For this Forum, in your Initial Post you will share with your classmates your observations from your research on Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology as subspecialties and career options.
Please be sure to address BOTH subspecialties in your response to each question. Points will be deducted if both subspecialties are not clearly and separately addressed.
1) After researching these areas, do you find them to be career possibilities you are interested in or careers that don’t capture your interest? Why or why not?
2) What is at least one thing you learned about each of the two subspecialties that you did not previously know?
3) Describe a “real-world” application for each of the two subspecialties. How could knowledge gained through the pursuit of each subspecialty help us to understand everyday problems, dilemmas, or situations? Note: your answer does not have to be specific to psychology as a field. Think broadly; psychological principles can apply to many different fields.
Experimental Psychology is viewed more as a methodological approach to psychology, rather than as a subject. In the past Experimental psychologists basically conducted research, wrote and published articles, worked in academic settings, where they would teach classes on memory, learning, consciousness, etc. Lately, they focus on topics, such as motivation and social psychology. would study multiple topics, which includes an extensive range. Some examples of topics studied include memory, language, communication, perception, motivation, and learning.
Wilhelm Wundt is responsible for Experimental Psychology emerging as an academic discipline, during the 19th century. In 1879, he founded the Institute for Experimental Psychology at the University of Leipzig, in Germany. Some of the earlier experimental psychologists include Herman Ebbinghaus and Edward Titchener, who used introspection, as an experimental method.
There are a variety of career opportunities at the undergraduate level. However, most positions will be entry level, with few responsibilities. The majority of the responsibilities will be clerical, supervised activities, and data input. A graduate degree will provide more career opportunities, with increased autonomy and responsibility. Geographic location and region is a significant factor, regarding job availability and salaries.
Let’s discuss a few of the job opportunities with a Bachelor’s degree. One example of a career is Insurance Underwriter. Psychology majors possess a rock-solid liberal arts background, savvy computer skills, quantitative abilities. The role of an insurance underwriter is to assess the risk of loss, appropriate premium rate, and then to write the insurance policy. The services are provided to individuals and companies. The employment outlook for underwriters is not robust. The expectation is that the job will slowly decline through 2018 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). In 2011, the median salary for an assistant underwriter was $38,041, life insurance planners were $42,882, and $45,828 for property and casualty planners (Salary.com, 2011).
Two similar careers requiring a Bachelor’s degree are Computer Programmer and Computer Support Specialist. Computer programmers are responsible for writing computer instructions. They also test and debug computer systems to maintain functionality. The average entry-level programmer’s salary was $54,074, in 2011 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). A Computer Support Specialist tasks include providing technical assistance to users of hardware, software, and computer systems. They address inquiries from users; determine and solve problems; which may involve installing, modifying, cleaning, and repairing computer hardware and software, systems. US News and World Report (2010) has given Computer Support Specialists a rating of a top occupation. Psychology majors’ skills with computers, interpersonal skills, and communication skills are valuable, with careers involving computer support. The median salary for a help-desk technician is $45,497 and for a technical support analyst the median salary is $49,195 (Salary.com, 2011).
The graduate degree offers more advance career opportunities. One example of a career opportunity is an Operations Research Analyst. Operations research or management science takes a scientific approach, when analyzing problems. The Operations Research Analyst uses mathematics, statistics, and computer science to quantify situations and make appropriate decisions. The median salary for an Operations Research Analyst was $69,000 in 2008 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). A career as a Financial Analyst uses the extensive background of statistics, provided by a graduate education in experimental psychology, quantitative psychology, and cognitive psychology. They provide services to financial organizations, such as banks, insurance companies, pension, and mutual funds. In 2008, the median yearly salary of Financial Analysts was $73,150 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
Forensic or Legal Psychology has become more familiar, in recent years, due to several popular television shows, such as Criminal Minds and Profile. Forensic Psychology merges or integrates psychology and law. Forensic Psychology applies clinical psychology to a forensic setting. The clinical skills are involved in assessment, treatment, and evaluation to a forensic (crime) setting. A forensic psychologist is would be any psychologist, who works in the legal system. The psychologist is more likely to be trained, as a graduate-level clinical or counseling psychologist.
The job opportunities offered with a bachelor’s degree include police officer, correctional officer, probation/parole officer, and forensic science technician. Let’s look at the job of a forensic science technician. They work closely with law enforce agencies investigating crime scenes and analyzing crime scene evidence. The median salary in 2006 was $49,857 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). Forensic Science is a growing field and job growth is predicted. The primary disadvantage of this career is job stress, resulting from law enforcement tasks, high caseloads, and exposure to evidence, which extremely disturbing, emotionally.
An individual with a Graduate degree have numerous opportunities, in both psychology and law. Clinicians provide a variety of services, such as completing forensic assessments, providing offenders with treatment, and assisting law enforcement officers. The area of Correctional Psychology is focused on the prison population. This area of Forensic Psychology is expected to grow, due to the increasing prison population. Master’s-level psychology holders in clinical and counseling psychology provide treatment for offenders. In 2009, the median salary was $45,000 (Finno & Kohout, 2010). Doctorate-level psychology holders are involved in the rehabilitative aspects of the offender. They develop specialized programs for the offenders and then evaluate their effectiveness. The starting salary for doctorate-level graduates is $62,000 (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, n.d.)
A Forensic Examiner conducts forensic examinations. In criminal cases, they may be tasked with determining the offender’s ability and competence to stand trial. They are also involved in noncriminal cases. Some of the noncriminal forms of involvement include child custody evaluations and personal injury assessments. To qualify to conduct forensic evaluations, the individual must be trained in psychological assessment. Many Forensic Examiners work in private practice and state institutions, such as secure facilities, which includes community-based mental health centers and hospitals.
For summary information about the work of Experimental Psychologists, click these links.
Degrees in Experimental Psychology
Careers and Education in Experimental Psychology
Experimental Psychology – You Tube
For summary information about the work of Forensic Psychologists, click these links.
Degrees in Forensic Psychology
Careers and Education in Experimental Psychology
What is a Forensic Psychologist? YouTube