Careers in Psychology

Psychology provides a broad liberal arts background.

Some students may choose to study psychology because they enjoy the subject but wish to pursue careers requiring any major. In this scenario, it is critical to develop desirable skills through internships, part-time or summer jobs, or volunteer experiences. Some skills valued most by employers include: communication, interpersonal, leadership, teamwork, and computer skills.

Other students may major in psychology because they want to work in a related field. Many entry-level helping positions are available, however the amount of direct client contact is limited for those have a bachelor's degree. Students may wish to pursue graduate education in psychology, social work, counseling, college student personnel, or other related fields to increase opportunities and earning potential. Research career fields to learn what type of degree (master's or doctoral) and subject area are most appropriate.

The following list provides some examples:

Master's Degree:

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Professional Counselor
Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists

Doctoral Degree:

Counseling Psychologist
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Experimental Psychologist
School Psychologist
Sport Psychologist
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, and gain experience through volunteer or work opportunities. Assist a faculty member with his or her research.


Areas to Explore

Market Research

Employers: Market Research Firms, Market research departments of consumer goods and manufacturing firms


Employers: Public and private schools, including colleges and universities


Employers: Department stores, specialty stores, discount stores, super retailers


Employers: Retailers, service providers, wholesalers, manufacturers, insurance companies, real estate companies


Employers: Federal government including theDepartment of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Education, and the Office of Naval Research; national headquarters of non-profit organizations; universities and colleges.

Human Resources

Employers: Large companies, government agencies, employment and temporary agencies, large non-profit organizations including hospitals and educational institutions

Public Relations

Employers: Public relations and advertising firms, companies with public relations departments, professional associations, federal, state, and local government, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations


Employers: Advertising agencies, companies with in-house advertising agencies or departments

Human Services

Employers: Federal government, including departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Veterans Administration; State government, including departments of Human Services, Mental Health & Mental Retardation; Community mental health centers, state psychiatric hospitals, facilities for mentally impaired, justice probation and parole, local government, senior citizens' centers, United Way agencies, nonprofit organizations, religiously-affiliated service organizations, hospitals.

General Strategies for Success

  • Obtain essential practical experience through part-time or summer jobs such as camp counselor, tutor, or resident hall advisor.
  • Complete an internship for academic credit
  • Gain experience through volunteering with organizations such as crisis hotlines, Big Brother or Sister, Special Olympics, service fraternities or sororities, etc.
  • Many entry-level helping positions require one year of related experience. Volunteer experience can typically fulfill this requirement.
  • Learn to work well with diferent types of people.
  • Devleop strong communication skills.
  • Cultivate the desire to help others.
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.
  • Acquire knowledge of government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or scial work for substantive counseling work and advancement into administrative work.
  • Many specialties exist at the graduate level, for example school counseling, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, etc. Pursue particular degrees depending upon interests and career goals.

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