Published: July 17, 2018
Deciding which branch of psychology to focus on can be difficult. Learn more about what community psychology is, where community psychologists work, what they do, and if it’s right for you.
What is community psychology?
Community psychology reaches beyond an individual. It instead focuses on how different social, cultural, political, and economic groups and environments affect people. Then it examines how people, in turn, affect their environment. This branch of psychology allows for psychologists to research potentially undesirable or problem situations in an effort to uncover solutions.
The definition of a community is not limited to a geographic area or neighborhood. A community can be defined by any group of individuals that share their own social and psychological dynamics, such as church groups, universities, and sports teams.
Community psychology, a rapidly developing field, is an exciting industry to join. Community psychologists are not limited to the traditional categories of psychology because their work emphasizes both applied community delivery and theory-based research. Deciding to pursue a community psychology degree opens many doors for job opportunities in a wide range of settings.
What do community psychologists do?
Depending on one’s training, preferences, and experiences, community psychologists are able to work in a variety of roles in many environments and industries, such as primary education, higher education, consulting, or social work.
Since their focus is on the health and functionality of a community as a whole, the majority of community psychologists conduct research to develop programs that benefit communities. For example, if a neighborhood has a high rate of teen drug use, a community psychologist might create and lead a school program that highlights the dangers of drug use. After and during this program, the psychologist is responsible for the evaluation and overall effectiveness that it had on the teens and their community.
Secondly, community psychologists must build relationships with community leaders in order to successfully address pressing issues that face the community. A large majority of community psychologists work directly with specific groups of people in controlled settings, but behind-the-scenes work is also possible. Others can choose to work on the policy development side, ensuring that government agencies are working alongside them to develop, research, and analyze programs similar to those mentioned.
Where do community psychologists work?
Graduates from community psychology degree programs have a diverse range of career paths to choose from. They may find roles in governmental health, higher education, advocacy groups, public policy organizations, nonprofit groups, or law enforcement.
Specific careers include:
In some cases, who a community psychologist works with may be determined by the type of problem a specific community faces.
Any questions about community psychology?
Explore our B.A. Community Psychology Degree Programs for more information on degree concentrations, courses, and admission requirements. Do you want to speak with one of our enrollment counselors? Request more information by filling out the form below.