Psychology career overview

Psychology professions are often very diverse, and the choice of work mainly depends on factors such as the type of degree held, the length of experience, and the chosen professional field. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, psychology was ranked as the fourth most popular university major in the United States from 2016 to 2017.

Although the options for those with an undergraduate degree in psychology are often more limited, there are many different entry-level jobs to choose from. Some of these jobs are directly related to psychology, but many jobs have nothing to do with psychology.

A master’s or doctoral degree usually leads to higher salaries and stronger promotion opportunities.

Entry-level psychology career

An undergraduate degree in psychology can be used as a good foundation for further study of the subject. However, in 2017, as many as 56% of students who received a bachelor’s degree did not continue to graduate school.

The US Department of Labor reports that employment opportunities at this level are often more limited, but there are still some options. Common jobs for bachelor’s degree holders include psychiatric technicians, case managers, and rehabilitation specialists. Other positions that may only have a bachelor’s degree include:

  • Child care worker
  • University Admissions Counselor
  • University recruiters
  • Orthopedic therapist
  • Financial aid consultant
  • Probation officer
  • Research assistant
  • Youth Counselor

It is also common for people with a bachelor’s degree in psychology to work in fields that may not be directly related to the subject. For example, many people find jobs in areas such as management, sales, human resources, and marketing.

Although many entry-level occupations are not directly related to psychology, they draw on the principles of social science and psychology.

Graduate degree options

For those who decide to continue their studies at graduate level, there are many options to choose from. Psychology has many different subfields and various types of psychologists.

Health career

Some people choose to focus on health-related occupations centered on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. These psychologists usually work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or private clinics, and work directly with clients experiencing symptoms of mental or mental disorders. Such positions may include:

Research occupation

In contrast, other psychologists mainly focus on research. They often study specific topics, such as the brain, memory, or attention, and are often employed by universities.

In addition to conducting psychological research, they can also teach undergraduate and graduate courses. Psychology careers related to research include:

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Applied Occupation

Other psychologists work in areas that enable them to solve real-world problems. For example, they may design work spaces to maximize safety and productivity, or work in a legal environment to evaluate suspects. Some positions in applied psychology include:

Employment prospects

The U.S. Department of Labor publishes their “Occupational Outlook Handbook” every year,” These include projected employment growth or decline in various occupations in the coming years. According to their predictions, the psychology profession is expected to grow at a rate of 3% between 2019 and 2029.

This overall forecast is roughly the same as the average for all occupations. Some important things to remember when looking at job prospects:

  • Demands may vary: actual growth in various professional fields may vary. For example, due to the increased demand for psychological services in hospitals and schools, the demand for clinical and school psychologists is expected to increase.
  • Personal factors play a role: It is important to consider that factors such as education, training, and experience will also affect the job prospects of individuals engaged in psychology. Those who have advanced degrees in their chosen major are more likely to get the highest positions and higher salaries.
  • Certain fields are more competitive: Certain occupations may become more competitive. In fields where there are few jobs but many qualified applicants, you may need to find something to give you an advantage over the competition.

Social and economic factors, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, may affect the job prospects of psychologists. The impact of the pandemic on mental health may also drive demand for more psychology professionals.

Education and training requirements

An undergraduate degree in psychology can provide an excellent background for different entry-level jobs. But keep in mind that if you are interested in becoming a psychologist, you need to obtain a graduate degree in psychology.

If you are considering a career in psychology, it is important to first consider your interests and goals. When you plan your future career:

  • Do your research: Spend some time researching your options and investigating graduate programs that suit your specific interests.
  • Meet your needs: Although each course may provide a strong psychology background, the scope and focus of each course are different.
  • Choosing a major: The aim is to find a course that allows you to focus on your professional field and pursue a career of your choice after graduation.
  • Develop an education plan: The exact education and training requirements vary depending on the field of expertise you choose.
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For example, if you want to be a school psychologist, you need at least a master’s degree in school psychology or an education specialist degree-although many people may choose to get a doctorate in this subject. In addition, school psychologists must complete a one-year internship and obtain a permit to work in their state.

In contrast, if you are interested in becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, then you must complete an accredited doctoral degree program in clinical psychology, complete an internship, and pass a state licensing exam.

Make sure you understand all the education and licensing requirements that you need to complete to work in a specific professional field.

Occupations you might consider

If you are not sure which type of psychology career might interest you, it would be helpful to learn more about some of the available options. The following are just a few of the many career options you may choose.

Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychology is the largest single employment field in the field of psychology. Clinical psychologists evaluate, diagnose, and treat people with psychological or psychiatric disorders. They usually work in hospitals, mental health clinics or private clinics.

To become a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctorate in clinical psychology, and most states require at least one year of internship. Most clinical psychology graduate school courses are quite competitive.


Counselors help people with a variety of problems, including marriage, family, emotional, education, and substance abuse problems. Nearly half of counselors work in healthcare or social welfare institutions. Others work for state and local governments. Typical work settings include:

  • Colleges and universities
  • K-12 school
  • hospital
  • Mental Health Clinic
  • Private practice

Although the requirements vary, almost all states require at least a master’s degree to become a licensed consultant.

Engineering psychologist

Engineering psychologists use psychology to study how people interact with machines and other technologies. These professionals use their understanding of human thinking and behavior to help design and improve technology, consumer products, work and living environments.

For example, an engineering psychologist might redesign a product as part of a team to make it more efficient and easier to use in the work environment. People working in academic institutions reported the lowest income, while others in the private sector reported higher salaries.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply psychology to criminal investigation and legal fields. This field may not be as compelling as described in popular culture, but it is still an exciting career choice with great potential for development.

Forensic psychologists often work with other experts in the legal system to deal with family, civil, or criminal issues. They may participate in child custody assessments, review insurance claims, assess mental health issues in criminal cases, and provide expert testimony.

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Most forensic psychologists have a Ph.D., although the options for a master’s degree may be limited.

Health psychologist

Health psychologists are interested in how psychological, emotional, and social factors affect health and disease. They often work in hospitals or government agencies to help promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease.

For example, they may study the causes of health problems, manage community health plans, and help people choose healthy behaviors. Health psychologists usually have a doctorate in psychology or a doctorate in psychology.

Industrial organization psychologist

Industrial Organization (IO) psychologists focus on workplace behaviors, usually using psychological principles to increase worker productivity and select employees that are most suitable for a particular job. There are several different areas of expertise in industrial organizational psychology. For example, some IO psychologists train and evaluate employees, while others evaluate job applicants.

Although there are some employment opportunities at the master’s level, there is greater demand for those with a doctorate in industrial organization psychology. Professionals with a PhD also tend to get higher salaries.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, I/O psychologists should expect job competition due to the large number of qualified people working in the field.

School psychologist

School psychologists work in an educational environment to help children deal with emotional, academic, and social issues. School psychologists also work with children with behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and other needs.

Due to increased interest in children’s mental health and federal education legislation, school psychology has become one of the fastest growing fields. However, it is important to note that the employment of these professionals depends on local and state budgets, which may affect the number of jobs available.of

Sports psychologist

Sports psychologists focus on the psychological aspects of sports, including topics such as motivation, performance, and injury. The two main areas of sports psychology focus on helping improve athletic performance and using exercise to improve physical and mental health.

Sports psychologists work in a variety of environments, including universities, hospitals, sports centers, private consulting agencies, and research institutions.

Very good sentence

Psychology is a very diverse field, and careers can range from those focusing on mental health to those focusing on research. People interested in a career in psychology should take the time to carefully study their options to determine which field of expertise suits their needs, interests, and goals.