Which Psychology Fields are in High Demand?

Psychology is an incredibly diverse field with many different career pathways that you can choose.

You might decide to become a forensic psychologist and work with law enforcement agencies to help develop criminal profiles. You might pursue a career in industrial-organizational psychology and help corporations create workplaces that are more productive and efficient. You can even choose to become a sports psychologist who works with athletes to help them optimize their mental health and their on-field performance.

And while all of these psychology careers can be interesting, dynamic, and immensely rewarding, they represent niche career paths. In other words, none of these fields are in very high demand.

So that begs the question, what psychology jobs are hot right now?

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists work directly with clients who have a mental, emotional, or behavioral illness. Typically, when you think of a psychologist – a mental health professional that works with individuals in a therapeutic setting – you’re thinking of a clinical psychologist.

Often, clinical psychologists work with clients that have the most severe mental health issues. This might include clients that have schizophrenia, a dissociative disorder, or a bipolar spectrum disorder. Many clinical psychologists treat clients that have less severe mental illnesses as well, such as a mood disorder, a personality disorder, or an anxiety disorder.

Whatever their client’s need, a clinical psychologist’s goal is to help their client identify their strengths, learn techniques for coping with their illness, and promote resilience in the face of obstacles. There are many different therapeutic approaches that can achieve these ends, from psychotherapy to behavioral therapy to rational-emotive therapy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for clinical psychologists is expected to rise by 10 percent by 2030. This represents slightly faster-than-average growth than for all occupations over the same period.

The increased need for clinical psychologists is due in large part to a greater willingness of the general public to seek help for mental health issues. Years ago, the stigma surrounding mental health problems prevented many people from seeking the treatment they needed. Today, though, those stigmas are far less common and severe, so more people are willing to admit they need help and seek that help from professionals.

Marriage and Family Therapist

As the name indicates, marriage and family therapists work in a counseling capacity with couples and families to help them resolve emotional, behavioral, communicational, and other issues that cause relationships to be strained.

In many cases, marriage and family therapists work with couples and families to help the family unit stay together. So, for example, if a couple is experiencing difficulties in their marriage because they don’t communicate well, they might go to therapy to learn how to improve their communication skills, which will in turn help them understand one another’s needs and wants. This would be a preferable alternative for many couples to simply getting divorced.

In other instances, marriage and family therapists work with families that are in distress – perhaps a family that has experienced the death of a loved one. In this situation, the concern is helping each member of the family identify and communicate their feelings, understand the feelings of others in the family, and learn ways to move forward while supporting one another.

Usually, marriage and family therapists have undergraduate degrees in psychology or a related field and then get a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy, counseling, or psychology. Many marriage and family therapists go on to get a doctorate as well.

The BLS reported in 2020 that this is a fast-growing career field. In fact, it is predicted that employment for marriage and family therapists will grow by 16 percent through the end of the 2020s. This represents much faster-than-average growth.

One of the primary reasons for this expected rate of growth is that many current marriage and family therapists are expected to move out of their roles, either by pursuing a different job or retiring. As marriage and family therapists leave this line of work, more and more new therapists will be needed to provide services to couples and families in need.

It can also be argued that the need for marriage and family therapists is on the rise because of an increasing commitment of couples and families to work through their problems. As mentioned earlier, there is no doubt that the stigma of struggling with mental illness, behavioral issues, and family-related issues is much less than it used to be, which has resulted in more people seeking treatment from marriage and family therapists.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

By far one of the most high demand psychology jobs is in the substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling space.

Workers in this field specialize in treating clients that have a drug abuse or addiction problem, behavioral issues like ADHD, and mental health problems in general (e.g., depression, anxiety, and the like).

No matter which of these populations counselors work with, their goal is to help their clients modify their behavior through treatment plans that identify the problem, teach new skills, and develop more adaptive behaviors that lead to improved functioning.

For example, a substance abuse counselor whose client has an alcohol addiction might work with the client to identify why they began drinking alcohol in the first place. They might find that alcohol was a way to cope with a childhood trauma, like the death of a parent. In learning the true root of the issue – their parent’s death – the client might then be able to deal with those emotions in an appropriate manner, rather than trying to drink them away. In developing this understanding, to go along with learning what their triggers are, going to support group meetings, and acquiring better coping skills, the client can move forward without a reliance on alcohol.

The BLS predicts that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling jobs will grow by an astonishing 23 percent by 2030. This is a very rapid rate of growth and represents one of the fastest rates of growth among psychology-related jobs.

The primary reason why jobs in this field are expected to grow so quickly is because of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As people struggle with their mental health, the loss of loved ones, and the social and economic fallout from the pandemic, they are turning in greater and greater numbers to counselors to help them cope.

School Psychologist

A school psychologist is a qualified professional who applies expertise in behavior, learning, and mental health to help children reach their social, academic, emotional, behavioral, and career potential. In many cases, a school psychologist will provide mentoring, counseling and instruction to promote wellness by reinforcing problem-solving, communication, anger management, social skills, and self-regulation. For children with learning disabilities, they help to assess abilities and devise instructional strategies to increase achievement.

They are frequently required to collaborate with teachers, parents, school administrators and other professionals to strengthen connections between school and home. They may be involved in various activities and promote policies that help to ensure a supportive, safe and healthy learning environment and reduce bullying and violence.

Demand for Certain Jobs Changes from Year to Year

As you consider if one of the jobs outlined above is right for you, it’s important to remember that the demand for jobs can change, even on a yearly basis. As such, it’s important to consider factors other than how in-demand a job is when thinking about your career path.

While it is certainly a bonus to choose a career that’s predicted to have many jobs available, you also need to think about your interests in psychology. What fields interest you the most? What psychology jobs are best aligned to your specific skills, talents, and knowledge? What type of psychology job do you think will make you the happiest?

Just be sure to consider these questions as you outline your future. Doing so will ensure that you make the best decision!

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