Psychologists study minds and behaviors of humans. Psychologists can work in research, in therapy, or in applied settings, such as private businesses or nonprofit groups. Most psychologists specialize in an area of psychology or in one of its applications.
Clinical psychologists help mentally or emotionally disturbed patients re-adjust to normal life. They use some combination of referrals to other doctors, psychotherapy (talking about problems and solutions), and behavior modification to help their patients. They work in counseling centers, in independent or group practices, or in hospitals or clinics. Some work in rehabilitation centers for stroke victims and other injured or ill patients. There are many sub-specialties within clinical psychology.
Psychologists are not allowed to prescribe or administer medication in most states. That is why they work with the patient's other doctors to come up with an effective treatment plan. A psychiatrist can administer drugs, since they have a medical degree. Psychiatrists can also set up private practices, do research, and work in hospitals.
Other fields include counseling and school psychology (working in schools, with a focus on child and adolescent issues). Industrial or organizational psychology is practiced in the workplace. These professionals try to improve the quality of life and productivity of workers. Research or experimental psychologists often experiment on human or animal subjects to better understand behavior and the mind.
Work conditions vary with the type of job. Clinical psychologists in practices usually work in nice offices but may have odd hours to accommodate clients. Hospitals can staff round-the-clock psychologists. Clinics and schools are open regular hours. Researchers can work long hours when under deadline. Professors may also work in research, which leads to a heavy workload.