If you are thinking of enrolling in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in psychology, then this is a good time to do some research. You need to know about the subject and what you will learn, of course. It is also essential to know the various career paths that one can choose.
A Bachelor of Psychology program promotes a clear understanding of normal and abnormal human behavior. There are different types of specializations available to the students of the Bachelor of Psychology program at various academic institutions and universities. These include education, counseling, development, experimental, clinical, and social psychology, among others. Students also need to complete internships, perform and submit research-based capstone projects which prepare them for entry-level roles and further education like Master or Ph.D. programs in psychology. These degrees not only offer scope for personal growth, but they also open up different types of career opportunities.
Typically, psychology programs include classes like Health Psychology, Personality Theories, Marriage and Family, the Psychology of Gender, Juvenile Justice, Counseling Psychology, Organizational Theory and Behavior, Consumer Behavior, etc. Students these days have the option to enroll in a program full time, part-time, or 100% online. Usually, these take around four years or 120 credits to complete, but the requirements can vary between schools. Part-time or online programs are perfect for working professionals who wish to advance their education without leaving their full-time jobs.
Ample career options await students once they complete a degree in psychology. Learning about human behaviors and the rationale behind them form the basis of their knowledge. Their ability to gauge human behavior is an essential skill that can come in handy in different industries and occupations. Here we have compiled some of the popular career options for people with a degree in psychology.
Types of careers covered in this article include the following:
- Forensic Psychologist
- Military Psychologist
- Clinical Psychologist
- Industrial-organizational psychologist
- Mental Health Counselors
- Engineering psychologist
- Sports Psychologist
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- School counselor
School counselors play an important role in the life of all students. They not only help and guide them through career and college choices but also support their emotional and social development. Students need to complete a master’s degree in psychology while specializing in school counseling. They may also need to get additional certifications based on the state requirements where they are based. Schools that are well-funded employ multiple counselors while others may depend on one counselor to help students navigate the ups and downs of school years.
Average salary per year:$60,493
Neuropsychology works in the field of brain and cognitive science. They study the behavioral modifications which are caused by certain conditions, drug impact the nervous system, brain injury, or neurological trauma. A master’s degree in clinical neuropsychology degree is a basic necessity to start on this career path. Students usually go on to complete a doctorate in neuropsychology to work as a neuropsychologist. Neuropsychologists typically work at hospitals, universities and colleges, mental health clinics, research centers, and pharmaceutical labs.
Average salary per year:$104,407
Industrial or organizational psychology is applied discipline within the field of psychology. The main job of the industrial-organizational psychologists is to use their knowledge to manage different types of issues in the workplace. Some of the tasks that these psychologists need to perform are choosing the best employees for some specific jobs, increasing productivity among the workers, and developing market research surveys. Typically, these professionals need master’s degrees in psychology to start work in this field. However, holding doctoral degrees can be advantageous to improve overall job prospects.
Average salary per year:$116,270
Clinical psychology is one of the largest areas of employment within the field of psychology. Clinical psychologists are trained to help their clients overcome and manage various emotional and mental issues. They assess behaviors, diagnose and treat mental illness, and also work out ways to prevent these conditions from recurring. They work in various settings like mental health clinics, hospitals, and private practice. Students need to hold a doctorate in psychology to work as a professional clinical psychologist. They also need to complete supervised residency programs and clear the state licensing exams to practice professionally.
Average salary per year:$100,281
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health is considered to be one of the most significant areas in counseling psychology. Mental health psychologists perform different types of tasks that are similar to the clinical psychologists like offering mental health and psychotherapy treatment, but often for less severe cases. Their main goal is to promote and maintain the optimum mental health of their patients or clients. They help them deal with a variety of issues like substance abuse, mental trauma, bullying, depression, anger management, and stress, among many others. One needs to hold a master’s degree and along with state-based licenses to start practicing. Some go on to teach in universities as well.
Average salary per year:$159,458
Engineering psychologists have an interesting job. They use various psychological principles to solve real-world problems. This, too, is an applied discipline within the field of psychology. They focus on improving the operations, designing efficient systems and equipment to improve productivity, increasing efficiency, and minimizing the risks of accidents and injury in the workplace. Engineering psychologists need master’s degrees to get into entry-level roles. However, professionals with doctorate degrees would find better salaries and employment opportunities. A core area of their work is to study human-machine interactions and implement measures to make them more user-friendly.
