For this Forum, in your Initial Post you will share with your classmates your observations from your research on Experimental and Forensic Psychology as subspecialties and career options.

Please be sure to address BOTH subspecialties in your response to each question.  Points will be deducted if both subspecialties are not clearly and separately addressed.

 1) After researching these areas, do you find them to be career possibilities you are interested in or careers that don’t capture your interest?  Why or why not?

 2) What is at least one thing you learned about each of the two subspecialties that you did not previously know? 

 3) Describe a “real-world” application for each of the two subspecialties.  How could knowledge gained through the pursuit of each subspecialty help us to understand everyday problems, dilemmas, or situations?  Note:  your answer does not have to be specific to psychology as a field.  Think broadly; psychological principles can apply to many different fields.


Before we start to consolidate and review information we discussed, in the previous six (6) weeks, I wanted to discuss an additional topic. School psychology is a highly relevant subspecialty considering the challenges facing students, teachers, parents and school administrators today. The training, expertise, and specialized training provided by school psychologists is instrumental in addressing the challenges to result in the best and most effective outcomes. Historically, the school counselor dealt with the problems and issues of the students. When school counseling was initiated in the early 20th century; however, many of the complex issues experienced by today’s students such as bullying, homelessness, and fragmented families, were rare (Bain, 2012).  The complexity of today’s challenges, within school systems, requires collaboration between school counselors and school psychologists to increase favorable outcomes (Zambrano, Villarreal-Castro, & Sullivan, 2012).

Let’s start by discussing what school psychology is and what is needed to become a school psychologist. School psychology is very different from other specializations in psychology. The areas of interest for school psychologists are children, adolescents, and students, along with the education processes. School psychologists are trained in both psychology and education. The primary goal of the school psychologist is to assist students to maximize their education and the academic experience. Their range of interest encompasses not solely academics, but also includes the social, behavioral, emotional, and personal factors, which affect students and their families.

The school systems today are operating with a higher level of accountability. At a time when resources are limited, the school system must meet the needs of the increasing number of their students experiencing academic and mental challenges (Zambrano et al., 2012). An approach to delivering the services to students has been developed called Response to Intervention (RTI), involving both the school counselor and school psychologist (Zambrano et al., 2012).

The collaboration of the school counselor and school psychologist, using RTI, maximizes outcomes and is multifaceted. There is less duplicating of services by counselors and psychologists when they work together. Because of their collaboration, early intervention and prevention actions can be implemented. Because of the professional collaboration, the RTI approach can be implemented and used to the student’s advantage within the school system. Initiating the RTI approach allows school counselors and school psychologists to learn from each other. Lastly, students in graduate programs for school counseling and school psychology become familiar with the common areas of their training (Zambrano et al., 2012).

School psychology has some overlap with clinical and counseling psychology, regarding the tasks and job responsibilities. Consistent with their title and credential as a school psychologist, most of their time, attention, and expertise are centered on schools. They may also be employees at clinics, such as those based in the community, medical centers, prisons, juvenile detention centers, universities, or in private practice (Kuther & Morgan, 2013).

When considering society today and the many issues and situations confronting students, their families, and school systems, the need for school psychologists is evident. The assessments and treatment they provide to students, especially in the kindergarten to 12th (K-12) setting is priceless. Children enter the school system with multiple concerns, which the teachers and school administrators have neither the time nor training to address. Some of the issues and challenges dealt with by school psychologists are psychological, developmental, family structure, and school related, which the school counselor lacks the education, training, and expertise to effectively address.

A review of several challenges for students today clearly highlights the need for school psychologists. A major problem in schools is creating a safe and positive atmosphere in the schools, which will facilitate learning and academic growth. In this regard, school psychologists can work to decrease or prevent bullying, aid the victims of bullying and the perpetrator. Oftentimes, the parents or parent need guidance in how to assist their child, who is involved in school bullying. School psychologists are outstanding advocates for improving and strengthening the relationship between the school and families of the students.

Research has demonstrated bullying is associated with aggression. Schools endeavor to maintain a violence-free environment and preventing bullying is an integral aspect of their objective. The results of bullying to the victim can directly impact their school performance. Bullying is responsible for reduced levels of emotional/psychological well-being, inability to make social adjustments, psychological issues, and physical/medical problems (Jacobsen & Bauman, 2007). The behavior is considered bullying when the following aspects are present: the intention is to inflict harm, repeated behavior, and a clear difference in power between the bully and their victim (Jacobsen & Bauman, 2007).

The services and assistance provided to families become especially important when they have children with special needs or developmental delays. School psychologists can help the family understand their child’s challenges and guide the parents or parent through the specialized education procedures. They are also instrumental in ensuring the family is in touch with services provided by the community. The need for assistance provided by school psychologists increases when considering the number of single parent homes and divorce rates.

