In coming years, the number of job opportunities for industrial-organizational psychologists is projected to expand by an overpowering 53 percent, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is being motivated by companies that are now relying on psychologists to help select and keep employees, build productivity and boost office morale. Although a master’s degree is sufficient in some industries, those with a doctoral degree maintain a competitive edge. In Los Angeles, psychologists earn an average annual salary nearing $100,000, according to current employment data.
“A terrific thing about L.A. is that so many people here are open and committed to wellness and growth, which are growing spaces in mental health,” said Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).
Durvasula said, CSULA is committed to preparing its career-oriented psychology students.
“We give our students the tools they need to use the discipline of psychology to learn about themselves, their society and to provide the best possible education to achieve goals as scientists, teachers, clinicians and leaders,” said Durvasula, who earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at UCLA.
What differentiates your curriculum?
“Our faculty is trained in a wide variety of subareas of psychology, so we have a diversity of coursework for our students to explore, and maximally prepare them to enter a doctoral program.”
How has the need for psychologists progressed since the recession?
“As the economy shifts, so does mental health, as financial stressors can really be a contributing factor to issues such as feeling hopeless, helpless, anxious or depressed. We need psychologists who can help people manage these issues.”
What do you like about your career?
“As a professor, teacher, researcher, author, private practitioner, media commentator and policy advisor, I get to wear so many different hats. Learning to play multiple roles helps me to keep up with the shifting sands of our field.”
What is your advice to aspiring psychologists?
“I encourage prospective psychologists to take their studies seriously and volunteer in a hospital or research lab. After you get your degree, stay current with continuing education. Psychologists are lifelong students.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.