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What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree?
For many, the obvious answer is become a psychologist, or some other form of mental health professional. But in reality, the applications for a psychology degree are vast.
A basic understanding of human behavior, motivations and effective communication is the foundation of nearly any career.
If you’re considering pursuing a degree in psychology, here are some of the most common career paths for graduates.
Mental Health and Human Services
A psychology degree helps mental health and social professionals communicate and build rapport with their clients.
Popular jobs in mental health and human services include:
- Psychiatric or Mental Health Technician: Technicians typically provide therapeutic care for people who have mental illnesses or disabilities. Their responsibilities include duties like leading patients in therapeutic activities and helping patients with daily living activities.
- Case Manager: Case managers provide advice and counseling to people in difficult situations. To excel at this career, case managers need to possess empathy, as well as critical-thinking skills and a deep understanding of human nature and behavior—all skills taught in psychology programs.
- Rehabilitation Specialist: These specialists assist people struggling with physical and mental disabilities, helping them reintegrate into society and become more self sufficient. You’ll benefit from a master’s degree, but a bachelor's degree in psychology is also adequate preparation for this career.
- Social Services Specialist: If you choose a career in social services, you can find jobs at nonprofit organizations and government agencies providing community support, direct client counseling and various management services.
Advancing Your Career in Mental Health and Human Services
For many who are interested in the mental health field, their ideal career is as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. In these cases, the B.S. in Psychology is the first step toward achieving their career goals.
To become a clinical psychologist you will need to get a minimum of a master’s degree, but most practicing psychologists have their doctorates. Psychiatry requires a medical degree in addition to residency requirements.
Starting in one of these entry-level positions is a great way to gain hands-on experience that will benefit you if you choose to pursue a graduate or medical degree.
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Business and Organizational Management
A psychology degree helps business professionals effectively interact with their coworkers, clients and customers to build valuable relationships for the business. Popular jobs within businesses and organizations include:
- Human Resources Manager: As a human resources manager, your interpersonal skills will help new employees transition into their positions, allow you to effectively mitigate conflict and uphold responsible business practices within your organization.
- Business Administrator: If you work in business administration, you’ll use your communication skills and understanding of human behavior to increase operational efficiency, as well as improve employee satisfaction and performance.
- Sales Specialist: Prospective employers look for sales team members who are persuasive and communicate effectively. Psychology graduates combine the best of both worlds with their understanding of human motivations and behavior, as well as their expertise in written and verbal communication.
- Career Coach: Assist clients in identifying personal goals, expanding leadership skills and planning career moves. You’ll work day-to-day helping clients search for new jobs, provide feedback on resumes and prepare for job interviews.
Advancing Your Career Prospects in Businesses
Gaining practical experience is key to advancing in the business world. In addition to your bachelor’s degree, internships and relevant work experience will make you stand out as a candidate. If you’re looking to pursue a leadership or executive role, you may benefit from getting a master’s degree.
A psychology degree helps teachers understand how people think and interact, so they can help them learn more effectively.
Popular jobs in the education field include:
- Career Counselor: Use your knowledge of self discovery to help students and job-seekers reach their full potential. You’ll work with them to assess their interests and skills to guide them toward successful careers.
- Childcare Workers: Use your knowledge of psychology to aid in the growth and development of children in daycares, after-school programs and other childcare settings.
- Teacher: If you love working with children, classes in child psychology can make you an ideal candidate for teaching positions at the elementary and middle school level. To satisfy he educational requirements necessary, you will need to take additional courses as part of a teacher preparation program that will allow you to teach at a variety of levels.
Advancing Your Career Prospects in Education
If you’re interested in teaching at the postsecondary level or performing academic or clinical research, you will most likely need to get your Ph.D. Graduates who choose this route are often interested in pursuing psychological experiments to further knowledge and expertise within the field.
Marketing and Advertising
A psychology degree teaches marketers to understand consumers’ motivations and influence their decision making.
Popular jobs in marketing and advertising include:
- Market Researcher: Use your skills of statistical analysis to collect data, conduct interviews, and synthesize insights that allow companies and agencies to gain detailed information on their consumers.
- Account Manager: Account managers work at advertising agencies and manage day-to-day client relationships. Interpersonal skills and an understanding of human behavior are extremely beneficial to these roles.
- Copywriter: Psychology programs involve extensive writing. Pair this experience with your knowledge of persuasion to develop messaging that convinces consumers to make a purchase.
Advancing Your Career Prospects in Marketing and Advertising
In addition to your degree in psychology, gaining practical experience in marketing and advertising will make you stand out as a candidate.
If you’re new to this field, look for internship opportunities that will expose you to the day-to-day responsibilities of the job you’re interested in. If you’re looking to change careers or advance in this field, try to build relationships with other professionals, take advantage of networking opportunities, or participate in workshops and seminars specific to your chosen career path.
A psychology degree trains criminal justice professionals to understand and affect human behavior in a societal context.
Popular jobs in criminal justice include:
- Probation and Parole Officer: Work with individuals who have been convicted of crimes to monitor and track behaviors, make recommendations to the courts and help those who have been released reintegrate into society.
- Corrections Officer: Corrections officers work in jails and prisons to keep order and enforce rules. A psychology degree can prepare you to deal with interpersonal relationships and conflict management issues that arise on the job.
- Law Enforcement: Understanding human behavior is key to solving cases and catching criminals. Effective communication skills are also needed for everyday work interacting with and protecting the public.
Advancing Your Career Prospects in Criminal Justice
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a forensic psychologist, a role that works to understand criminal motivations, catch offenders and prevent crime, you’ll need to get your master’s degree or higher. This career path is often seen as the intersection of psychology and law, and therefore requires a higher level of education and experience to be successful.
Pursuing Your Career in Psychology and Related Fields
There are endless ways to use a psychology degree to start a career, transition to a new one, or increase your advancement opportunities.
Since psychology programs are so flexible, the key to starting on the correct path is to find a program that allows you to specialize in your area of interest. The right program will give you the foundational skills in psychology and human behavior, while also letting you pursue an area of expertise—like child psychology, organizational psychology or sport psychology.
If you’re looking for a flexible program that will help you get your bachelor’s degree in psychology, explore Franklin University’s B.S. in Psychology.