Average salary per year:$97,930
Forensic psychology is a form of applied psychology that plays a critical role in the law and order system. Forensic psychologists deal with different types of psychological issues that are related to the law. Along with conducting their research, they study the research from other professionals, analyze the findings of law enforcement officials to derive their knowledge of each case. They also study the crime, crime scenes, and criminals very closely to understand their profiles, MOs, and traits that drive them. Some of the responsibilities of a forensic psychologist include developing psychological profiles of criminals, offering expert testimony, among others. Forensic psychologists can get jobs after earning master’s degrees, but a doctorate will help improve their career prospects
Average salary per year:$77,030
Sports psychology is a growing field, and professionals need to obtain a master’s degree to practice and grow in their careers. Many go on to earn a doctorate, as well. Some psychology or clinical psychology programs offer sports psychology as a specialization or elective option. Sports Psychologists work with sports teams and their coaches to help players deal with the stress and pressure of competitive sports. They employ various mental strategies to help enhance performance, keep up strenuous daily workouts, recovering from injuries, and enjoy the sports that they are in by enabling them with healthy self-esteem. They help players deal with anxiety, stay motivated, and help the team members collaborate better with each other.
Average salary per year:$72,485
Military Psychology is a specialized branch of psychology that focuses on mental health issues of the members of the army, navy, air force, marines, and other defense organizations. Primary job responsibilities include assessing and treating mental and emotional disorders, performing psychiatric evaluations, and providing counseling services to service members and their families. Students need at least a master’s degree to start practicing. However, a doctorate is preferred by most military and related organizations. Military Psychologists begin by conducting research, perform tests and evaluations, and treat mental and emotional disorders. They help defense personnel manage mental health issues, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Average salary per year:$78,970
Marriage and Family Therapist
Marriage and family therapy is a specialized field of psychology that deals with psychotherapy within the family system. These are mental health professionals who work with families, individuals, and couples to help them address various issues. They are licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of the family. While a master’s degree is a minimum requirement along with state licensure, many students go on to complete their doctorate. They treat a range of clinical issues, including marital problems, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, drug abuse, childhood autism, children’s issues, anorexia, alcoholism, and drug abuse, among many others.
Average salary per year:$72,655
What does a degree in psychology entail?
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and thought patterns. While it is quite natural for people to be curious about what people feel and think and act in the manner they do, students often wonder whether a degree in psychology is worth pursuing. For those who are deliberating on the issue, a little bit of research can go a long way. A degree in psychology equips students with different marketable skills and prepares them for a different well-paid, and exciting career. Students study the various functions of the brain like how the brain learns different languages, how it performs under stress, how mental illness can have an impact on the way it works, or how the brain remembers facts. Psychologists go on to help others manage their psychological issues and lead mentally healthier lives.
What makes a psychology degree so versatile?
The psychology graduates are well-equipped with some excellent skills such as analyzing and evaluating information, problem-solving, communicating through writing, and researching details. All of the skills are invaluable irrespective of the industry where they choose to work.
From 2018 to 2028, the percentage of overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow around 14%, which is a faster than average growth rate for most occupations. The employment of school counselors and clinical psychologists would grow even faster due to the higher demand for psychology and counseling service in hospitals, schools, social service agencies, and mental health centers. An increasing number of psychologists are needed to offer services to the aging population and help them cope with the physical and mental changes that take place with age. The same goes for trauma survivors, veterans, and people with developmental disorders like autism.
General requirements for a degree in psychology
The first step is the application process, of course. After getting enrolled at the preferred university, students can choose to pursue the major and select a specialization of their preferences. The minimal requirements for the program differ between schools, but most require a specific GPA to stay on in this program.
One vital consideration when it comes to selecting a psychology degree program is to decide whether the institution is accredited by a national or regional accreditation body. Accreditation is necessary for different reasons. Credits from the unaccredited universities or colleges may not be accepted by other institutions and sometimes even by future employers.