What to Do With a Psychology Degree

My first degree is in Psychology, my second degree is in Education, and I’m currently working on my Master’s of Social Work (MSW). Before I decided to go back to university for my Education degree, I researched jobs for people with psychology degrees.

If you have a Psych degree, you can get a job. But how much you get paid and where you work depends on what other skills you have. If you’re a good writer, for example, you could land a job as a Psychology writer. Or you could freelance for hospitals, magazines, non-profit organizations, or even blogs.

Have you started your psych degree at college or university? If you haven’t, I encourage you to look into a social work degree instead. I believe social workers have far more job opportunities than psychologists, which is why I’m getting my Master’s of Social Work. Psychology degrees are fairly limiting, in terms of work opportunities. Nevertheless, as I said, you CAN get a job with a psych degree.

If you haven’t commited to getting a psychology degree, read 6 Tips for Choosing a College Major.

Here are several career options for students with psychological diplomas or certifications.

Jobs for People With Psychology Degrees

Graduating with a psychology degree, certificate, or diploma is the first step towards a rewarding career in counseling. The next step is finding work — which may be easier than you think, if you keep your mind option to a wide variety of career options.

Apart from these listed below, there’s an array of career options available to psychology graduates who want to work in residential care homes, human resources, or social services.

Here are a few job descriptions for students with psychological training…

Psychology blogger. If your writing and research skills are decent (or good!), consider blogging for a mental health organization or company. Many businesses need bloggers to fill their website with relevant, accurate psychological and mental health information – and a psychology degree gives you a strong foundation.

I recently started Counselors’ Corner – come check it out!

Psychology writer. There some jobs for psychology majors who love to write – such as this one for Suite101 (which will hopefully be taken for years to come!). Other e-zines and websites employ psychology writers, as do magazines such as Psychology Today. Some psychology writers work on a freelance basis, while others are fortunate enough to have permanent positions.

If you want to combine writing and psychology, read How Writing Careers Happen.

Social services organizations. Nonprofit organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, or the Peace Corps sometimes have job opportunities for graduates with psychology degrees.

Career counseling or human resources. Career counseling requires knowledge of social and human sciences, so a psych major would be perfect for the job. Some companies hire people with psychology degrees to staff their human resources and training departments.

Juvenile detention or adult remand centers. If you’re interested in forensic psychology but don’t know if you should pursue graduate studies, explore entry level jobs at various detention centers. This career choice isn’t for everyone – but is worth exploring.

Many psychology graduates go on into other types of psychology: police work, teaching, law school, health and medical sciences, and so on. The beauty of a psychology degree, diploma, or certification is that it’s applicable to many areas — even those outside the human or social sciences fields.

The Best Way to Find a Psych Job

Whether your degree is in psychology, criminology, or counseling – the worst way to find a job is through the internet. There are thousands of psych graduates vying for the few jobs posted, so your chances of getting hired are low.

Significantly more people are hired through personal connections – but that doesn’t mean you need to be best friends with a potential employer! Personal connections can include visiting companies in person to ask about their employment needs, volunteering to get your foot in the door, and asking for “informational interviews.”

The best way to get a job in psychology is to volunteer at the organization you want to work. Or, find a volunteer position that is closely related to the psychology job you want to get.

If you haven’t decided what you’ll do with your psychology degree yet, don’t panic. Treat your search for employment as a full-time job – but be open to accepting other work so you can pay your bills until you find the position you really want.

If you’re still in school, read  10 High Paying Jobs for College Students. Start paying off your student loans now!

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