Unconventional careers in the psychology field


Hannah Gabel, Staff Writer


When it comes to the field of psychology, students are constantly told that there is a broad range of possibilities and fields they can go into. Psychology students mainly go into one of two areas: research or counseling. Students that have a compassionate nature or really like people might have a strong interest in counseling, or if they appreciate the neurological side and learning about human behavior and brain functions, they might enjoy the research side of psychology. Perhaps they want to study or help people, which is not a problem.Those fields typically require further education, such as a masters or doctorate, which means more studying and more money are necessary to attain those degrees. There are also the cases that perhaps a student finds they want to explore some of the lesser-known areas of psychology, but might not know where to even start.

The good thing is that psychology is a rather broad field, and some simple research can bring up a myriad of career options students can look into if they find they do not want to go into the typical counseling or research-based paths.

For individuals that find they have a strong love for animals, there is a surprising demand for animal psychology fields. In this area, people could open obedience classes for training dogs, which could include working with nervous and anxious older dogs that are ‘at risk’ for aggression problems. Classical conditioning is a large part of dog behavior training to positively correlate commands so the dog will want to obey. This area does not usually require a degree as long as the individual has a strong knack for working with animals and demonstrates legitimate knowledge of the subject. Yet, it is a good idea to go for an individual, yearlong course in learning animal cognition and behaviors.

Other animal psychology-based fields include zoo psychology, where psychologists analyze the zoo habitats for the animals to ensure that they are truly getting what they need and are content, and if not, coming up with solutions to help them. There are also exotic animal specialists that focus on studying a specific type of animal, their functions and behaviors, and using their research to educate others about those animals as well.

However, if the individual has a preference for more intensive, investigative, or criminology based work, there are plenty of fields that a psychology major could go into for that area. While it is not like the movies make it out to be, forensic psychology is still an exciting field to go into. Other criminology-based fields include being a police detective or a private investigator. Becoming a private investigator only requires a high school diploma, but having an added bachelors in psychology will help make a person’s resume stand out. There is also criminal psychology which studies the different thoughts, reactions, and mindsets that can lead to criminal behavior.

Other uncommon career paths for psychology majors can be in fields such as film studies, where they analyze the lighting, angles, and themes of movies and how small changes can make larger impacts when creating a movie. Also, how to maximize the most meaning out of each camera shot. Art or music therapy are other options if people want to go into counseling fields that isn’t just psychotherapy. There is even a field of parapsychology, where researchers study the effects of telekinesis, psychokinesis, and extrasensory perception.

Depending on the fields one might choose to go into, having the right accompanying degrees can help students maximize their education to be able to pursue their career paths effectively. If a student wants to go into an animal-based career, having a secondary major or minor in biology or anatomy could be extremely useful, as well as interning at animal therapy or behavior locations to gain experience. Likewise, someone wanting to pursue a criminology based career would do well pairing a psychology degree with a criminal justice major, or sometimes a social work degree.

Looking into future careers and personal interests will really help to determine not only accompanying degrees or minors, but also where that person should look to get further experience with internships and get them planning earlier on how to pursue their future career goals.


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