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Careers in Positive Psychology

Positive psychology focuses on bringing the best out in people by enhancing human strengths such as joy, responsibility and achievement, rather than treating mental illnesses. Professionals who complete a master’s or doctoral degree in positive psychology can become organizational psychologists, school psychologists, life coaches or psychology lecturers. Positive psychologists work under different names in a variety of settings.

Improving the Workplace

Industrial psychologists with a background in positive psychology are often hired to study the behavior of employees and identify ways to improve productivity. For example, they might use their knowledge of human behavior in different environments to create workplace designs that are intended to boost employee morale. During recruitment drives, industrial psychologists help human resources managers select workers who are well suited to the organization, and contribute to the development of workplace motivation and reward programs. In 2013, industrial psychologists earned a mean annual wage of $87,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Instructing Students

With a doctoral degree in positive psychology, you can be hired by colleges, professional schools and universities to teach students pursuing graduate degrees in positive psychology. Your job will involve developing instructional plans for the positive psychology program, administering instruction through methods such as case studies and debates, administering examinations and assessing students’ work. You will also spend a significant amount of time conducting research to gather new information on positive psychology and publishing your findings in academic journals. The mean annual wage for postsecondary psychology teachers was $76,060 in 2013, according to the BLS.

Enhancing Positive Learning

Schoolchildren can benefit from learning skills that increase positive emotion, resilience and engagement. Because of this, elementary and secondary schools often hire school psychologists with degrees in positive psychology to help in the implementation of positive education. These specialists also address learning and behavioral problems in students and counsel students and their families. The BLS reports that clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned an average annual salary of $72,710 in 2013.

Guiding Clients

Another career you can pursue with a master’s degree in positive psychology is life coaching. Working from a private office or for a consultancy firm, life coaches help clients find the motivation, energy and inspiration to reach their full potentials. In this role you might work with clients looking to overcome career stagnation, move on from a divorce or mend broken marriages. Effective life coaches must design coaching plans based on client’s strengths, weaknesses and limitations. Life coaches earned an average annual salary of $115,000 in 2014, according to Simply Hired, an occupational resources website.



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