What are the opportunities in the field of psychology

Psychology: an overview of 10 occupational fields

Psychologists are in demand on the job market - and many avenues are open to them. We present 10 professional fields - from clinics to website usability.

Text: Anne Klostermann and Bianca Vaterrodt

There is good news for graduates in psychology: there is a great need for well-trained psychologists. The unemployment rate for psychologists in 2015 was 2.4 percent lower than the unemployment rate among academics in general (2.6 percent) and significantly lower than the general unemployment rate in 2014 (6.8 percent). Here is an overview of the areas in which psychologists work:

Occupational area 1: Clinics and psychotherapeutic practices

According to the Federal Employment Agency, most psychologists work in the clinical sector, a large number of them as licensed psychological psychotherapists, but many also in the health sector without training in psychotherapy, as clinical neuropsychologists or in clinically oriented counseling. But not all graduates want to become a psychotherapist. For those who have different interests, the labor market offers different perspectives.

Occupational Area 2: Human Resources

Human resources psychologists often work in medium-sized to large companies. There they can be used, for example, in strategic and operational personnel development. Her activities include the preparation and implementation of employee and management surveys, the planning and evaluation of development measures (such as training), but also advising management. Another area of ​​application is the strategic and operative selection of personnel (for example the planning and implementation of assessment centers).

Occupational Area 3: Organizational Consulting

Organizational consultancy covers a wide range of organizational and personnel development services. This ranges from coaching executives and employees to communication and behavioral training, management consulting, assessment centers, leadership training, team development and strategic organizational development to accompanying change processes.

Occupational area 4: Occupational health and safety

Psychologists are also increasingly working in occupational health and safety in larger companies, for health or pension insurance companies or in federal ministries. They are used to carry out risk assessments, stress and strain analyzes for workplaces or to provide advice on questions of work design and ergonomics. But they are also involved in the planning and implementation of company interventions in the large area of ​​health prevention, company health promotion and health management.

Occupational area 5: Pedagogical-psychological area

There are also many different fields of activity in the educational-psychological area, be it in counseling centers, as learning therapists and in educational counseling. There are many points of overlap with work and organizational psychology, such as in activities that aim to optimize learning processes in companies, or in general in the area of ​​training and further education. There are also parallels to clinical psychology, for example in areas such as learning support and therapy.

Occupational Area 6: School Psychology

School psychologists are employed in the school psychology services of the federal states and advise everyone involved in the school system - starting with pupils, through parents, teachers and school administrators to school supervision. On the one hand, they provide advice on a case-by-case basis, for example in the event of acute problems. On the other hand, they also plan and implement intervention programs (for example to promote the acquisition of social skills) together with the counseling teachers and social workers at the schools.

Occupational area 7: Learning support and learning therapy

Another established area of ​​application is that of learning support and learning therapy. It is also offered by psychological counseling centers. Under certain circumstances, the costs are covered by the youth welfare offices within the framework of integration assistance. Often, however, it is a privately paid service that offers an exciting opportunity for self-employment in a private educational-psychological training practice.

Occupational Area 8: Legal Psychology

Legal psychologists work at the interface between psychology and law. You will be summoned by the courts as experts in family, criminal, social or administrative law. In forensic psychology, one often works in institutions of the penal system or penal system and, together with other professional groups (for example from social work), looks after people who have committed criminal offenses.

Occupational area 9: Education, partnership and life counseling

In education, partnership and life counseling, psychologists often work for independent providers who offer legally anchored support in the event of problems. Employees in these psychological counseling centers often work with different bodies such as youth welfare offices, day-care centers and school psychological services.

Occupational Area 10: Usability / Human Factors

In the usability / human factors field of activity, psychologists apply their knowledge of cognitive and engineering psychology to design the interfaces between humans and electronic or technical devices. Their area of ​​application is often in consulting firms that are commissioned by large companies, for example, to develop new websites. These specialists work closely with designers and developers. They test the user-friendliness of the technical solutions and pass on design recommendations to the developers. In doing so, they apply their knowledge from general psychology to a large extent. Usability specialists also work in the research and development departments in industry together with developers on the design of the interface between man and machine, for example when an automotive company develops new navigation or other assistance systems for a car.

... and science!

And last but not least, psychology is a living and exciting science. For those who are interested in scientific issues and who want to gain further qualifications as part of a doctorate, there are job opportunities at universities and various institutions. There are research projects in all basic and applied subjects of psychology.

In addition to the qualification positions at universities, which in addition to research also include teaching tasks, there are also many positions in third-party funded research projects, which not infrequently also include cooperation with industry and business. Even if science only offers a few permanent positions with long-term prospects, it is still a good way to start and later move to another area.

Job portals for psychologists

  • The WILA job market evaluates jobs in social affairs and psychology from over 100 sources, including daily newspapers and specialist magazines. Trial offer 4 issues for 10 euros:www.wila-arbeitsmarkt.de/abo
  • Hogrefe's PsychJob job portal only advertises jobs for psychologists:www.tinyurl.com/stellenportal-hogrefe
  • The Central Office for Psychological Information and Documentation (ZPID) offers a lot of information for psychologists, among other job offers, often from the scientific field:www.tinyurl.com/stellenportal-zpid
  • Members of the German Society for Psychology (DGPs) regularly receive offers for positions in the scientific field via a mailing list. If you are interested in scientific psychology, it is worthwhile to become a student member after completing your bachelor's degree:www.dgps.de
  • The Professional Association of German Psychologists (BDP) also offers a job portal:www.report-psychologie.de/stellenmarkt/angebote