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Digitally disrupted: The future of psychology

Continuing our Future Jobs blog series, we have Program Director of Psychology, Nikki Rickard, discussing the future of the Psychology industry and the prospects for Swinburne Online graduates in the years to come.

Job Outlook

Psychology is among the fastest growing career areas. While job prospects for psychologists and psychiatrists have always been strong, what we’re seeing is an increase in training and jobs for allied mental health roles and support roles, such as social workers, mental health aids, client support workers and counsellors. 

Psychologists are also progressively being included in organisational teams to improve performance and well-being of staff, and in schools to support the wellbeing of students. 

There are likely to be increasing roles for psychologists in promoting social connectedness, positive emotions and meaning in all members of the community, not just those with mental illness.

Technology presents an opportunity, not a threat

Psych-related jobs won’t be ‘replaced’ by technology. In fact, technology will be a powerful enabler for delivering the psychological support people need. 

For example, internet based services can help people find the right mental health professional for their needs, and in their area.  Apps are becoming available that will offer support to a user in between scheduled visits with their psychologist, as well as keep them engaged in their treatment. 

Importantly, many people with mental health issues don’t realise they need support, or are too embarrassed to ask for help. Technology can play a crucial role in filling this gap in a confidential way – raising people’s understanding of mental health, and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.

Rural Shortage

One of the benefits of online learning is that students can study accredited psychology programs even if they’re living in very remote areas. 

There is a shortage of psychologists in rural/remote areas so it’s possible that the introduction of programs like our online Psychology degree will help increase the number of registered psychologists in these areas. 

Technology can also be a lifeline for people living remotely with limited access to face to face support – live psychological sessions is likely to increasingly use technology like Skype to increase accessibility for patients. 

Part-time is not a dirty word 

Psychologists have a below-average proportion of full time jobs, but that’s not a bad thing! Often we have our hand in several pies – we are trained in the ‘scientist-practitioner’ model, with so many psychologists continue to be involved in research and supervising trainee psychologists when they’re not practising. This means that their practising role is often part-time, allowing them to continue in other roles for one or two days a week.