Anyone who’s interested in pursuing a career as a psychologist is likely to be wondering which are the fastest growing fields in psychology. Which psychology specializations offer the best opportunities for talented practitioners right now? Which specializations would be best for aspiring psychologists to invest the time and resources in training for?
Overall, employment levels in the field of psychology are growing at an exceptional rate. The vocational experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are forecasting that US employers will need to create many thousands more jobs for counselors, therapists, and psychologists by the year 2026. The same federal government agency has also given us some valuable insights into which types of counselors and psychologists will probably be most in demand in this time frame. Let’s take a look at 5 of the psychology specializations they expect to see growing the fastest.
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1. Genetic Counseling
Genetic counseling is a relatively new, hybrid field of specialization that requires expertise in multiple sciences including psychology, genetics, and epidemiology. Genetic counselors help their patients by analyzing their levels of risk for various genetic disorders. It is typical for these professionals to further specialize in cancer, pediatric or prenatal genetic counseling. BLS analysts are forecasting an astonishing 29 percent growth in the numbers of genetic counselors that will be employed in the USA by the year 2026.
2. Substance Abuse Counseling
The Council on Foreign Relations reports on the problems posed by the national public health emergency caused by opioid drug addictions. Between the opioids and all the other drugs and alcohol available, there are numerous addicts and alcoholics who are suffering and in need of help. The demand for substance abuse counseling is on a dramatic upward trend, with an anticipated 23 percent growth in job opportunities for substance abuse counselors by the year 2026.
3. Marriage and Family Therapy
The trend towards integrated care for mental health is helping to drive an anticipated 23 percent growth in job opportunities for marriage and family therapists. Integrated care differs from traditional care in that groups of specialists administer treatments to their patients in cooperation with each other. In many cases, substance abuse issues and resulting marital and family problems are inextricably intertwined. Additional therapists will be needed to help patients sort out these issues.
4. Mental Health and Behavioral Disorder Counseling
Mental health counselors are needed to help their patients cope with depression, panic attacks, grief, stress, and similar negative emotions that can complicate and derail their lives. The career experts at the BLS anticipate that future job prospects for mental health counselors will be particularly favorable in rural areas of the United States. Overall, they’re forecasting 23 percent growth in the numbers of mental health and behavioral disorder counselors that will be hired in the future.
5. Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology is the field that the vast majority of psychologists gravitate towards. This is a fast-growing specialization, with BLS analysts forecasting 14 percent growth in future hiring opportunities. They expect to see especially strong demand for clinical psychologists who specialize in helping the elderly adapt to the stressful changes that can result from aging.
Future job prospects are expected to be excellent in all of these psychology specializations. Anyone who is interested in pursuing a psychology career could benefit from considering whether one of the niches on this list of the fastest growing fields in psychology is a good fit with their professional interests.