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Careers in Psychology

What can I do with a degree in psychology? The answer is just about anything you want. The bachelor's degree \in psychology gives you the skills for many careers. There are more jobs available to those who complete a master's degree. Of course, if you want to be a psychologist, you will need to get a doctoral degree. There are even more options once you obtain a doctoral degree. Let's begin with the bachelor's level degree. There is a great deal o of information on the web. One place the begin exploring the various careers is at

Psychologists work in a variety of careers. The most common job for psychologists is in a clinical setting, working with clients with mental disorders. Clinicians may work in private practice or in hospitals. To be called a clinical psychologist, you must have a PhD or a PsyD degree and you must be licensed by the state in which you practice. However, there are many other careers related to the clinical area. These include counselors, social workers and psychiatric nurses.

Many psychologists also teach. Professors may have many specializations in psychology. Industrial-organizational psychologists work with businesses. They may help engineers design products or they may work directly with employees in employee assistance programs. I/O psychologists also work with managers on issues such a team building.

School psychologists work with school systems to help identify and remediate children with learning differences. In Maryland, you can work in a school with a master's degree. School psychologists are also very involved in assessment issues since they must identify those with learning problems.

Other psychologists are involved in research and others work in more applied areas. There are many career related to psychology that do not require the doctorate. Even a B.A. in psychology equips the students for many careers and can serve as a foundation for graduate study in many areas.

The degree in psychology gives you skill sin critical thinking, learning how to learn and in research. These skills can be applied to a multitude of jobs. Many social service agencies hire entry-level workers with a B.A. or B.S. In some states, you can teach at the elementary or secondary level and take additional courses to become certified. Retail and business organizations hire psychology graduates because of their ability to learn and adapt. So, the degree in psychology will give you a good foundation for many position.  Some potential jobs to consider are college advising offices, caseworker of r child welfare, recreational therapists, research assistance. Many of these jobs are in human services. To read more about human services  look at http://career-wizard.com/.

Many students in psychology are interest in what is called the helping professions. D2 APA has a resource that covers many of  these options. To read more, visit the site at http://www.lemoyne.edu/OTRP/teachingresources.html#advisinghttp://www.apa.org/students/ also has a wealth of resources.

There are a lot of careers within psychology that require advanced study in psychology. One resource for information on  graduate programs is the APA's American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). Their information can be found at  http://www.apa.org/apags/. They publish a quarterly magazine called GradPsych  http://gradpsych.apags.org/ - that is a wealth of information from the perspective of graduate students. It contains some excellent advice and I highly recommend it to anyone considering graduate school.  One other way to learn about some of these issues is to read a book aimed at graduate students. Life After Graduate School: Opportunities and Advice from New Psychologists (2004 Psychology Press, eds. R.D. Morgan T.L. Kuther and C. Haben) is comprehensive and written by two well-known psychologists.

Careers for doctoral level psychology graduates tend to be divided into traditional (academic, clinical/counseling or research) and nontraditional (other arenas). You can read about non-academic careers at http://www.apa.org/science/careers.html.

At new areas within psychology develop, new career and job opportunities arise. One growing area in psychology is neuroscience. Neuroscience combines medicine, biology and psychology to explain behavior. Many neuroscientists combine teaching and research.  New technologies and drugs have created research jobs in the private sector. Drug manufacturers use neuroscientists and engineering companies use neuroscientists to help with the development of brain imaging machine. There are even jobs in science journalism. Resources for neuroscience can be found at http://web.sfn.org/. http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/survive.html uses the television show Survivor to explore a career in neuroscience. Another section on this website, http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/csem.html explores neuronal behavior. You can read about some careers at http://www.hhmi.org/becoming/.

Another area that has found prominence in recent times is Industrial/Organizational psychology. I/O psychologists do a  variety of jobs. They may work for a particular company or they may serve as a consultant. They could be involved in hiring and human resource functions or they may conduct research related to business. You can read about the options for I/O graduates at http://www.wcupa.edu/_ACADEMICS/sch_cas.psy/Career_Paths/Industrial/Career06.htm. At http://www.gmu.edu/org/iopsa/ you can see what students in I/O at George Mason University are doing.

Another area that interests many students is Health Psychology. APA's Division 38 focuses on health psychology. Their site is at http://www.health-psych.org/. You can look at the some of the research that health psychologists conduct at http://healthresearch.as.ua.edu/. Health psychology is a focus of many international psychological associations. Look at the international aspect of this area at http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~health/welcome.html.  Examine the scope of careers in health psychology at http://www.wcupa.edu/_ACADEMICS/sch_cas.psy/Career_Paths/Health/Career02.htm.

Here are some very useful links to web sites that help students decide which
programs they might be interested in, find graduate programs, and prepare
their applications.

APA Pages on Graduate School

Dr. Linda Walsh's Psychology Pages

Dr. Walsh's Pages on Graduate Programs


Hanover College Directory of Graduate Programs

search Graduate Programs in the USA with
the option to order free brochures, view books and applications

This is Dr. Marky Lloyd's site from Georgia Southern University. It is one of the best sites on the web for comprehensive information on careers in psychology. It contains reliable information.

West Chester University's Psychology Department's career page

This is from Rider University in New Jersey. It contains a number of links and some information related to graduate school.

This site is from APA and gives a good explanation of what it means to be a psychologist.

Information from APA about potential careers in psychology that are not academic or research.

This site from Indiana State answers many basic questions about majoring in psychology.

About Psychology and careers