What is a Community Psychologist?

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The community psychologist is a relatively new career path, but is an important one nonetheless. Who exactly is this professional and what do they do? Let’s get right to answering these very questions.

Community Psychology Explained

A psychologist is an expert in human behaviors and thinking. Traditionally, those working in this field of expertise have been strictly engaged in working with a single client or the client and several of their family members. Today, this strict path in psychology work has expanded immensely, giving birth to the field that is now community psychology.

In community psychology, the psychologist is not necessarily concerned with the single individual and their family. Working for the community means applying the psychology discipline in a broader sense, to the entire community. Here, the psychologist assesses and tries to fix community issues, viewing the community as their collective yet singular patient. According to the American Psychological Association, “Community psychologists blend research and practice, partnering with diverse citizens to plan and implement community changes, advance social justice and use research to inform and evaluate this work.”

In this role, the community psychologist may discover a community issue with underage pregnancy and consequently research methods of communally solving this issue. They might also run into substantial crime and incarceration rates. To address this, they may consult with community leaders and government officials in an attempt to reach out to this area of trouble in the community. No matter the individual project they may be working on from day to day, community psychologists are always focused on the understanding and subsequent betterment of the community they are tasked to serve.

Employers and Environs

Community psychologists are subject to be employed by a number of different groups. When employed by private companies, their tasks mainly involve assessment and data gathering as opposed to going further into community interaction and treatment attempts. This is because most for-profit employers need to understand community factors in order to maximize potential product and service profits in that area. Here the psychologist works in public environs as well as in research facilities and company offices.

The other side of community psychology sees these specialty psychologists working for government and nonprofit organizations. Their work here is concerned with overall community betterment without concerns for later profits, thus putting them deeper into the community, interacting, and also treating however possible. The psychologist working this side will spend plenty of time in the community, at community services facilities, government offices, and organization offices.

Outlook, Education, Pay

It is important to understand that due to its relative infancy as a studied profession, community psychology work is not yet fully documented with regard to statistics on pay, job outlooks, and educational requirements. We can however, accurately place this vocation within the general psychology field as identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a whole, psychologists are cited by the Bureau as having an outstanding, 19% growth rate and a median pay rate of around $94,590. These are great figures for all psychologists, including those working in the community. However, as this is a medical profession of high importance, a master’s degree in psychology as well as practice certifications are the typical, beginning qualifiers.

Related Resource: What is a Rehabilitation Psychologist?

Community psychology is rather new, but is quickly showing its importance in all areas of societal and regional health.