Applied Psychology

Fields of Psychology – Which should I choose?

Jun 08, 2021
Fields of Psychology - Which should I choose?

A psychology graduate is well equipped to begin a successful and rewarding career. They have a great knowledge of psychology, an applied skill set and well-developed research and writing skills. This enables them to build meaningful careers in community and social development, human resources, employee wellness, counselling and mental health services.

“A Psychology Degree is a gateway to a range of career opportunities.”

In South Africa, the first step towards becoming a registered psychologist is a psychology degree. Thereafter, to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), an Honours and professional Master’s degree is required. There are 9 different fields of psychology.

The 9 Fields of Psychology

1. Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychologists focus on diagnosing and treating psychological disorders. The more common of which include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia and  bipolar. They generally work in a clinical setting such as private and government hospitals or clinics and private practices.

2. Counselling Psychology

Counselling Psychologists work with individuals, couples, families and groups. They aim to optimise a client’s psychological wellbeing through intervening in life challenges and developmental problems. They work in a variety of settings including private practice, government departments (Health, Social Development and Education) and schools.

3. Educational Psychology

Educational Psychologists are concerned with optimising human functioning through learning and development. Usually, they focus on children experiencing educational difficulties and work in an advisory capacity to a child’s teachers.

4. Industrial or Organisational Psychologists

Industrial or Organisational Psychologists apply psychology principles in the workplace. Usually within a human resource, sales, marketing, administration or management context. Often, they are involved in the selection and recruitment of staff. Their job focuses on enhancing individual, group and organisational behaviour through development and training, policy planning and organisation analysis.

5. Neuropsychology

Neuropsychologists focus their attention on understanding how the brain works and how it relates to human behaviour. They conduct research and working with patients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and illness.

6. Research Psychology

Research Psychologist scientifically test hypotheses and examine questions to better understand human behaviour and thinking. They often work within academia, publishing and presenting findings at conferences. Aside from this, many work within education, as consultants and in clinical settings.

7. Registered Counsellor

Registered Counsellors assist clients to optimise their personal functioning by focusing on supportive, developmental and preventative psychological interventions. They work within settings such as community, government departments, schools and private practices.  Additionally, they work with a limited selection of psychometric tests.

8. Psychometry

Psychometrists work centres on psychological assessments. Which measure and assess the different domains of functioning and contribute to the development of psychological tests and procedures. Work settings may include a private company, a school or university, government departments or private practice.

9. Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychologists are an integral part of the criminal investigation and law fields. They apply their knowledge of psychological principles and use it to understand different aspects of the legal system. It is one of the fastest-growing disciplines within psychology.

Psychology Categories of Registration in South Africa

While all are professional fields and require expertise, not all fields of psychology have an HPCSA registration category. For example, currently the HPCSA does not have a registration category for Forensic Psychology.

HPCSA: 6 Categories of Registration in Psychology

  1. Clinical
  2. Counselling
  3. Educational
  4. Industrial
  5. Neuropsychology
  6. Research Psychology.

Studying at SACAP to become a Psychologist

SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree is a comprehensive undergraduate psychology degree programme. It provides the perfect springboard for those wishing to progress to Honours and Masters in order to become a psychologist.

“A Psychologists can make a positive impact in many different areas of someone’s life.”

A Bachelor of Psychology is a professional degree approved by the HPCSA for the education and training of registered counsellors. Graduates of this programme are eligible to sit the National Examination of the Professional Board for Psychology in the Registered Counsellor category. This allows them to register with the HPCSA as Registered Counsellors. As a four-year NQF8 degree programme, the BPsych has a ‘built-in’ Honours equivalent. Successful graduates are eligible to register for a Masters programme with a view to becoming a psychologist.

SACAP offers a number of psychology courses. Enquire now to find out more about the fields of psychology.

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