Career Paths in Psychology
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Applied Psychologist, Research
Psychologist, & Psychology Professor

What are Applied Psychologists, Research Psychologists, & Psychology Professors?

Many psychologists do not work as therapists but work in other applied settings, do research, and/or work as university professors. Some common areas of applied study include community psychology, industrial-organizational psychology (psychology applied in the workplace), and sports psychology. See below for brief description of each.

Typical Tasks:

  • Providing consultation services to individuals, government and other organizations
  • Conducting assessments to determine problems and solutions (for individuals or groups)
  • Developing programs
  • Research
  • University Teaching

Typical Workplaces:

  • Universities
  • Public and private organizations

Education Requirements:

  • To teach and conduct research at a university you typically require a PhD in psychology. Different universities may allow you to hold the title of “lecturer” with a Master’s degree in psychology.
  • Many private and public organizations also require a Master’s or PhD.
  • A Master’s degree typically takes about 2 years. A PhD often takes an additional 4-7 years.
  • (See FAQ on “going on to graduate school”).


According to the 2000 Canadian census, the average annual earnings for full-time a psychologist range from $49,101 to $69, 401.

What are some different types of applied psychology?

Community Psychology:

Community psychologists research social issues that affect the well-being of individuals and communities. They often develop and work with programs aimed at promoting prevention and intervention in areas that affect mental health such as poverty, discrimination, substance abuse, etc.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology:

I/O psychologists (as they are usually called) are concerned with the relationships between people and their work environments. They may be hired by companies or organizations to assist in promoting the well-being of individual workers or working teams. They may “help individuals pursue meaningful and enriching work, and assist organizations in the effective management of their human resources” (Kline, 1996, see

Sports Psychology:

Sports psychologists are concerned with the psychological factors that improve athletic performance. They also look at the effects of exercise and physical activity on psychological adjustment and health. They may work with individuals or teams to enhance performance or examine the effects of exercise and physical activity on psychological adjustment and health. Training in sport psychology can be achieved through psychology departments, or kinesiology departments at various universities.


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