Specialized Careers in Psychology: Part II

Photo Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics   By: Dr. Monique Chouraeshkenazi

Photo Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

By: Dr. Monique Chouraeshkenazi

What Psychologist Do: Part II describes professional sub-specialties that are indicative of the psychological genre. Psychology possesses specialized practices, which requires trained professionals to study the phenomena of an individual’s mind and behavior through counseling, intensive therapy, research, and treatment. This week is concentrated on the following psychological specialties: educational, health, and industrial/organization psychology. Though the psychology field has very similar educational and training requirements, there are specific mandates to successfully be licensed in this week’s specialized psychological fields.

Educational Psychology

          Psychologists who work in the field of education are interested in children and adult’s learning habits. Through the study of education, psychologists observe, research, and provide analysis on how humans learn and retain information (American Psychological Association [APA], 2018). With so many teaching approaches, learning complexities, and those with learning disabilities, it is imperative that educational psychologists find innovative techniques on how individuals learn and preserve information the easiest way possible, which is taught through successful completion of academia.

          Requirements to be an educational psychology consists of undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, educational psychology, school psychology, counseling, and/or any other degree program related to the field. To have a successful and advanced career in educational psychology, doctoral programs are required. Licensure as an educational psychologist is dependent upon state requirements, but universal standards are that professionals have at least two to three years as a school psychologist before one qualifies to take the Licensed Educational Psychologist examination. You can find educational psychologists working in secondary schools, universities, and other institutions to enhance learning systems and methodologies of education. 

          Educational psychologists belong to the following organization: American Psychological Association, Educational Psychology (Division 15), Association of Educational Therapists, National Council on Measurement in Education, Association of Psychological Science, and American School Counseling Association, to name a few. It is an interesting field and I believe it would have a nice correlation with experimental psychology, conducting innovative research to understand how and why humans learn the way they do and how this would eventually link to forensic psychology, homeland/national security, and terrorism. I also believe it is important field to improve educational requirements in schools and universities—something that is a major issue within the United States, as educational requirements continue to shift based on political and governmental implications. 

Health Psychology

          Health psychologists study and observe how individuals deal with illness and pain management. In addition, such psychologists’ responsibilities are to recognize underlining factors as to why people have specific medical practices and resolve such issues through medical care and proper management. They also provide advice on how to improve their health habits and to assist with medicine management (APA, 2018). Health psychologists are considered clinicians and conduct experiments to observe and research behavior when it comes to medical management. Through research, such psychologists provide preventative measures to help individuals improve their lifestyles and increase healthy habits while mitigating illness and disease. 

          To become a health psychologist requires advanced levels of education and training. Like educational psychology, the health psychology field requires undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, health psychology, and/or any other degree program related to the field. A doctoral degree is mandated to be a health psychologist, which should encompass biological, social, and psychological conditions and treatments within the degree program (“How Do I Become a Health Psychologist,” 2018). Health psychologists need to be licensed and certified, and such requirements are decided on a state-by-state basis. Pre-doctoral internships are highly recommended if one wants to be successful within the field, but post-doctoral residencies are required. Finally, professionals must pass jurisprudence and licensing exams and be certified by the American Board of Clinical Health Psychology (ABCHP). ABCHP requires clinical health psychologists complete one year of post-doctoral residency in health psychology.  

          Health psychologists belong to the following professional organizations: Society for Health Psychology, American Academy of Clinical Health Psychology, American Psychology Association, Association for Psychological Science, and National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers. Based on the review of the health psychology field, I believe this is a very important career based on the critical needs for individuals to succeed in healthier lifestyles and do not necessarily know how to do so. Unhealthy choices are usually based on busy schedules, finances, and ignorance to understanding health education. I believe this field is the chance for people to live healthier, longer lives. It is a great field, but I am not necessarily interested due to the medical complexities of psychology. 

Industrial/Occupation Psychology

          Known as I/O psychology, this field emphasizes the scientific aspect of human behavior within the workplace (APA, 2018). Because there is a need to have successful and lucrative businesses by completing operations efficiently and effectively, all results are predicated on the performance of human operators. Psychologists in this field have a unique responsibility (like educational psychologists) to study the behavior of people, improve business practices, and resolve interdepartmental matters. In addition, such psychologists are an integral part in the employee recruitment, outcome assessments, training, development, and employee performance processes, which is part of most organization’s human resource departments. 

          I/O psychologists are considered consultants and are responsible for identifying performance deficiencies, limiting factors within a business’s policies, streamlining innovative techniques, and improving employee relationships. A master’s is the minimum requirement to become an I/O psychologist. For those who want to be successful and competitive within the field, a doctoral degree is highly recommended. Also, internships and/or residencies are highly suggested. At this point, licensure is not a requirement for such psychologists; however, as of September 2011, there has been an opportunity for those who want to be licensed. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology now has licensure information for I/O psychologists (2018). A few requirements mandated for licensure is to complete supervised hours with a licensed psychologist, pass an oral examination, and meet score requirements for the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology. 

          I/O psychologists belong to the following psychological associations: Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, American Psychological Association, Academy of Management, Society for Human Resource Management, and the Southern Management Association. The I/O psychological field can relate to experimental and educational psychology. I am fascinated by how exploring such specialties can really make an impact on future research in linking forensic psychology to homeland/national security and terrorism. Studying and observing humans’ behavior in the work environment is crucial, as psychological issues can impact work performance and specific behaviors that may not be prominent in households and other environments. 


          Understanding sub-specialties under psychology is an eye-opening experience and provides quality information for those who are interested in the field to make informed decisions on their passion. Researching the specialized fields in psychology offers trained professionals an early opportunity of the requirements to financially, mentally, and spiritually prepared for their journey. Educational, training, and licensure are very important requirements to ensure those who seek the field are qualified to do the job, but I believe it takes a unique desire to be in such fields. Professionals’ responsibilities in psychology are essentially helping people through study, research, and treatment. This is an especially important responsibility and the passion for this field should be as important as the responsibilities and requirements. 



American Psychological Association. (2018). Educational psychology promotes teaching and learning. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/action/science/teaching-learning/index.aspx (accessed on 10 June 2018).

American Psychological Association. (2018). Health psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/action/science/health/education-training.aspx (accessed on 10 June 2018). 

American Psychological Association. (2018). Industrial and organizational psychology. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/industrial.aspx (accessed on 10 June 2018). 

“How Do I Become a Health Psychologist?” (2018). Psychology.Retrieved from https://www.psychology.org/careers/health-psychologist/#become (accessed on 10 June 2018). 

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2018). Licensure information for I/O psychologists. Retrieved from http://www.siop.org/licensure/licensure.aspx (accessed on 10 June 2018). 

Touro University. (2018). How to become an educational psychologist. Retrieved from http://www.tuw.edu/content/psychology/how-to-become-an-educational-psychologist/ (accessed on 10 June 2018).