The top 10 psychology degree jobs

Last updated: July 20, 2024
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The top 10 psychology degree jobs
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Some people use their psychology degrees to become clinical psychologists. However, this isn't the only pathway for those who choose this area of study.

Learning about the mind and human behavior can be beneficial in other roles as well. For example, a background in psychology can help you get hired in education, law enforcement, or human resources.

Whether you already have a psych degree or you're thinking of getting one, you'll open up more job prospects by having this degree on your resume.

What jobs can you get with a psychology degree? We think you'll be surprised by the range of opportunities out there. So, let's dive in and take a look at the positions you can apply for.

What is a psychology degree?

Psychology students learn about human behavior, mental health, and how the mind works.

If you want to study psychology, you have a few choices. Your final career options will depend on your level of study.

For example, you can get an associate degree in psychology. This is an undergraduate degree, and you can get your certificate through a community college. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete.

If you want to go further, you can study for a bachelor's degree. These degree programs give you additional knowledge and work opportunities. A bachelor's degree usually takes four years to complete, though it can take even longer if you study part-time.

You also have the option to continue your studies with a master's degree. This requires an additional one to two years of study.

Finally, there's a doctorate degree. This is a Ph.D., and it can add at least four years to your education.

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Depending on the course structure, you may be able to choose a specific concentration, such as child psychology, sports psychology, or criminal psychology.

What do you need to get a psychology degree?

Before you start your journey toward a psychology degree, you'll need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some universities may have minimum age requirements and grade point average (GPA) scores.

Your psychology program will include both written and verbal presentations, so you'll need excellent computer and interpersonal skills. Some group work may also be included.

To work as a psychologist or therapist, you'll need to be empathetic and have good listening skills. You should remain cool and calm under pressure, be patient, and have a positive attitude.

You'll be working with patients, their families, and other healthcare providers. This means you should feel confident communicating with a diverse group of people.

Because you'll be dealing with sensitive issues, you should know the importance of maintaining confidentiality and professionalism.

What jobs can you get with a psychology degree?

If you have a psychology degree, there are a variety of careers you can choose from. Here are some of the most popular job options:

1. Correctional officer

Correctional officers work in prisons. Their primary duties include supervising inmates and making sure they're following the rules.

These team members transport inmates and remove any contraband items they find. They keep written records of any incidents that occur inside the prison. There can be risks associated with this job, including injury and stress.

A degree is usually preferred to work in a federal prison. A psychology degree is an excellent option because you'll gain a diverse range of skills that can be used in this job.

Correctional officers also need to be patient, physically fit, and excellent communicators.

How much does a correctional officer make?

The average salary for a correctional officer in the US is $23.04 per hour or $47,920 per year.

Browse correctional officer positions on our job board. You may also be interested in probation officer roles.

2. Career counselor

Career counselors can have a degree in psychology. They understand the job market and give advice to clients on different career opportunities.

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Career counselors help people set goals and make sure their resumes are up to date. They look at clients' work histories, skills, and personality test results to find the right career pathway for them.

You can also work as a school counselor with a psychology degree. These team members support students to help them succeed at school. For example, they work with them to set goals and support their mental health.

Career counselor and school counselor roles both require empathy, listening skills, and specialized knowledge.

How much does a career counselor make?

The average salary for a career counselor in the US is $29.09 per hour or $60,510 per year.

Browse career counselor vacancies on our job board. You can also look for guidance counselor or school counselor jobs.

3. Psychiatric technician

Psychiatric technicians support specialists in mental health clinics and psychiatric hospitals. They work closely with patients and monitor their behavior.

Some of their most common job duties are bathing, feeding, and dressing patients.

They also transport patients and set up recreational activities for them. For example, they may set up an art program or take a group of people to the local swimming pool.

This is a field that's growing quickly, and there are job opportunities throughout the US. Over the next 10 years, job growth is predicted to rise by 9%.

An associate's degree in psychology can help you get a job as a psychiatric technician. On-the-job training is usually provided.

How much does a psychiatric technician make?

The average psychiatric technician in the US makes $17.42 per hour or $36,230 per year.

Browse psychiatric technician positions on our job board.

4. Mental health counselor

Mental health counselors support people with their mental health. They deal with a range of conditions, including addiction and behavior disorders.

Mental health counselors help patients set goals and overcome obstacles. They work with patients to change their behaviors and, ultimately, improve their lives. They keep track of patients' progress and write reports.

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They often get involved in the community and collaborate with other healthcare services.

Most mental health counselors have a psychology or social science degree. Key skills required for mental health counseling include critical thinking, communication, organization, and computer skills.

How much does a mental health counselor make?

The average salary for a mental health counselor in the US is $23.33 per hour or $48,520 per year.

Browse mental health counselor positions on our job board. You can also look for substance abuse counselor jobs.

