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What Can You do With a Graduate Degree in Psychology?

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Job Titles | Places of Employment | Related Links

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Type of Work:

Click here to find out more about the job titles below - (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

  1. Teaching and Research. If you're interested in teaching undergraduate, master's-level, or doctoral-level students, you can probably work in a university setting, where you will probably also do research. If you are not interested in teaching and want to focus on research, you can work for government agencies (for example, the Centers for Disease Control) or for private research organizations.

    To work as a psychologist in these settings, you typically will need a Ph.D. in psychology--not in another field such as education or social work. You might be able to get a teaching job at a two-year school with a master's degree in psychology; however, the job market is glutted, and Ph.D.'s are taking many of these jobs. But it depends on where you're looking for a job-small towns with community colleges would love to be able to hire someone with a graduate degree!

  2. Applied Work. Psychologists in selected subfields have the option not only of teaching (sharing knowledge) and research (generating knowledge) but also of working in settings in which they apply their knowledge. The subfields that you only need a Masters for include clinical psychology and industrial/organizational psychology.

    For the subfields counseling psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, and sports psychology, you usually have to have a Doctorate in Psychology.

Graduates with a master's or doctoral-level degree in psychology will find that career choices are wide and varied. As access to mental health care increases, the demand for trained therapists and clinicians rises as well. Others may find employment in business, education, or government.

Many holding master's or doctorate degrees will pursue social service careers. Some job titles in this area include:

  • Clinicians

Clinicians assess, diagnose, and treat individuals suffering from mental or emotional illnesses. Most individual's in this area hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D., but there are some openings for those with a master's degree:

  • Criminologist
  • School Counselor
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Marketing Executive
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Social Worker
  • Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Lawyer
  • Human Resources Management
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Personnel Administrator
  • Community Relations Officer
  • Urban planning officer

Counselors
Counselors have many of the same job duties as clinical psychologists, but tend to work more on helping individual's overcome issues affecting their daily life rather than psychiatric illness.

Forensic Psychology
Earn a Master's or Ph.D. in Psychology.
Those employed in this area generally have a master's or doctorate degree in psychology, counseling, or education.

Social Workers
Social workers often diagnose and treat mental illness or work for social welfare agencies. Those with an undergraduate degree in psychology may elect to obtain a master's degree in social work. Master's-level social work graduates can become licensed to practice in all 50 states.

In addition to social services, those with a graduate degree in psychology are also qualified to work in research or educational settings. College and universities employ Ph.D.-level (and occasionally master's-level) graduates to fill faculty positions. Professors are generally expected to teach undergraduate- and graduate-level students as well as conduct research. Government and business entities often hire masters and doctoral graduates in psychology to conduct research. Other jobs in education and research area include:

Industrial-organizational Psychologists
These psychologists study workplace behavior and ergonomics, often working to increase productivity or efficiency. I/O Psychology Careers

School Counselors
School counselors work with children who are having difficulty at home or school and assist students in making academic choices. Many also provide help with college applications and career choices.

School Psychologists
School psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat children who are experiencing behavioral, emotional, or academic problems. These individuals may also recommend treatments or work with parents, teachers, and others to help children overcome problems and achieve goals. School Psychology Careers

  • Most masters level psychology graduates do not go on to careers as psychologists. Business and healthcare are the top employers of psychology majors, and the top three careers are manager, sales representative, and social worker.
  • Health Educator
  • Volunteer Administrator
  • Public Statistician
  • Probation & Parole Officer

Places of Employment:

  • Community Colleges/Universities
  • College Counseling Centers
  • Community Mental Health Clinics
  • College and Business School Career Centers
  • Private Practice
  • Hospitals
  • Governmental Agencies
  • Human Resources Offices
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Public Schools
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Insurance Firms

Related Links:

General Career Sites for Psychology Majors

Community Psychology

Counseling Psychology (including clinical and therapy-Certification/Licensure Requirements)

Developmental Psychology

Environmental Psychology

Experimental Psychology

Industrial Psychology (including Human Resources)

Marriage and Family Therapy

Psychology and the Law (Including Forensics)

School Psychology (including Educational Psychology)

Specialties/Niches within the field of Psychology

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