. These professionals often employ psychological techniques to help their clients handle or overcome their illnesses or disorders, such as psychoanalytic therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

To be a clinical psychologist, you need to get a Psy. D or Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In your practice, you can work with group settings or individuals to provide treatment in hospitals, private practices, mental health clinics, inpatient or outpatient care centers, and schools.

As of April 2021, a clinical psychologist earns an average annual salary of $107,167.

If you want to play a role in reducing the rising rates of emotional and mental illnesses globally, such as depression, stress, anxiety, and neurodegenerative conditions and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, you can start by becoming a professional in the field of psychology. As you make your career choices, however, keep the specializations above in mind because they’re the most rewarding and lucrative today.

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