Psychology is the most popular bachelor’s degree to obtain in the United States and yet we still have a shortage of mental health care provided to our population. There are a wide variety of career paths for an individual to pursue with this degree which is increasing in necessity as integrated care models are becoming a requirement for optimal reimbursement.
ADDICTION AND REHABILITATION COUNSELORS
Patients that suffer from addiction issues will have a wide variety of health issues that have to be addresses. Substance abuse and behavioral counselors will be utilized to create an entire plan of care of a patient that suffers from alcoholism, drug addition or eating disorders. Addiction counselors provide therapy and support to patients that are attempting to overcome their disease. This requires a Bachelors degree but many also have a Masters or a Doctorate degree. The median salary is $39,200 but with the higher the education pursued the salary can increase to $100,000 at the more exclusive treatment centers. This career path for an addiction and rehabilitation counselor is also projected to have a 31% growth rate due to the fact that more insurance companies are beginning to cover this service.
The healthcare industry is finding that the potential of a patient presenting back at a facility after receiving care is very dependent on their home situation. Because of that, the use of social workers as part of a holistic plan of care is becoming more common. Social workers will work with a patient when they are in the midst of a medical crisis to ensure their specific needs are identified and will be the patient advocate as part of their long term care. Specific certifications depend on the state and the median salary for a social career is $46,000 and is expected to grow 12% in the coming years.
As the life expectancy increases along with the concern of quality of life, psychologists specializing in working with the elderly population has become a growing field. The American population of those over 65 is anticipated to grow rapidly over the next decade. Those that work in this field will address common medical issues such as dementia but can also provide support for individuals that may struggle with loneliness or depression that can come with loss of independence. The median salary can be between $56,700 to $70,000.
COMMUNITY SERVICE MANAGER
While a social worker is assigned to specific patients, a community service manager will work directly with the community to identify public needs. They will manage resources and assist with raising funds within the community. Many thought leaders in healthcare are finding that society problems eventually appear at the community hospital seeking care as a result of lack of resources. As a result, many health systems are beginning to partner with city officials or community managers to define the largest needs and helping fund projects as a means of proactively addressing the raising cost of care. The average salary of a community service manager is $63,000 and is anticipated to have consistent growth.
EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST
Experimental Psychologists normal stay within the research field as their objective is to study human behavior and discover how it is impacted by emotion and social processes. The average salary for an experimental psychologist is $69,000 but can increase to $116,300 for those that pursued their doctorate degree. This is expected to be a stable industry as more businesses are finding that understanding human behavior is a key to their own success. Neuropsychologists also participate in the research field and study the cognitive functions of the brain. They complete brain scans, consult victims on brain injuries and provide information on impact of drug abuse. The median salary for a neuropsychologist is $86,600 but can increase to $143,400 for those that work at the most respected health systems.
ADMINISTRATIVE HOSPITAL PSYCHOLOGIST
This is newly introduced career path but is anticipated to grow rapidly in the coming years. Developing an integrated plan of care for every patient is one of the core components of the Affordable Care Act and is becoming a common requirement for reimbursement. Because of that, psychologists are now becoming part of the care team for patients. Some facilities have opted to have someone at the administrator level to manage the team of psychologists to help successful integrated them into the plan of care. While this is a new position and data points are not complete, it is trending to have an average salary point of $95,000.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that can prescribe medications or provide psychotherapy to patients that have been evaluated and diagnosed with a mental disorder. It is common to also specialize which increases their earning potential. The median salary for a psychiatrist can be between $177,200 to $212,500 dependent on where they have been employed to practice and their specialty. This industry is anticipated to continue to grow in the coming years with the increased focused on integrated care for patients. Mental health is such an important part of a patient’s complete wellness and the healthcare industry is finally realizing that an investment in this area is not only warranted but a necessity for success.