What Can I Do with a Psychology Degree?

A degree in the field of psychology can support a gratifying career across a wide array of industries. Let’s dive into the types of degrees in this discipline, what you can do with a psychology degree, and the careers an education in psychology could prepare you to pursue.

Types of Psychology Degrees

One advantage of choosing this degree path is an ability take a tiered approach to your education, earning degrees consecutively and qualifying yourself for meaningful, real-world work experience with each milestone. Psychology degrees you can earn include:

  • An associate or two-year degree in psychology
  • A bachelor’s or four-year degree in psychology
  • A master’s degree in psychology, generally two additional years beyond a bachelor’s degree

The kinds of positions available to you depend on the highest level of education you achieve. In most cases, your earning potential increases as your level of education increases.

Jobs for Psychology Majors with a Bachelor’s Degree

There are a multitude of vocations you can enter with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, ranging from a career counselor for high school students to a victim advocate for those impacted by a crime. Let’s explore how you can put your bachelor’s degree in psychology to work.

Career Counselor

Career counselors help students choose an educational path and eventual occupation based on their strengths and interests. Sometimes called guidance counselors, they generally work in schools and administer career aptitude tests, assist students in applying to colleges, and help them prepare for their job search.

Research Assistant

Another impactful career you might choose with a degree in psychology is research assistant. In this role, you’ll have the opportunity to advance science and medicine by collecting data through interviewing, observation, survey administration, and more. Research assistants often work in hospitals and clinics.

Case Manager

Patient care is often multifaceted and requires coordination of care. Case managers organize patient care in these complex cases to ensure appropriate collaboration between providers, departments, and facilities while serving as a primary point of contact for patients and their families. There are other types of case managers in other industries, like housing case managers, who help people at risk of homelessness find and maintain housing.

Technical Writer

As the name suggests, technical writers draft technical materials like policies, instruction manuals, and reports for businesses. Those with a background in psychology might draft policies and procedures for use in clinical settings or language for mental health software applications. Technical writers well-versed in psychology are often employed in clinical research, where they author clinical study reports.

Human Resource Advisor

A degree in psychology can prepare you for a career as a human resource advisor. Human resource advisors advise companies on manners related to their people: policies, procedures, and practices around employment. Psychology lends well to human resources because understanding how employees think and behave and then using that information to drive positive organizational change is central to the discipline.

Victim Advocate

Victim advocates are central to a crime victim’s experience with the justice system. While most of the key players in the criminal justice system are focused on the perpetrator, victim advocates are entirely focused on supporting those who were hurt by the crime. They provide resources, emotional support, crisis intervention services, safety planning, and more while guiding victims through the criminal justice process.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors use their psychology degree to advise and support people struggling with addiction or substance use disorders. In this role, you would evaluate new clients, create goals for treatment, and help people develop the skills and strategies they need to recover from addiction. The need for substance use counselors continues to increase, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a job outlook of 18 percent through 2032, much faster than the average estimated growth for all occupations (3 percent).

Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists are responsible for creating and delivering content in an employment setting. They might also monitor compliance with mandatory training, assess the efficacy and value of existing development programs, and manage logistics, like scheduling and coordinating classes.

Probation Officer

Probation officers supervise formerly incarcerated individuals who have served their time and are reintegrating into the community. Probation officers provide guidance and direction as their parolees overcome adversity and work to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They’re also responsible for monitoring compliance with conditions ordered by the court, like community service and drug testing. Most probation officer jobs are government positions.

Rehabilitation Specialist

Rehabilitation specialist positions often require a psychology degree. Rehab specialists help clients with physical or mental disabilities live as independently as possible. Rehabilitation specialists may also work in the foster care system, helping children experiencing mental or emotional difficulties.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Degree in Psychology?

Earning a master’s degree in psychology unlocks a variety of positions in the study of human behavior, ranging from school psychologist to college professor.

School Psychologist

School psychologists address the mental, emotional, and behavioral issues that impede learning on an individual and an institutional scale. Students who choose school psychology might consider it a calling, rather than a career, because they can influence positive change and, in some cases, see it unfold.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, improving the quality of life for those they serve. Clinical psychologists work for clinics, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and private practices. They can serve patients of all ages and backgrounds, but many specialize in treating specific conditions like eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression.

Social Worker

Social workers assist people facing illness and adversity. They help them identify their strengths, set goals, and find resources to meet their basic needs. Social workers often advocate for the populations they serve in hopes of improving the services and support available to them. Clinical social workers can also diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, much like clinical psychologists.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists counsel individuals, couples, and families, providing strategies for communication, conflict resolution, and behavior change to improve and strengthen relationships. While most marriage and family therapists work in private practices, they can also work for substance abuse treatment centers, mental health treatment centers, and government agencies. This is another industry with much faster-than-average growth, as predicted by the BLS.

Sports Psychologist

Sports performance is largely dependent on an athlete’s state of mind. Sports psychologists help athletes improve their performance by addressing the psychology of physical competition: motivation, resilience, teamwork, visualization, and more. As a sports psychologist, you can help high school, college, and professional athletes perform at the peak of their abilities every day.

Behavioral Health Professional

Behavioral health professional is a catch-all term used to describe a throng of disciplines: clinical psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and other clinicians and counselors. All these specialists have one thing in common: they work to improve patients’ overall well-being by diagnosing and treating emotional, mental, and behavioral health issues.

College Professor

Once you’ve earned your master’s degree, you’re qualified to teach psychology and related subjects at many colleges and universities. In today’s digital world, many students go on to become mental health professionals by day and part-time professors by night, teaching an online or on-campus course each semester.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists focus on psychology within the criminal justice system. They perform evaluations to make recommendations for child custody, treatment, and sentencing. They can help lend insights into the motivations and patterns of criminals. Their role is unique in that they provide services to nearly all audiences: law enforcement, offenders, victims, and others engaged in the legal system. Forensic psychologist positions typically require a master’s degree in psychology.

Take the Next Step Toward Your Psychology Degree

Whether you’re embarking on post-secondary education for the first time or thinking about going back to school after a hiatus, Excelsior University has a path to achievement that meets your needs. Our team is standing by to help you unlock new careers with a psychology degree. Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Psychology offered at Excelsior University or apply now to get started!