5. Human resources specialist

Human resources (HR) specialists help businesses hire employees and they manage any personnel issues that come up in the company. They're often there during job interviews, and they can check candidates' references.

When a new employee joins a team, the HR specialist takes them through the orientation process. They answer any questions the new employee might have and make sure they feel welcome.

There are a few pathways to getting this job. If you have a psychology degree and experience in customer service, that could help you get an HR position. Extra training may also be required.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for human resources specialists is good. Over the next 10 years, demand is expected to grow by 8%.

How much does a human resources specialist make?

The average salary for a human resources specialist in the US is $29.95 per hour or $62,290 per year.

Browse human resources vacancies on our job board.

6. Social worker

Social workers support people who need help, such as those who are living in an abusive situation, are homeless, or are suffering from an illness.

Social workers connect their clients to community services. They can help them get food stamps, access mental health support, or enter rehabilitation programs. Social workers help their clients create realistic goals.

If there's a crisis in a client's home and the police are called, a social worker might need to attend. Social workers follow up on cases and take thorough notes.

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To work as a social worker, you'll need to be patient, detail-oriented, and an excellent communicator.

A psychology degree is a good starting point for this career. Depending on the job, you may need to take some extra courses. There's also a range of supportive roles available in social services that you can apply for.

How much does a social worker make?

The average salary for a social worker in the US is $24.23 per hour or $50,390 per year.

Browse social worker positions on our job board.

7. Sports psychologist

Sports psychologists work with elite athletes. They help them overcome mental hurdles, such as anxiety and nervousness.

They also support athletes with goal setting and create strategies for them to improve their concentration. Being a professional athlete can be intense. Athletes need to be physically fit but mentally fit as well.

If an athlete is injured, a sports psychologist will help them manage the ups and downs of their recovery.

Sometimes, sports psychologists work with entire teams. They can support players in collaborating and communicating with one another.

Sports psychologists need to have excellent communication skills, technical skills, and a passion for elite sports. A psychology degree is usually required, along with industry experience.

How much does a sports psychologist make?

The average salary for a sports psychologist in the US is $38.46 per hour or $76,927 per year.

Browse sports psychologist positions on our job board.

8. Police officer

Police officers can have a range of duties. They deal with criminal behavior, property protection, and safety concerns in the general population.

The pathway to becoming a police officer usually starts with a high school diploma and police academy training.

These workers need excellent communication and teamwork skills, leadership abilities, and physical fitness.

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If you want to work in law enforcement, a background in psychology will give you an advantage. While it's not essential, understanding others will help you deal with the challenges of the job.

How much does a police officer make?

In the US, the average salary for a police officer is $31.74 per hour or $66,020 per year.

Browse police officer positions on our job board.

9. Professional coach

Professional coaches work with sports teams and athletes. They set up training sessions and create strategies for each competition.

Coaches motivate their team members and make sure everyone performs at their best. They also make sure the athletes are following the rules of the sport.

Coaches look for recruits and keep track of results. They can work for either amateur or professional teams.

To get a job as a coach, you'll need leadership skills, analytical thinking, and technical skills. While sports knowledge is a requirement, a degree in psychology will help give you an edge.

How much does a professional coach make?

The median annual salary for a professional coach is $38,970. Demand is growing, with the job outlook set to rise 20% over the next 10 years.

Browse professional coach positions on our job board.

10. Forensic psychologist

Forensic psychologists help law enforcement agencies by interviewing criminals and witnesses to understand why crimes were committed. For example, they may help investigate child abuse or murder cases.

Sometimes, forensic psychologists visit crime scenes and profile suspects. They may also give testimonies in court.

If you want to work in forensic psychology, you'll need to understand human behavior. These experts need strong analytical skills, listening skills, and attention to detail.

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This is one of the most difficult roles to get into, as most forensic psychologists have a doctoral-level degree.

How much does a forensic psychologist make?

The average salary for a forensic psychologist in the US is $51.93 per hour or $103,850 per year.

Browse forensic psychologist positions on our job board.

Getting a job with a psychology degree

A psychology degree can open up opportunities in a range of fields. In addition to general psychology positions, you can apply for a job in mental health, education, or law enforcement.

Some of the most popular job types include correctional officers, career counselors, and psychiatrist technicians.

There are also roles for mental health counselors, human resource specialists, social workers, and forensic psychologists.

If you enjoy working with athletes, a job as a professional coach or sports psychologist could be a good fit for you. You can also use your skills to start a career as a police officer.

The requirements vary between jobs, and you should always read the job description before applying for a position. For some positions, an associate's degree in psychology will be enough. For others, a master's degree or higher will be needed.

Want to find a new job? Head over to our job board. Plus, you can get interview and application tips in our resource center.

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