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Types Of Jobs In Biopsychology
As with all fields of psychology, many interlinking concepts have morphed into establishing their own career paths. With the brain being interconnected to every other bodily function, it is no surprise that there is a discipline within psychology purely dedicated to the impacts of biological functions on the mind.
From the brain, neurotransmitters, and hormones, this field focuses on the actual biological composition of the human brain and how this impacts behavior, habits, and so much more.
Within the sub-field of biopsychology, there are many jobs to pursue. These include roles such as research assistants, neuro-rehabilitation managers, mental health technicians, professors, researchers, and behavioral specialists.
Let us take a deeper look at the job prospects within the field of biopsychology and how you could pursue these career paths.
What Is Biopsychology
The brain is the command center for all physical aspects of the human body. It controls all the seen functions that the body executes consciously and subconsciously, every day of our lives. However, the brain also controls our mind and our thoughts, and these fundamental, unseen aspects are uniquely human.
Over years and years of research and study, it has been found that the mind is mapped out on the brain, with certain physical components controlling specific human functions. This control occurs on such a large scale that it even triggers the release of specific hormones in the human body that will result in specific functions and responses.
Biopsychology occurs at the intersection of human biology and psychology.
In this field of study, psychologists will look at biological aspects and psychological aspects of the brain that may result in specific mind functions and certain behavioral exhibitions. Biopsychology looks at why people behave in certain ways and how they may be expected to behave in the future owing to certain brain changes or abnormalities.
This field of psychology also aims to look at the role of genetics in the development of mental disorders, as well as how certain sensory inputs or stimuli can impact behavior.
Types Of Jobs In Biopsychology
At the basis of the role of biopsychologists lies the bedrock on which theories and generalizations are built – research. Research plays a fundamental role in biopsychology because it is from this research that assumptions and generalizations can be made that will influence medical theories at a later stage.
For example, the only way that biopsychologists know that language functions are lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain was by studying those with traumatic brain injury, lesions, or strokes that affect the left hemisphere of the brain and are localized to certain areas. It took extensive research to develop these conclusions.
The only way that medical practitioners can know if a certain hormone or internal chemical response impacts certain behaviors is by conducting research and analyzing blood samples, the presence or absence of said hormones would either prove or disprove theories based on these assumptions.
With research being extremely important in the field of biopsychology, a viable career path to pursue would be that of a research assistant. Playing a support role to senior researchers, research assistants will play a paramount role in field-based and lab-based data collection and analysis.
Pursuing the role of a research assistant is great when you are currently studying for a higher degree in psychology. During academic courses, you would be required to take courses that include research design and analysis. Once you obtain a doctoral degree you can then pursue higher research roles while still having acquired previous knowledge from your hands-on role as a research assistant.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social science research assistants can earn a mean annual wage of $56,430.
If a patient faces any neurological illness as a result of a mental illness, or any illness related to their brain, they will medically be advised to see a neurorehabilitation manager. This person will be responsible for the care and rehabilitation of patients, ensuring that they either get back to full health or that they are able to maintain functionality even after the effects of the mental illness.
They assist patients in recovery from all illnesses pertaining to the nervous system through specialized programs. They assist in recovery programs for seizures, chronic headaches and dizziness, and a variety of other illnesses.
Since neurorehabilitation is a medical practice, programs are usually conducted under the supervision of a senior medical practitioner.
According to the BLS, recreational therapists, which are similar in some aspects to neurorehabilitation managers or therapists, earn a median annual salary of $47,940.
Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians work closely with patients, as well as their families, to help either during their mental illness or during their road to recovery. They serve as emotional support and a source of motivation and accountability to the patient and their family in making sure that everyone works together for the good of the patient.
While a postsecondary certificate will suffice in terms of qualifications needed in the field, a bachelor's degree is recommended for success in this role. This is also a great role to pursue while completing your higher degree qualifications, as it serves as a great way of gaining experience.
According to the BLS, psychiatric technicians earn a median annual salary of $36,230.
Once you have studied hard and worked hard towards your career path, there is another facet of your career that is extremely fulfilling and that can be explored. This is the path of imparting your knowledge to others.
As a biopsychology professor, you can use your garnered expertise to train and teach others who are aspiring to pursue the same career path as you. This does involve obtaining, at the very least, a master's degree or a doctorate.
According to the BLS, psychology teachers earn a mean annual salary of $88,390.
The foundational phase of every field of psychology is deeply rooted in research. Research builds theories and develops the basis of psychological aspects. Therefore, pursuing this field will make a great contribution to the overall field of psychology.
Researchers pursue higher degrees in psychological studies and a lot of the time, their experience begins during their academic career when they conduct research as a requirement to complete their degree.
Psychiatric nurses are nursing practitioners that are specialized in providing psychological care to patients suffering from dementia, psychosis, and other psychological disorders and illnesses. Aside from providing them with psychologically specialized care, they may also provide a form of companionship and develop a relationship that is supportive to the patients.
Working in the role of a nurse often requires long and dedicated hours and stems from a deep passion and dedication to psychology as well as to the need of helping others.
According to the BLS, nurse practitioners earn an annual median salary of $123,780. Psychiatric nurses will need to have completed a degree in psychology and have a master's degree as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. They would also need to obtain the relevant licensure and certification to be a practicing nurse in the state they are hoping to work.
If the sub-field of Biopsychology interests you, and you are wondering what career path to follow, there is no end to the possibilities you could pursue. Aside from the required qualifications, you would only need a strong passion to be successful in these roles.
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