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4 Types of Psychology

Written by: Wilson College   •  Feb 5, 2024
 A child development specialist holding a clipboard and interacting with a child playing with a toy on a table.

4Types of Psychology

The American Psychological Association recognizes more than 20 psychology specialties, subspecialties, and proficiencies. Individuals interested in psychology can consider pursuing positions related to any of these areas, which include industrial and organizational psychology, child psychology, and health psychology.

Exploring various types of psychology and their related careers can be helpful to anyone who may be contemplating enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program.

Which Industries Hire Psychology Majors?

While clinical psychology and counseling might be the first things that come to most people’s minds when they think about working in the psychology field, they are far from the only options. Examples of the types of organizations that benefit from hiring individuals with knowledge of psychology include the following:

  • Courts and the legal system: Rely on individuals with expertise in psychology to provide expert testimony and psychological assessments.
  • Educational organizations: Hire professionals with knowledge of psychology to help students reach their educational goals and to evaluate methods for testing students.
  • Businesses: Rely on people with psychological expertise to develop employee training and evaluation processes and to promote positive workplace behavior.
  • Sports organizations: Employ experts with psychological knowledge to help athletes address issues that could hinder their performance and manage the stress associated with competition.
  • Technology companies: Hire professionals with expertise in human behavior to help design websites and apps to improve the users’ experience.
  • Marketing and market research firms: Employ individuals with psychological expertise to help uncover insights about consumers’ motivations and how to gear products for a target audience.
  • Human resources departments: Rely on professionals with an understanding of human behavior to speak to employees about their concerns and address employee conflicts that may arise.

4 Different Types of Psychology

All of the different types of psychology correlate to specific careers. Four examples of professional fields within psychology are described below.

1. Social Psychology

Social psychology focuses on the behavior and emotions of individuals when they are in settings with other people. In other words, social psychology examines how social settings and situations can affect human behavior. Social psychology can be applied to a wide range of areas that range from marketing to crime to public health.

Because social psychology is useful in many scenarios, professionals with expertise in social psychology can work in any of a variety of positions. Their ability to understand how other people can influence an individual’s behavior can enable them to make recommendations that help improve anything from employee training programs to marketing approaches to law enforcement protocols.

2. Child Psychology

As the name implies, child psychology concentrates on children’s emotions and behavior. It encompasses topics such as cognitive development, language proficiency, and social growth. Child psychology also examines factors such as the socioeconomic and cultural context in which a child develops. 

Individuals who have expertise in child psychology focus on assisting children in dealing with challenges such as trauma they have experienced or learning disabilities. A primary goal of professionals in child psychology is helping children learn how to meet their own needs.

3. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology is a field within psychology that focuses on the behavior of employees in the workplace. Professionals with expertise in industrial and organizational psychology often work for private sector businesses, but they also work for government agencies, consulting firms, and research organizations.

Individuals who work in industrial and organizational psychology apply their expertise to helping organizations address issues that arise in areas such as employee placements, employee performance measurements, and the structure of work.

4. Health Psychology

Health psychology is concerned with using psychological principles to promote good health and healthy behaviors. Health psychology focuses on the factors that can affect individuals’ health and how individuals deal with challenges to their health. The goal is to help people improve their health and, ultimately, live longer.

Professionals who have expertise in health psychology use their skills to educate people about maintaining healthy behaviors, help develop health policies, and help improve public health programs.

Career Opportunities With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Whether exploring traditional careers in psychology or alternative careers for psychology majors, individuals who earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology are prepared to pursue a number of careers, with options that span the many types of psychology. Examples of potential career opportunities for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are outlined below.

Social Worker

Individuals who become social workers rely on their expertise in areas such as social psychology to help clients cope with their life situations and satisfy their emotional needs. They also help their clients obtain the resources they require. Social workers can specialize in an area such as healthcare, mental health, disability, or children and families.

Child Development Specialist

Working as a child development specialist entails helping children develop in a healthy way. To do that, child development specialists use their knowledge in subjects such as child psychology to assess children, develop plans to address children’s needs, and oversee children’s developmental progress. They also communicate with children’s family members regarding how their children are developing.

Human Resources Specialist

Knowledge of certain kinds of psychology such as industrial and organizational psychology can be beneficial in working as a human resources specialist. In this position, individuals are responsible for employee hiring, employee onboarding, and the resolution of personnel issues. They also work on programs to improve employee satisfaction, create training programs, and perform duties related to compensation and benefits.

Health Education Specialist

Health education specialists use their expertise in areas such as health psychology to promote wellness by teaching people about healthy behaviors and how to implement them. They assess the health education needs of a community, develop specific health education programs, assist clients in obtaining health-related services, and contribute to the development of health-related policies.

The Many Types of Psychology Offer a Wide Variety of Career Paths

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in psychology can explore Wilson College Online’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program to learn how it can help them achieve their professional goals. Offering concentrations in general psychology, healthcare, and leadership and organizational management, the program could be the starting point of a rewarding career. 

Start on your career path in psychology today.

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American Psychological Association, Industrial and Organizational Psychology

American Psychological Association, Recognized Specialties, Subspecialties, and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology

BetterHelp, “Examining the Different Definitions and Types of Psychology”

BetterHelp, “What Is Health Psychology and What Does It Mean for You?”

BetterUp, “Psychology Degree Jobs: Salaries, Duties, and Requirements”

Indeed, “9 Jobs in Social Psychology (With Job Titles and Salaries)”

Indeed, “Everything You Need to Know About Becoming an HR Specialist”

Indeed, “FAQ: What Can You Do With a Health Psychology Degree?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Education Specialists

Verywell Mind, “Industrial-Organizational Psychology Careers”

Verywell Mind, “Overview of Child Psychology and Development”

Verywell Mind, “An Overview of Social Psychology”

ZipRecruiter, What Is a Child Development Specialist and How to Become One

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