In addition to direct contact with students, teachers, families, and school administrators, School psychologists spend time researching and creating developmental programs in schools’ settings. They evaluate the effectiveness of their services and treatments and how to successfully implement educational changes and restructuring (Kuther & Morgan, 2013). The salaries for school psychologists in primary and secondary schools are comparable to counseling and clinical Psychologists. In 2008, the median salary was $65,710 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). 

Now, let’s review some highlights from Week 1 to Week 4. Our discussion in Week 1 was focused on developmental Psychology. We discussed how we go through multiple changes and stages throughout our lifetime. Developmental psychologists study these changes in development and human growth, over the lifespan. Several notable developmental psychologists include Jacques Rousseau and Erik Erikson. The concerns of developmental psychologists go beyond how individuals grow, develop, and change, during their lifespan. Their concerns include the emotional, intellectual, and physical development of children, adolescents, and adults.

We discussed careers you can pursue with a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree. Two popular careers with a Bachelor’s degree are Gerontology Aide and Child Life Specialist. The work for both careers can be extremely rewarding but very emotionally draining. The median salary is about $27,280 and about 50% earned between $21,860 and $34,590 in 2008 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).

Developmental psychologists with graduate degrees have additional career opportunities, which allow them to earn higher salaries. Applied developmental psychologists integrate developmental science and practice. One aspect of their job is to conduct developmental evaluations of children who have sustained injuries or who may be delayed developmentally. Applied developmental psychologists share some objectives and tasks with clinical and counseling psychologists, but there are two distinct differences. The first difference is applied developmental psychologists do not conduct individual therapy, as performed by clinical and counseling psychologists. Additionally, their objectives are predicated on development over the life span and assisting individuals to increase their capacities (Kuther & Morgan, 2013). Employment can be found in healthcare settings, schools, human/social services agencies, and private practices.

Biopsychology, cognitive neuropsychology and clinical neuropsychology were the focus of Week 2. The breakthroughs in technology are responsible for the increased scientific knowledge in the biological sciences. Clinical neuropsychology is the application of biopsychology, within clinical and counseling contexts. Clinical neuropsychologists are tasked with developing interventions and treatment strategies to assist clients/patients to make needed adaptations/changes to regain functioning capabilities, which will facilitate independent living and enjoying the optimal quality of life. A study completed by the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, in 2011, stated the median salary of neuropsychologists was $94,100, in the United States (http://www.theaacn.org/). 

The increasing aging population in the United States is responsible for an increased need for neuropsychologists. Neuropsychology is the branch of psychology that scientifically examines the connection between how the brain functions and the thinking, feeling, and actions of an individual. Clinical neuropsychology is the applied practice of neuropsychology examining information about brain functions, assessment tools, and statistical data, involving normal and abnormal brain functions. The information is then used to evaluate an individual’s mental functioning, emotional state, resulting in providing an intervention, if needed (Frerichs, 2004).

We learned in Week 3 how clinical psychology combines science, theory, and practice to provide explanations and understanding to predict and address psychological problems and the accompanying distress. Counseling psychologists have a similar objective of working to alleviate or reduce distress associated with emotional or behavioral difficulties caused by psychological problems. Both clinical and counseling psychologists work in a variety of settings. Most counseling professions require graduate degrees for employment, however; substance abuse counselors are an exception.

Career options and financial prospects in clinical and counseling related fields expand dramatically with a graduate degree in psychology. A primary benefit of a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology is the flexibility to pursue career opportunities, which match one’s own interests. 

Week 4 was designed to help you answer the question, “What is in it for me?” We reviewed what psychology includes and how psychology students learn how to learn as they develop critical thinking and analytical skills. We discussed several ways you can make your life easier as an undergraduate college student. Do you remember PRADE and what each letter represents? Here is a listing of what each letter represented and actions you could pursue, as an undergraduate. Prepresented your professors and you were encouraged to talk with them. The R indicated research and looking for opportunities to gain research experience. Participating in extracurricular activities was A and your degree was highlighted with the letter D. The final letter of E denoted experience and discussed work experience.

You were encouraged to start working on building relationships, prior to graduating. These relationships may possibly lead to good solid references. The time spent talking and working with your professors often reaps wonderful and glowing references. 

Additional Resources:

Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

What is a neuropsychologist? -You tube

How to become a Professor in Psychology? – You tube

Psychology in the Military (Part 1) – You tube


Bain, S. F. (2012). School counselors: A review of contemporary issues. Research in Higher Education Journal, 18, 01-07.

Frerichs, R. (2004). When should an older adult be referred to neuropsychology? The Canadian Alzheimer Disease Review, vol, 04-09.

Jacobsen, K. E. & Bauman S. (2007). Bullying in schools: School counselors’ response to three types of bullying incidents.  ASCA/Professional School Counseling, 01-09.

Zambrano, E., Villarreal-Castro, & Sullivan, J. (2012). School counselors and school psychologists: Partners in collaboration for student success within RTI and CDCGP frameworks. Journal of School Counseling, 10, 01-28.

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