Choosing a college major is a big step, and one of the most often asked questions when considering is a major is “what can I do with that degree?” Today, we’re covering what you can do with a psychology degree. Our list includes 10 different career paths you could take after studying psychology as an undergraduate.
1. Clinical therapist. This is probably the most commonly thought of job for a psychology graduate. To become a licensed therapist, you may need additional graduate education. Therapists help individuals and families to cope with various life situations, as well as with mental health disorders.
2. High school guidance counselor. Chances are, you’ve interacted with your high school guidance counselor, especially during your college search process. School guidance counselors help students overcome social and behavioral issues, provide counseling to students, help students achieve their academic goals, as well as help students assess potential vocations or career paths. A master’s degree is typically required for employment.
3. Substance abuse counselor. In this field, counselors help individuals coping with addiction or problem behaviors by helping them identify the underlying issues that contribute to the addiction and developing a plan for recovery. A master’s degree is required for a license in this area.
4. Forensic psychologist. These psychologists work with the judicial system. For example, they may meet with inmates or accused criminals to evaluate their mental state at the time of the offense or their competency to stand trial. They also may work with children to prepare them to testify in court or provide assessments of juvenile offenders. Contrary to what is seen on TV shows, forensic psychologists do not often investigate crimes in the field. Again, a graduate degree is typically required.
5. Industrial/organizational psychologist. In this profession, psychologists work with companies and organizations to help increase operational efficiencies, enhance communication and assist with conflict resolution. Essentially, they use various strategies to help teach people to work better. Most industrial/organizational psychologists have at least a master’s degree.
6. Health psychologist. These psychologists help patients cope with an illness and support patients as different emotions related to their illness surface. Health psychologists typically hold a doctorate degree.
7. Researcher. Universities, laboratories or the government may employ psychologists as researchers. Researchers conduct scientific studies on how the brain functions (for example, how concussions incurred during sports games impact the brain long-term). They also conduct experiments to determine solutions or therapies that best work to evaluate or change behaviors. If a researcher works at a university, he or she likely may also teach courses on psychology as well. A doctorate degree is typically required for this career path.
8. Market research analyst. This career path doesn’t require a graduate degree. Bachelor’s degree psychology graduates can get jobs in this field, which focuses on monitoring trends and sales forecasts for businesses, evaluating consumer behavior by gathering and analyzing consumer data, and developing appropriate marketing strategies.
9. Genetics counselor. Genetics counselors work in a health care setting to serve families and individuals who are undergoing genetic testing to identify their risks for certain disorders and diseases. These counselors may help a person determine what type of testing is needed, as well as help a person interpret results and understand the medical and psychological aspects of the test results. A master’s in counseling is typically needed for these jobs, but a bachelor’s degree in psychology can put you on the right career path.
10. Corporate manager. Businesses of all kinds can benefit from hiring psychology graduates in management roles. This is because psychology majors understand better how to interact with employees effectively. An understanding of psychology also can help managers understand customer behavior, which can help companies better determine how to interact with and market products to those customers.
Image credit: Courtesy of Texas A&M University – Commerce Marketing Communications via Flickr Creative Commons
Who We Are: Information you can trust. For 20 years My College Guide has produced an annual magazine chock full of free college info for high-achieving high school sophomores and another edition just for high-achieving juniors! Check out our participating colleges.
Subscribe to our blog via RSS or email and stay on top of everything college!