4 Signs That a Career in Health Psychology Is Right for You

Female doctor shakes hand of African-American male patient who is smiling in wheel chair

Psychology is a dynamic career field in part because there are so many specialization choices, one of those being health psychology. Specialists in health psychology work at the intersection of psychological science and physical health. If you choose to become a health psychologist, you will study the social, biological and psychological factors that motivate medical and lifestyle decisions. You will study why some patients handle illnesses well and others do not, and why some patients follow medical advice and others do not. When you graduate, you will be able to work with patients to support their wellness, and within communities to advance public health. A career in health psychology might be a good fit for you if:

You have a passion for living life well (and you want to share it with others)

A career in a field that you are truly passionate about will never feel like work to you. You may do well in health psychology if you are fascinated by the interplay of behavioral health and physical health. The patients you will work with will look to you to set a good example of an ideal lifestyle. If you follow your own guidance, then your advice to your patients will be that much more authentic and compelling. People who have a passion for living life well often make great patient educators because they have personally experienced the benefits for themselves.

You feel called upon to help others overcome health challenges

Health is one of the many things in life that is often taken for granted until it is taken away. Perhaps you are already attracted to the idea of servant leadership, and you may feel called on to help others throughout your community. A career in health psychology will let you do this every day. Imagine the wonderful feeling you will get when a patient you have counseled is finally able to quit smoking, lose weight or get control of chronic stress.

Preventive medicine appeals to you

Counseling patients to make lifestyle and behavioral changes for the sake of healing from disease is at the core of what health psychologists do, but this field also has a strong emphasis on preventive medicine. As a health psychologist, you can help your patients to better understand the external and internal factors that influence their everyday decisions. And when they understand themselves better, your patients become empowered to make healthy, informed decisions.

You feel comfortable within challenging environments

Emotional resiliency is an important characteristic of effective health educators. You should feel confident about working in hospital and clinic settings. You might also choose to work in hospice programs. Hospice programs are not intended to work toward remission or a cure for patients. Rather, the goals are centered on grief counseling and palliative care to improve physical comfort. Within this setting, you can support the emotional and spiritual health of hospice patients and their families.

Join a vibrant, Christian learning community and work toward building your career as a health psychologist at Grand Canyon University. You can click on the Request More Information button on this page or visit our website to find out more about our College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Working professionals love our flexible online and evening classes.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.