Depicted on television as practicing a sort of mental voodoo, psychologists and criminologists are sometimes thought to be able to read minds on a moment's notice. In the real world, those who work in psychology or criminology do strive to study and understand the inner mental processes of others. Their results, however, are rarely immediate and instead result from tireless empathy, education and experience on both an academic and personal level.
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Sometimes confused with psychiatrists, psychologists rely more on the use of psychotherapy than prescription medicine during the treatment of patients. In part, this is due to the relative minority of psychologists able to actually prescribe medication -- most are not physicians -- and the field of psychology has long remained focused on deliberate changes to behaviour through communicative and relational methods.
The breadth of job options within the field of psychology is wide, and many psychologists choose to specialise for this reason alone. Traditionally thought to serve mentally-distressed individuals, psychologists also work in many academic and scientific occupations. Examples include research scientists working in universities and clinical psychologists and cognitive therapists at hospitals and mental-health facilities. Some treat patients that are not even human -- animal psychologists may treat and study patients ranging from family pets to endangered species in the wild.
The study of crime and criminals is not filed under psychology, but the behavioural and social sciences. Psychology does play a role, and many criminologists gain a background or education in psychology, but criminologists often deal more with the study of crime and its broader social impacts rather than with individuals as patients. As such, criminologists are customarily viewed as sociologists and not psychologists.
The Princeton Review reports that, "Criminologists become police officers, FBI agents and state pathologists more than any other careers." While these may be the occupations most commonly taken by criminologists, other roles in both public and private settings may be pursued as well. Some become policy advisers for government or corporate institutions while others find work at law practices, private-investigation firms or universities.
While criminologists may enter the field with just a bachelor's degree, many criminology jobs require much more, including field training, internships and a higher education. Because criminology occupations often demand substantial investigative or research work, a background in math and science is useful, if not required.
Psychologists, by comparison, must obtain a master's or doctorate degree. Specialisation is frequently preferred, and most psychologists seek out additional training and certification in their area of expertise. Licensing is also a requirement, which may require internship or other real-world experience along with a passing score on a state examination.
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