Fast Growing Field: 4 Booming Mental Health Fields That Can Lead to Big Business / Industry / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The job outlook for psychology related fields is growing much faster than average; here are 4 specific fields that could pay very well.

The health care industry is one of the biggest and busiest in the world these days.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its most recent ranking of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the United States, the list was filled with many different health care-related jobs. This bodes very well for all entrepreneurs who have opened or plan to create their own practice or those who wish to run one.

If your area of expertise or interest is in mental health in particular, then you should certainly consider investing time and/or money into operating your own clinic to take advantage of the booming status of this particular field.

There are a variety of areas which have been growing steadily over recent years and which will continue to be utilized in the future. Read on for the rundown on four fields which should make for a good investment.

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Social Work

A diverse field with excellent prospects, social work has many potential areas of specialization to choose from. During training, people learn about a variety of aspects in the sector, including mental health, child protection, and more. Afterward, graduates may decide to specialize in one particular area that they are most passionate about. Alternatively, it’s also possible to move between specialties.

Many people choose to study social work, and working with children in particular, because they like the idea of connecting with, and assisting, their community. Social workers get to see first-hand the difference that their assistance has on a client’s or family’s life. They can work closely with government organizations and nonprofit services, or run their own practice.

Social workers can work with both individuals and families, helping them in beneficial ways such as providing access to resources, counseling patients, giving referrals to other health professionals, and even acting as an advocate. They may give clients access to one-on-one sessions, or assist them with finding housing, food, education, or literacy training.


Neuropsychologists also work with people of all ages, but their specialty is focused on how the brain works. In this type of psychological field, specialists spend their time assessing and rehabilitating people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or working with people with other neurological illnesses. Such problems include things like tumors, strokes, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolic disorders.

Neuropsychologists have to have both top clinical skills and an extensive knowledge of a wide variety of mental health issues and the workings of the brain. In order to specialize in the area, it’s necessary to first become a registered psychologist. This can be either within the clinical or educational psychology field.

Typically, neuropsychologists work in “acute” settings. This includes neuroscience clinics with a primary focus on the effects of neurological diseases, trauma, and neurosurgery on the brains of patients, and on subsequent brain function.

Alternatively, neuropsychologists can utilize their skills in rehabilitation centers where they provide training, support, and assessments for patients who have sustained a brain injury. Neuropsychologists can also work in research centers, or get regular work as expert witnesses in court cases.

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Forensic Psychology

Another specialist field of mental health which is growing continually and is projected to grow by about 20 percent in the next 10 years is forensic psychology. Workers in this area apply their skills, knowledge, and experience specifically to the understanding and functioning of justice systems. Forensic psychologists can complete a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Collecting and reporting on psychological evidence
  • Conducting research
  • Evaluating mental health programs
  • Performing psychological interventions
  • Conducting assessments and diagnosing patients
  • Completing forensic interviewing

This type of psychologist can work in a variety of legal contexts, and research various areas of the field. They are often of assistance in civil, criminal, and family legal cases, and regularly work to aid victims, litigants, government personnel, perpetrators, or community organizations.

People who specialize in this scientifically-based area may be employed in police departments, child protection units, rehabilitation facilities, or private practices. They are also often found working in:

  • Courts and tribunals (tasked to evaluate criminals to see if they’re fit to stand trial or not)
  • Child protection units
  • Mental health and family services
  • Prisons and community corrections facilities (both juvenile and adult)
  • Academic and policy organizations
  • Alcohol and other drug services
  • Federal governments regularly have a high demand
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology

If you have a passion for working with businesses and large organizations, industrial-organizational psychology may be the best area for you to specialize in. Work in this field and you will be tasked with using psychology to assist government agencies, companies, and other organizations to increase their effectiveness. The role is also focused on helping to improve the level of job satisfaction within groups.

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Occupational psychologists, as people in this field are often referred to, spend time:

  • Evaluating management theories and business models
  • Work on creating better or more thorough policies
  • Regularly work one-on-one with business employees to help increase productivity

Many people working in industrial-organizational psychology are also engaged to conduct screening of workers. As an example, they may test government agents, police officers, or security officers for their suitability to carry a firearm on the job.

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