Applied Psychology Careers

Learn more about some exciting applied psychology career options

Applied psychologist working on computer
Morsa Images/Getty Images

Welcome to week five of the Careers in Psychology e-course! In today's lesson, you will learn more about different applied psychology career options. In the previous lesson, we took a closer look at careers in human and social services. It is important to note that there is some overlap between applied and social service careers. For example, clinical psychology, school psychology, and health psychology can be considered both applied and social service fields.

Applied psychologists utilize their knowledge of psychological theories and principles to solve real-world problems. Fortunately, there are a number of different applied psychology careers to choose from. The following are just a few of the top choices you should consider.

Enjoy solving real-world problems? Consider becoming a...

  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Thanks to a number of popular television programs and movies, interest in the field of forensic psychology has grown tremendously in recent years. This career is focused on applying psychological principles and practices to the law and criminal investigation. Forensic psychologists perform a wide range of duties such as investigating suspected child abuse, participating in child custody cases, assessing competence to stand trial, and serving as an expert witness in court. Learn more about being a forensic psychologist to discover if forensic psychology is right for you.
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
  • The field of industrial-organizational psychology is focused on the study of the workplace, organizations, and employees. Professionals in this field can be found in numerous settings ranging from private consulting firms to government offices. Workplace motivation, employee selection, job performance, occupational safety, human resources, and leadership training are just a few things in which an I/O psychologist might investigate or participate. Learn more about being an industrial-organizational psychologist.
  • Sports Psychologist
  • Sports psychologists are interested in how psychology impacts athletic performance and vice versa. They often work directly with athletes to teach specific skills, enhance performance, and improve motivation. They frequently teach psychological skills such as visualization, positive self-talk, imagery, and goal setting and work with athletes, students, parents, coaches, or even professional athletes. Learn more about being a sports psychologist.
  • Human Factors Psychologist
  • Human factors psychology is a multidisciplinary field that draws on areas including psychology, cognitive science, engineering, design, and statistics. Professionals working in human factors often design ergonomic products or work environments, strive to improve workplace safety, look for ways to improve interfaces for maximum efficiency and investigate human-computer interaction. If you have an interest in psychology as well as other fields such as engineering, computing, or educational technology, then human factors can be a very interesting option. Learn more about becoming a human factors psychologist
  • Health Psychologist
  • Health psychology is a growing field that focuses on psychological, biological, and social factors that impact individual health. People employed in this field often work at health clinics, hospitals, and universities and help clients lose weight, stop smoking, manage stress, or improve their nutrition. Health psychologists often work in one of three main areas: research, public policy, and clinical. Those in research and public policy positions investigate methods that can help people become healthier, while those in clinical areas usually work directly with clients to help them overcome or prevent health issues. Learn more about the ins and outs of being a health psychologist

Your Assignment: Are You Interested In an Applied Psychology Career?

This week your goal should be to spend some time writing in your career reflection journal. How do you feel about applied psychology careers? Are there any specific jobs in this area that interest you? Remember, this assignment is not graded and there are no due dates. Your reflection journal is simply designed to help you explore different job paths and hopefully discover which one is right for you.

So in today's reflection journal, start by answering the question: Are you interested in an applied psychology career? Why or why not? If you find yourself drawn to this area, try to explain why an applied career is well-suited to your interests. If you don't have an interest in this area, just spend a few moments noting some of the reasons why an applied career is not right for you. As we've mentioned before, sometimes understanding what you don't want in a job is just as important as knowing what you do want.

Congratulations on completing lesson five! We've covered a lot of information so far, but we are not done yet. In upcoming lessons, we will be looking at entry-level careers, advanced careers, average salaries, and job outlooks for various specialty areas.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. A Career in Public Service and Forensic Psychology.

  2. American Psychological Association. Pursuing a Career in I/O Psychology.

  3. American Psychological Association. A Career in Sport and Performance Psychology.

  4. American Psychological Association. A Career in Human Factors Psychology.

  5. American Psychological Association. Pursuing a Career in Health Psychology.

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.