Unusual Careers for Doctorate of Psychology Graduates

  • Engineering Psychology
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Superhero Therapy
  • Correctional Psychologist
  • Traffic Psychologist

The Rorschach test. The couch and clipboard. The dream analysis. If you looked at this list and immediately thought, "Psychologist," you'd be right. But nowadays, there's so much more to getting a doctorate in psychology than becoming a traditional therapist. While this is a gratifying route for many, some graduates crave something a little more unusual. And fortunately for them, the psychology field is wide open with opportunity.

Resource: Top 25 Doctoral Programs in Psychology

Here are five unusual careers for psychology graduates.

1. Engineering Psychology

What if engineers and designers could avoid some of the design flaws in a product before it goes to market? And who would catch such flaws in the first place? Enter the engineering psychologist. This field of psychology is one of the newest, but it's gaining in popularity. Professionals from the U.S. Department of Transportation, NASA, and car companies have all employed engineering psychologists. These Ph.D.s ideally start at the beginning of a project, working with designers and developers to help iron out any kinks that a product develops throughout the design process. This creates a more perfected end product and boosts safety, user experience, and other important factors in product development.

2. Forensic Psychologist

For the person who dreams of working with the FBI or in a CSI lab, forensic psychology is the go-to choice for doctorate study. These law enforcement professionals can be invaluable when it comes to creating a profile for hard-to-solve crimes like serial killer murders. This psychologist not only takes classes in psychology, but also in criminology and civil and criminal law.

3. Superhero Therapy

It has been said that superheroes are the American version of the Greek gods. As such, they have their place in the psychologist's office. One psychologist in particular, Dr. Janina Scarlet uses superheroes like the X-Men as well as characters from novels like "The Hunger Games'" Katniss Everdeen to reach patients and to talk about challenges like PTSD. Aside from having a regular client list, she also lectures at ComicCons around the country and in other venues. For the would-be doctoral candidate who also considers him/ herself a geek, this is a cool option.

4. Correctional Psychologist

These Ph.D.s works in the correctional system, alongside attorneys, prison staff, and case workers. They help inmates modify their behavior by offering them counseling services and assisting in the development of treatment plans for inmates with clinical disorders. Their work is very collaborative. Their end-goal, aside from helping inmates, is to see to it that the correctional environment is safer for all.

5. Traffic Psychologist

What if a psychologist could uncover the factors that cause road rage? Or traffic jams? Or how a person's home or work life influences how he/ she drives. Well, at least one psychologist, Dwight Hennessy does, according to Psych Central. Like engineering psychology and sports psychology, it's an emerging, but an important field in psychology. The person who practices this branch of psychology could make the roads safer for all.

The field of psychology is wide open for interpretation much like the Rorschach test. While most doctoral students in the field go into some sort of therapy or counseling, these five examples prove that there's so much more. From the psychologist who studies traffic to the doctor who loves superheroes, these professionals are leading the creative way into something new and interesting in the field. Their careers provide an assortment of ideas for the Ph.D. candidate who wants to stay in the field of psychology, but who wants to avoid the clipboard and the couch.