Do you find yourself constantly wondering how the human mind works? Do the actions and thoughts of individuals continue to amaze you as you try to dissect just what they were thinking? Have you come to realize that the field of psychology is one that intrigues you and that you think would fit your professional goals? If you answered yes to each of these questions then perhaps you should consider pursuing a career path in cognitive psychology. This branch of psychology focuses on the mental processes of humans.
You would be examining how a person’s memory works, how he or she perceives things, as well as how he or she thinks about things. Your formal training and degree program will teach you to pay attention to every aspect of a person’s lifespan; however, you may choose to focus your work on a particular area, such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, or aging. Although a bachelor’s degree will allow you to begin working in this field of study, you will likely want to further your level of education beyond this undergraduate degree. Furthermore, in order for you to work as a cognitive psychologist you will need to obtain your doctor of psychology degree. Should you decide to only obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree, then your employment opportunities will not be as plentiful.
In your educational training to work in the branch of cognitive psychology you will be required to complete course work such as: neuroscience, cognitive development, behavioral science, normal psychology, abnormal psychology, the psychology of learning, neurophysiology, scientific writing, research methodologies, and the psychology of language processing. Upon completion of your degree program you will be eligible to seek employment in industry areas such as computer programming, public affairs, education, healthcare, biological sciences, and administrative support.
Although specific job titles will vary some depending on the level of your educational degree, you could expect to gain a position as a community health coordinator, a probation officer, an employment counselor, a data analyst, a personnel administrator, a survey researcher, or an organizational psychologist. Of course, before you can actively practice as a cognitive psychologist you will first be required to complete the licensing requirements of the state you reside in. Typically, you can expect to be required to earn a passing score on an examination that tests your level of understanding of key components of this psychology discipline.
The career field of cognitive psychology is projected to experience growth over the next few years; it has continued to grow over the past few years, also. This growth is due to an increased need for clinical, cognitive, and counseling psychologists to help individuals who are dealing with marriage and family issues, mental disorders, stress related to a job, addiction, or other unhealthy lifestyle decisions. Additionally, because of the increased number of elderly individuals in our population, more and more cognitive psychologists are needed to address the mental and physical issues that these citizens are dealing with.
It is important to understand that as a cognitive psychologist you will spend your time studying your patients using traditional scientific methods, as opposed to observable behaviors as they are identified by psychoanalysis. For instance, you will be studying perception and how an individual perceives things in his or her environment. This information will be used to predict how he or she will handle future issues that are related to observable behaviors. By studying perception you will be consistently dealing with the questions of how the human mind actually works and what causes it to work as it does?