When someone hears that another person is pursuing their degree in psychology, many people quickly assume that they’re hoping to one day become a practicing psychologist who sees patients. However, to the surprise of many, most graduates don’t actually end up directly in that field. According to Johnson & Wales professor and online instructor K. Baruth Ph.D., the career possibilities are endless with a degree in psychology.
“When asking, ‘What can I do with a psychology degree?’ the answer is easy: nearly anything,” Baruth explained. “A degree in psychology prepares graduates for a wide range of jobs because it focuses on the understanding of human behavior as well as the mind and all of its complexities.” For those looking to work their way into some other career fields, Baruth said it may require them to continue their education beyond a bachelor’s degree. A strong educational background can put them ahead of the pack, she said.
“A psychology degree a degree provides a firm basis for pursuing advanced study in not only psychology, but also other related fields,” she says. “. Many graduates decide to focus on areas such as education, human resources, marketing, business, criminal justice, law, human resources or other related fields.”
So, what can a student who graduates with their degree in psychology do? Check out some of the common and not-so-common careers you can pursue after graduating.
Of course, you can choose to use your degree to pursue a career in the field of psychology, but even then there are many varied paths you can follow that are often far different from practicing as a clinical psychologist or counselor. Some of these options include becoming a psychologist in education, rehabilitation, forensics, or sports.
In a field dedicated to understanding how workplace relationships affect the culture and performance of an organization, an understanding of psychology can prove to be super useful. Human resources is an incredibly broad field, and there are positions available in private companies, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies that cover areas such as recruitment, professional development, employee training, communications, payroll, benefits, and much more.
If you choose to go to law school after obtaining your psychology degree, you will undoubtedly find that your education will help prepare you for the rigors of studying case law and applying the principles learned within to new circumstances. One of the most important parts of being an attorney is using the principles of persuasion to build a strong case that represents your client well. So understanding the motivations of clients, opposing counsel, juries, etc., and learning how those motivations affect their actions is crucial for litigation and mediation.
Social work involves some aspects of clinical psychology/counseling, but it differentiates itself as a field by working with high-risk populations who have undergone some serious difficulty in their lives. For those interested in using their psychology degree to help the most vulnerable people, social work just might be the option you are looking for.
If you are more interested in the study of psychological concepts than engaging in clinical practice but you still want to work in the field, consider a career in education. You can choose to get an advanced degree and pursue a career in higher education, or you can apply the principles of empathy and emotional intelligence you learned during your studies to younger student populations.
Media and Advertising
Media and advertising organizations are always looking for people who can perceive human behavior in new and unique ways. Psychology graduates are a natural fit for these types of careers. Departments within media and advertising organizations include media production, management, data analysis, scheduling, and more.
Career coaching is a field that allows you to use many of the concepts learned during your psychology education to help people improve their lives in ways that are different from a counseling environment, but no less important for them. If you are able to understand why people make certain career choices, and how those choices affect their psychological well-being, you can help steer them toward a career that will be fulfilling and challenging.
Much like the law, writing is all about crafting persuasive arguments to build a cohesive and structurally-sound case. In order to do it well you need to understand what information the reader needs from you at specific points in the piece, and how best to arrange it so they get maximum value from it. In a broad sense, the study of psychology positions you to get inside the head of your reader and understand how you can help them most effectively, is true whether you are writing technical specs, grant proposals, or anything in between.
Business and Management
People who have extensive training in psychological concepts often make effective leaders, which means they are well-positioned to succeed in business management roles. If you have a bachelor’s in psychology, entry-level jobs of many types will be available to you, and you can use them to work your way up in the field and eventually take on a leadership role. Or, you can choose to pursue an advanced business degree and potentially move into the management side of things.
If you’re interested in a career in psychology, or any of the other career paths you can take with a psychology degree, learn more about earning your bachelor’s degree in psychology or graduate degree in psychology with Johnson & Wales University’s College of Online Education. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].