A Career in Psychology: Perks and Risks

With choice comes responsibility and one of the most crucial choices we make is regarding what to do with our lives. In a world where everything has a price, the anxiety and the ambiguity accompanying a choice that decides the quality of our lives and that chooses the direction in which our lives progress is huge, but that's normal. Though the roads diverge into professional and non-professional courses, in India, it forks into primarily medicine and engineering due to some bizarre reasons. Hence it takes a lot to take the road not taken. Yet, the experience is quite often worth the risk.

One of such career pathways that has got national attention since last year, when some of the national level toppers in the higher secondary examinations preferred it over the regular niches, is Psychology. Also, the president of India's remark about the scarcity of the number of people involved in mental health-related professions being far less than required is a promising boost to this field. Despite all these when you decide a career on Psychology, there is a cocktail of responses which includes the scepticism regarding its job prospects and scope, the curiosity regarding “mind-reading" and of course, the several people lining up asking you to find what they're thinking about.

But Psychology as a discipline is much more than all of these. Psychology doesn't teach you magic or wizardry. It doesn't empower you with telepathy or clairvoyance. Instead, it teaches you to observe, describe, and understand the way people behave. Now if you think that you know it already and that you don't require Psychology to tell you that, then Psychology is here to prove you wrong. In a sense, this scientific study of behaviour is a noble branch of wisdom as it informs us of our own ignorance.

The student life as a Psychology student is both challenging and fun. Despite it being recognized as a science subject, Psychology has relatively less to study in terms of the syllabus in many institutions across India in its undergraduate programs. This is usually because it is an introductory course to the discipline. However, this is compensated by hands-on training in research and practical workshops and work experience. On the master’s level, however, the academics also get deeper and the individual is holistically trained. The cost of education varies according to the institutions, ranging from an annual fee of about a few thousand to nearly a lakh in certain institutions. Also, this discipline has got several internship opportunities, exclusively allotted for the student community across the globe, which provides Indian students with a chance to express themselves in global platforms. Major skills required for thriving a career in Psychology include an ability for critical thinking, great reading skills, communication and writing skills and lots of patience. If you qualify for these qualities, you may think of picking up a career in Psychology.

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Most people take up Psychology to become clinical psychologists so that they can work in hospitals, even if they couldn't clear the medical entrances. Some others take up counselling as a profession, which unlike Clinical Psychology that deals with major mental illnesses, deals with minor issues and daily hassles. Such people can work in rehabilitation centres, educational sectors or even start their own clinics. A third variety of Psychologists include the industrial psychologists who work in industrial settings, ranging from management jobs in small firms to top positions in large companies like Google. Apart from these, in India,

People who go for UPSC exams opt for Psychology for helping them in their Mains examinations. Another promising area where Psychology careers can take you is the academic and research sector, such that you can work in universities and colleges and can collaborate and work with national and international projects.

Apart from these, there are many more varieties of Psychology. Health Psychologists who deal with health-based systems, Cognitive Psychologists who study about thought processes, Social Psychologists who study social phenomena, Comparative Psychologists who study the evolutionary basis of behaviour are few major branches.

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The jobs aforementioned are often well paid, both within the nation as well as abroad. The salaries depend upon the job as well as the institution, with small firms paying around Rs. 20,000 per month to huge companies paying around lakhs. The opportunities in Psychology, however, are not uniformly distributed. The market for the best Psychologists is tremendously high. However, a mediocre or a poorly performing Psychologist has a weak market base. This illustrates the amount of effort to be invested in the making of a Psychologist. Also, the work though ultimately fulfilling has a price to pay. Sometimes, the work can take an emotional toll on the person, something which is technically known as counsellor burnout. This happens, especially in a clinical/counselling set up where the professional continuously takes up clinical cases. Hence, it's always advised that the profession might be taken up only after understanding the individual's capacity, interest and aptitude. However, the ultimate joy comes as the result of all this effort. When our efforts are able to touch and transform another person, when we are capable of pacifying them from their troubles, the satisfaction is huge.

A career in Psychology is promising, yet comes with its own price. Great mental strength, patience, resilience and endurance are prerequisites to enjoy the fruits of intense satisfaction as well as academic and professional glory. Psychology being at its infant stage is a powerful tool to be applied to different domains. This implies that the possibilities are many in this field. In fact, you could begin a branch of Psychology with a bit of creativity and effort. So, if you're game for it, then the interesting and intriguing world of behaviour is open before you with its wide array of possibilities and opportunities.

- Ananda Krishnan

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A Career in Psychology: Perks and Risks  A Career in Psychology: Perks and Risks Reviewed by EMN on March 10, 2019 Rating: 5

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