What Types of Jobs Are Available With A Psychology Degree?

Psychology JobsTo get an idea of the types of jobs available with a psychology degree, just think about the skills you get by majoring in psychology. Like other liberal arts degrees, psychology teaches students to analyze the world qualitatively, to communicate effectively and to develop interpersonal skills. While research and clinical positions typically aren’t open to bachelor’s degree holders, a wide range of other industries need people with the kind of understanding of human behavior that psychologists have.

It may take longer to find a job in business, marketing, politics or consumer research than it does with a degree specializing in one of these fields, but most persistent graduates eventually find jobs suited to their skills. To become a clinical psychologist, you usually need a doctoral degree, and to see patients and prescribe medication, you need a medical degree. Some psychologists with master’s degrees find work doing academic research or clinical study.

Finding Work With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

If you’re enrolled in a graduate degree program, you may be able to find entry-level academic research positions with only a bachelor’s degree. Another option is to apply to become a teaching assistant, which can pay for most of your post-graduate education. If you’re eager to join the workforce, however, you must look for jobs in other fields, such as social work, business, market research and other occupations that rely on employees with extremely sharp communication skills. To get one of these jobs, you must sell your liberal arts degree during an interview by demonstrating your critical thinking skills, focus, empathy and ability to articulate ideas.

One lucrative occupation that many liberal arts graduates overlook is the hospitality industry, which needs upper-level managers who can empathize and communicate effectively with customers. A four-year psychology degree can even be a springboard for a Master’s in Business Administration, for which some employers provide financial assistance. If you can’t see yourself working in a corporate environment, consider writing technical psychology papers, non-fiction books or advertising copy. The field of advertising is especially suited to psychology majors, who understand emotional decision-making better than most people.

How Much Can You Make With a Psychology Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology typically start out making about $31,857 per year. These job seekers usually find work in management, sales, advertising, graphic design, teaching and social work. Psychologists who continue their education to the doctoral level can expect to make about $69,280 per year, and the top-earning 10 percent of psychologists make around $111,000. Graduate degree holders who conduct industry research tend to make more money than clinical psychologists and counselors, while psychologists with private practices earn the highest incomes and set their own hours.

To become a practicing psychologist, you need a license as well as a doctoral degree. The requirements to become a licensed psychologist vary between states, and most states require a residency or internship as well as one or two years of clinical experience.

Related Resource: Graduate Fellowship

As with other degrees that focus on communication and interpersonal skills, a psychology degree prepares students for a variety of occupations. Before deciding whether to continue your education or start working, you may want to research the types of jobs available with a psychology degree.