Psychologists specialize in a host of different areas within the field and identify themselves by many different titles. Some of those areas are clinical, counseling, developmental, forensic, health, industrial/organizational, rehabilitation, school, social, and sports. Additionally, many psychologists teach psychology in academic institutions from high schools to graduate programs in universities.
Students who wish to enter the work world with a bachelor’s degree in psychology can find work related to their major in various mental health settings, human resources offices, rehabilitation settings, social service agencies, criminal justice services, childcare facilities, and substance abuse counseling centers.
But the study of psychology at the bachelor’s level is also a fine preparation for many other professions. A degree in psychology provides the student with good research and writing skills, problem-solving ability, and well-developed higher-level thinking. Most people with bachelor’s degrees in psychology find jobs in areas such as administrative support, public affairs, education, business, sales, service industries, health, the biological sciences, and writing.
Psychology majors have many qualities that are attractive to job recruiters. Employers find that psychology graduates possess strong people skills. And psychology majors also value these skills themselves. They can play an important role in many careers.
Competition for positions in psychology-related jobs is keen and a master’s degree increases the chances of getting one of those positions. Many people find jobs in health, industry, education, universities, government, and private companies.
Psychologists with master’s degrees often work under the direction of a doctoral psychologist, especially in clinical, counseling, school, and testing and measurement psychology. Some jobs in industry, such as organizational development and survey research, are held by both doctoral- and master’s-level graduates. But industry and government jobs in training, data analysis, and general personnel issues are often filled by professionals with master’s degrees in psychology.
As might be expected, the highest-paid and greatest range of jobs in psychology are available to doctoral graduates. Furthermore, unemployment and underemployment rates for doctoral psychologists are slightly below the average for other scientists and engineers. Few drop out of the field.
The greatest expansion of career opportunities for doctoral psychologists in recent decades has been in the subfields of clinical, counseling, school, health, industrial, and educational psychology.
Section VIII has more information on post-graduate careers.