Thinking about majoring in psychology? If so, that’s a smart move. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the field of psychology are expected to grow by 19% from now until 2024, which is must faster than average compared to other fields.
But numbers only tell part of the story. Your long-term career satisfaction will depend largely on the job tasks you do every day, the environment you work in, and how your job meshes with your overall life goals.
Because psychology is the study of human behavior, it has wide applications outside the traditional clinical setting that many people may imagine when hear the word “psychology. People with degrees in psychology may work in a variety of fields, sometimes doing things that may, on the surface, seem largely unrelated to their field of study.
So what job options are available to people with psychology degrees? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options, as well as some that may surprise you.
What is psychology?
On a very broad level, psychology is the study of the human mind and how it impacts behavior.
Your psychology program of study is likely to include coursework on cognitive, emotional, and social processes, as well as how those processes are affected in a variety of settings. You can expect to study data collection and analysis, scientific observation, and how to apply critical-thinking skills to problem solving related to psychological issues.
Psychology majors often develop other skills that are transferable to a wide variety of fields and work settings. Those include:
- interpersonal communication
- academic writing
- presentation creation and delivery
- abstract reasoning
- working in teams
- time management
- research and data analysis
It’s possible to get a job in psychology with an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. However, your degree level will have a definitive impact on your future career outlook and your earning potential.
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What jobs can I get with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?
There are a variety of jobs you can do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, many of which involve using psychological principles to influence behavior within different settings. Here are a few examples, along with the median salaries for each (as reported by the BLS):
- community service manager, $64,680
- human resources specialist, $59,180
- management consultant, $81,300
- sales person, $63,070
- guidance counselor, $54,560
What jobs can I get with a master’s degree in psychology?
People who graduate with a master’s degree in psychology may work in specialized areas of the field, such as sports, business, or criminal psychology.
They may also work in other related fields, applying their knowledge of human behavior to things such as human resources management or technical product design.
Salaries for people with master’s degrees in psychology are often in the range of $47,000-$91,000.
What jobs can I get with an advanced degree in psychology?
If you envision yourself working as a psychologist seeing patients in a clinical practice, plan on pursuing an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology). These are the terminal, or highest, degrees in the psychology field.
On top of these degrees, you’ll be required to get additional certifications and licenses before you begin working. For example, most states require certain credentials, as do some specialty areas of psychology.
It’s probably no surprise that people with terminal degrees are likely to be the highest earners, with salaries in the range of $72,500-$120,000.
Ten of the highest-paying jobs for people with terminal psychology degrees include:
- Industrial and organizational psychologists, who study how psychology functions in the workplace
- Neuropsychologists, who work with people who have brain injuries or diseases
- School psychologists, who support learning environments using the science of psychology
- Geropsychologists, who use a multi-disciplinary approach to help address psychological issues for aging patients
- Experimental psychologists, who work in research settings and study the scientific methods of thought and behavior
- Clinical psychologists, who interact directly with patients to make assessments and devise treatment plans
- Counseling psychologists, who work with people with who have physical, mental, or emotional disorders, to help promote positive social functioning
- Engineering psychologists, who implement the study of psychology into product design for companies
- Professors of psychology, who train aspiring psychologists
- Correctional psychologists, who work with inmates within the prison system
What jobs can I get with an associate’s degree in psychology?
An associate’s degree in psychology, which can often be earned in as little as two years, also may qualify you for a wide range of jobs, including:
- correctional officer
- police officer
- social work assistant
- psychiatric technician
People with an associate’s degree in psychology often make in the range of $30,000-$43,00 per year, although the BLS shows that police officers may make closer to $60,000.
What’s the future of psychology?
With the fast pace of change, especially as it relates to technology, the future of psychology is likely to see some big changes. As more companies seek to influence behavior with apps, wearable gadgets, and other electronic offerings, people with knowledge of psychology are likely to be in higher demand.
As recognition of the benefit of psychological services grows, psychologists are likely to be more in demand in a number of areas, especially in schools and in settings that provide counseling for post-traumatic stress for veterans.
There is also expected to be a higher demand for geropsychologists as the baby boomer generation moves into old age.
In any case, having a solid grasp of what motivates human behavior is likely to be an asset in many fields.
How to begin your studies in psychology
Taking a step toward your future in the field of psychology can be exciting. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re starting out on sound financial footing.
Be sure to check out our free NitroScore tool. There, you can compare the true cost of pursuing a psychology degree at a number of different schools, so you can get the best value for your money.