What Can I Do with a Psychology Degree?

Understanding the nuances of human behavior is extremely valuable in the professional world, whether it’s developing a treatment plan for a patient, analyzing customer purchasing habits, or simply negotiating a business deal. That’s why earning a psychology degree can be the starting point for almost any type of career, not just those in the psychology field. Learn more about the broad career options for psychology graduates and see where a degree in psychology can take you.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Psychology Degree?

A degree in psychology can prepare students to work in a variety of fulfilling career fields, but the types of positions that graduates qualify for depend on the level of the degree they earn. For example, only those with doctoral degrees can work in the field as psychologists. Continue reading to see what jobs can be attained by people with psychology associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

What Can You Do with an Associate Degree in Psychology?

At the associate degree level, students become familiar with the principles and theories of psychology, which they can use to get an entry-level job or use as the foundation to earn a bachelor’s degree. After completing an associate degree, which takes about two years of full-time study, graduates can qualify for a variety of positions, including:

Psychiatric aides are responsible for assisting with the care of patients. Work activities may include restraining violent patients, serving meals, and helping people get dressed.

Median Salary
in 2018

$30,860

Job Growth
(2016 to 2026)

6%

Additional Requirements

On-the-job training, including lectures and workshops, are required before you can work with patients without supervision.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology focuses on theories of the field and the scientific methods used to test and develop a psychological hypothesis. Students in these programs take courses in statistics, cognition and memory, social psychology and lifespan development, in addition to general education classes. The following are some examples of the jobs psychology bachelor’s degree holders can land.

Market research analysts use their knowledge of consumer behavior to determine what products people will buy and the price they would be likely to pay. Specific job duties include keeping abreast of sales trends, using statistical software to analyze data, and creating written reports of the information they gather.

Median Salary
in 2018

$63,120

Job Growth
(2016 to 2026)

23%

Additional Requirements

Professionals can elect to earn voluntary certification.

What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

Master’s degrees in psychology generally take about two years to complete and during that time, students build on the knowledge they gained during their undergraduate studies in order to have a deeper understanding of human behavior and social science research. In addition to taking core classes, students are able to choose a specialization—like health, industrial/organizational, and clinical psychology—that will enhance their knowledge of a particular subject based on their career goals. The following are some of the careers that students can qualify for when earning a master’s psychology degree.

Median Salary
2018

$50,090

Job Growth Rate
(2016 to 2026)

23%

Additional
Requirements?

State licensure

People who are having problems in their familial relationships turn to these professionals in order to get advice on how to resolve conflict in a healthy way, manage their feelings about their loved ones, and make decisions about the future of their relationships.

Clinical Psychology Assistant

What Can You Do with a Doctoral Degree in Psychology?

At the doctoral degree level, there is a heavy focus on psychology research, so whether students aspire to use their knowledge to teach the next generation of professionals or to provide patient care, they learn the methods that are used to conduct studies from start to finish. These degrees, which can take four to six years to finish depending on the program, also give students the opportunity to concentrate on a specific area of the field and become experts in the body of research that guides it. Here are a few career options for graduates of PsyD and PhD psychology programs.

Clinical psychologists use their knowledge and skills to help people with emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. Their work includes providing diagnostic tests, creating a treatment plan, and prescribing appropriate medications.

Median Salary
in 2018

$76,990

Job Growth
(2016 to 2026)

14%

Additional Requirements

State license, including passing score on the EPPP Exam

Where Can I Work with a Psychology Degree?

Having a deep understanding of the human mind and how it works equips psychology graduates to work in a variety of settings, even outside of the healthcare field. For example, those who want to use their understanding of behavior to influence consumer purchases can work in the marketing and advertising fields, while people who want to help improve the workplace may decide to pursue jobs in human resources or industrial/organizational psychology at private business. In addition, people with psychology degrees may work for media companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. Also, those with an entrepreneurial spirit can use their education to begin their own consulting business.

Where Do Most Psychologists Work?

After earning their credentials, psychologists are able to provide care to people, groups and businesses facing mental, emotional, and organizational health challenges in a variety of settings. The following are some of the places where psychologists can find employment.

  • Substance abuse treatment centers
  • Violence-prevention programs
  • Community health organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Family health care centers

Source: American Psychological Association

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the work settings where most psychologists work as of May 2018:

Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists

Work SettingEmployment
Elementary and Secondary Schools43,470
Offices of Other Health Practitioners18,250
Individual and Family Services7,120
Offices of Physicians6,040
Outpatient Care Centers5,840

Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

Work SettingEmployment
Scientific Research and Development Services230
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services150
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools60
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals60
Management of Companies and Enterprises40

All Other Psychologists

Work SettingEmployment
Federal Executive Branch8,010
Offices of Other Health Practitioners1,520
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools550
Outpatient Care Centers470
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals420

Psychology Degrees as a Stepping Stone: Common Career Paths After Your Undergrad

Although psychology bachelor’s degrees are the starting point that many students use to train for a career in the field, they can also take students in several other professional directions. Since an understanding of human behavior is useful in any career path, students often begin their education with a psychology degree and then move on to other disciplines. The following are some examples of the areas that psychology graduates can move on to.

Lawyer

Attorneys can use their psychology background to be successful with negotiations, choose a jury during a trial, and examine witnesses during court proceedings. They are required to obtain a Juris Doctor (JD) degree and pass the state bar examination in order to practice law.

Teacher

Psychiatrist and other Physicians

Physical or Occupational Therapist

Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or School Counselor

Social Worker

Criminal Investigator