While earning a graduate degree is required for many psychology jobs, the fact is that approximately 75% of students who earn a bachelor's degree in psychology do not go to graduate school. According to one study, only about 25% of psychology undergraduates end up working in a field that is closely related to their major. It is important to remember that a psychology degree can be used in many careers. By carefully planning your future and being aware of the different opportunities that are out there, you can find a career that is perfectly suited to your educational background, skills and personality.
1. Sales Representatives
Undergraduate psychology programs help students acquire a wide range of interpersonal skills, which can then be put to use in a number of different sales and marketing positions. Employers value skills such as the ability to speak well and communicate effectively. If you are interested in working in this field, take classes that will improve your understanding of people and human behavior. Courses in social psychology, personality and communications can be especially beneficial.
2. Advertising Agents
The art and science of persuasion is a major topic in psychology, which is why advertising is often an ideal career choice for people with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Careers in this field often involve researching the target audience for a product or message and developing advertising materials based on this research. If you are interested in a career in this field, look for ways that you can gain practical experience now. Internships are an excellent way to get experience, find professional mentors and build networking relationships in your chosen field.
3. Psychiatric Technicians
While some people with a bachelor's degree in psychology find work in other professions, some choose to work directly in the field of mental health and human services. A few potential job titles in this area include psychiatric technicians, mental health technicians and social work assistants. In most cases, these individuals work directly under the supervision and guidance of a licensed clinical psychologist or social worker. Job duties involve helping patients with basic daily needs, teaching life skills, conducting applied therapy sessions and performing related case management tasks.
4. Career Counselors
If you enjoy helping people discover their potential, then working as a career counselor can be a fulfilling choice. This job often involves helping people select a career, assisting those in the process of changing careers or providing vocational rehabilitation to individuals returning to the workforce. Some individuals choose to work with disabled adults who may need skills training, job search help, on-the-job training and regular workplace supervision.
5. Probation and Parole Officer
If you are interested in working in the field of criminal justice, you might want to consider a career as a probation or parole officer. Typically hired by local or state governments, probation and parole officers work directly with individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses. These professionals supervise offenders at home, work and school settings to track behaviors, make recommendations to the courts and coordinate with drug treatment professionals or therapists.
Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology generally requires a great deal of writing. After graduation, put those communication skills to work in a writing-related career. Some potential job titles in this area include technical writers, advertising copy writers and newspaper reporters.
7. Market Researchers
People working in the field of market research perform a variety of tasks, including conducting interviews, performing opinion polls, collecting data and interpreting results. A bachelor's degree in psychology prepares students for work in this field by training graduates in statistical and scientific methodologies.
8. Child Care Workers
Another way to utilize your bachelor's degree in psychology is to become a child care worker. One way to work directly in psychology is to become a partial care worker in a mental health setting. Other options include working in a daycare or after-school program, or even opening up your own child care office.
9. Laboratory Assistants
If you have an interest in research and experimental psychology, working as a psychology laboratory assistant could be a great way to put your bachelor's degree to work. Some settings that might employ psychology lab assistants include university psychology programs, government agencies and businesses that study human behavior. Get a leg up on the competition by gaining valuable research experience today. Sign up for a research assistant position at your university, or consider taking an internship in a psych lab.
10. Social Service Specialists
Individuals with a bachelor's degree in psychology can also find career opportunities working in the social services sector for government agencies or non-profits. These positions might entail helping individuals locate psychological resources in their community, providing counseling services directly to clients and other types of case management services.
Students who also earn a teaching certificate along with their bachelor's degree in psychology can also become teachers. Some graduates may opt to apply their knowledge of psychology indirectly as an elementary or middle-school teacher, while others may choose to teach psychology at the high school level. If you already hold a bachelor's degree in psychology, you might be able to enroll at an accredited teacher education program in order to earn a teaching certificate in your state. Contact your state's board of education to learn more about the requirements and any alternative routes to becoming a credentialed teacher that might be available.