Learn More About What Your Bachelor's Degree Can Do for Your Career
Whether you already have a bachelor's degree in psychology from your college years or you're considering going back to school to jump-start a career, you might be wondering how you can put that degree to good use. Both going back to college and switching focus in your career can be stressful for a working mother who's limited for time, attention, energy and, perhaps, money. Psychology is the second most popular college major, so it can be a competitive field.
You might naturally think that a degree in psychology leads to being a psychologist, but that's a career that typically requires an advanced degree. Although that might be the path you plan to take, first take stock of the job opportunities available to you with a bachelor's. Both clinical and nonclinical positions may be available.
Substance abuse counselor: These professionals work with people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction or other substance abuse problems. The position requires at least a bachelor's degree, plus an applicable license, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; however, some states or employers might require a master's degree, so do your research. Substance abuse counselors provide support and non-medical treatment to help patients recover from their addictions. It's a fast-growing occupation, says the BLS, and it pays a median of $42,150 per year.
Psychiatric technician: One position within a clinical setting available to people with psychology degrees is psychiatric technician, a professional who works closely with patients who need aid with hygiene, rehab programs and medication administration. It's a physically demanding job, says the BLS, and pays a median of $28,670 annually.
Social worker. Although social workers often have a bachelor's degree in social work, some might have an background in psychology instead. Social workers connect with people and communities that are in need of assistance and help manage the problems. For example, a social worker might work with a family whose children have been placed in foster care to direct the situation to a place where the children can return to the family home. They also help clients find community resources, such as social benefits, childcare and health care. Social workers earn a median of $46,890 per year.
Careers Outside the Psychology Field
Human Resources: Psychology majors often succeed in business careers that are focused on helping people, as well as figuring out the best fit for candidates and employees. Human resources personnel also help solve conflicts in the workplace, as well as recruiting, interview and placing job candidates in appropriate positions. The BLS states that human resources specialists earn a median of $59,180.
Training specialist. Training and development specialists who majored in psychology can put their degree to work by figuring out the best methods to help various people succeed in the workplace. These trainers plan, conduct and administer programs that train employees to improve workers' skills and knowledge of a certain industry. Their median pay is approximately $59,000, according to the BLS.
Obtaining an Advanced Degree
If you want to work as a marriage and family therapist or clinical psychology, you must earn a master's degree. The master's might also be a stepping stone to a doctoral degree, which is required for careers such as experimental psychology and psychiatry.
You can choose from two types of doctoral degrees: The Ph.D., which is often known as a research degree for someone who works in academia or wants to emphasize engaging in research, or a Psy.D., which focuses more heavily on working directly with patients.
- Psychology Today: 14 Career Options for Psychology Majors
- American Psychological Association: Frequently Asked Questions About Grad School
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Social Workers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Training and Development Specialists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Psychiatric Technicians and Aides
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
- The Princeton Review: Top 10 College Majors
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.