Performance psychology is associated with the study of the psychological factors that contribute to performance. While it has its beginnings in sports, it can be carried over to other areas such as business, military, and performing arts. Sports teams hire a psychologist to work with their players, while artists employ the services of a performance psychologist to help them improve their technique and excel in their chosen career.
Achieving a master’s in performance psychology will allow the graduate to work in many careers and can be ideal for someone with a background or undergraduate degree in a secondary industry, such as fine arts or business. Graduates will find they have much different career options than other students of psychology.
Why a Master’s Degree in Performance Psychology?
Performance psychology graduate programs enable students to approach their favorite sports using various psychological theories and schools of thought. In addition, as more businesses and other industries focus on new ways to be competitive, they will use psychology in order to understand the relationship between human behavior and sales or product use. This field also plays a role in human resources as more businesses seek to find ways to improve employee morale or create a stronger team attitude. As more people understand the importance of motivation and psychology with improved performance, this area of psychology will expand. The field of performance psychology is ideal for many psychology bachelor’s degree holders looking to attend a specialized program.
Getting into a Performance Psychology Master’s Program
Each institution will have specific requirements that must be met for admission into its psychology graduate program. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not required for admission into a master’s-level performance psychology program, but students who earn a degree in a different field may be required to take additional courses prior to enrollment.In addition, the student should list any background in sports that they have in their past. Even though performance psychology is not strictly based on sports, it is part of the curriculum and will serve the student well.
Many performance psychology programs will also require an essay on why the student wants to be in the program and what they can contribute. Each student is usually asked to state his or her future career goals upon completion of the program, and may need to provide references that can attest to his or her long-term plan.
Inside a Performance Psychology Master’s Degree Program
Each institution has its own requirements, but at least 54-60 credits are required to complete most accredited programs. In addition, the student must many required courses, such as sports psychology, organizational behavior, an ethics course, a theoretical course on behavior, and psychopathology. The student will learn about about factors affecting team and individual performance. In the sports industry, this includes both individual and team sports. In other industries, they will learn how it applies to work groups or individual jobs. In addition, they will have to complete a certain amount of practical application such as working with coaches and their teams.
What’s Next for Performance Psychology Master’s Degree Holders
Once a student has completed their program and received a master’s degree, they will begin either looking for jobs that utilize this degree or continue in their studies for a doctoral degree. A popular choice for careers in this field is to work with athletes. They can counsel through injuries, low performance, and personal issues that detract from their game. Other careers for this specification include working with businesses such as manufacturing companies and marketing firms to improve employee productivity by assisting individual needs or resolving staff issues through mediation techniques.
Salaries for this career are higher than many other specializations for psychologists; according to the American Psychology Association, most sports psychologists earn between $60,000 and $80,000 every year. Jobs for psychologists in general are expected to increase above the average rates for jobs at 22-35%, and newer categories like performance psychology will continue to offer new opportunities.