Careers You Can Have with a Psychology Degree (and What They Earn!)

As a college student, one of the most important things to me is being able to find a reliable job in field after I graduate. I have always been interested in Psychology as a whole but did not know what kind of jobs are available to someone who only gets a Bachelor’s degree in the subject. I did some research and here is what I found.

So what are careers are available to someone with a psychology degree and what do they earn? There are numerous jobs available for psychology majors. Here are some top careers and average salary:

  • Sales Representative: $55,000 – $68,000/year
  • Market Research Analyst: $65,000/year
  • Human Resources Specialist: $58,000/year
  • Public Relations Specialist: $56,000/year
  • Psychiatric Technician: $36,000/year
  • Social Worker: $48,000/year
  • Probation Officer: $56,000/year
  • Social or Community Service Manager: $68,000/year

These are jobs that are available to those who graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Becoming a therapist or psychologist takes more schooling to get a Master’s.

Jobs Available to Psychology Majors

There are many jobs available to those who study Psychology. Many of the careers that are an option for undergraduates are not what one would picture.

Some of the best jobs have more to do with sales than with therapy which can be surprising to those who are not as familiar with this area of study.

A lot of marketing jobs are available to those who study psychology, along with jobs in the criminal justice field. You can also get a rewarding job helping those who are less fortunate, or in the community.

Really, the possibilities are endless.

The jobs available help the community or companies. There really is a vast realm of possibilities. The options are more limited, of course than those who have a Master’s degree or a Ph.D.

So what really is the study of psychology? This study is defined as the study of the mind.

In somebody else’s words, it is:

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes.

Picking a career that you love is one of the most important things to consider while pursuing a degree. However, having an income that supports the lifestyle you want is important too!

Most of the careers available to a psych major will be under $100K a year. Hopefully, this is okay with you. A lot of careers are going to be like this anyway so don’t let this fact tear you away from something you love.

This surprises people as well. The higher education that you achieve will increase your income, so again, going on to get a Master’s or Ph.D. will bump up the annual salary.

Though making 6 figures a year would be nice, in reality, these jobs are fulfilling, challenging, and great options. You will probably not accrue as much debt as well (which is so great!)

Let me go more in-depth on what each of the common careers are and how they involve the study of psychology.

Sales Representative or Sales Manager

A lot of psychology majors find themselves in Sales. After studying the mind, majors are well equipped in the know-how to get customers to think they need something. Sales representatives can work their way up the chain.

Many employers like to hire psych majors because they are (usually) persuasive and know what people need. Psychology helps with communication, so many majors can speak effectively, which is great for this job.

By sales representative, that could mean anything to pest-control sales in the summer, or car sells-person.

A lot of the times, how well you can sell a product determines the amount of money you can make. Of course, factors like location, time, and the market can play a role as well.

Sales managers will make more money as well. Experience will help people move up and make more money.

A sales manager basically is in charge of a whole team of sales representatives. He or she helps to guide the team in a way that will produce the most sales. He or she is also in charge of hiring, training, and ensuring that the team is going in the right direction.

Sales managers typically don’t do many sales, they are more their to head up the team to make sure they achieve the right goals. So this is a great job to work up to.

According to the average annual salary for a sales representative is $67,960 (in the year 2017). However, top sales reps, in the top 25% were making around $81k a year.

This is a great income, especially for those who haven’t had to go through a graduate program.

Sales manager makes on average of $137,650, according to the same source.

In this career, you will use the skills of anticipating needs and creating persuasive pitches to customers. So, don’t forget to take sales into account when trying to pursue a job with a psychology degree.

Market Research Analyst

In the same type of direction as sales, market research is not a traditional career in psychology but it is a fantastic option. By pursuing this career, psych majors will put to use major skills that have acquired throughout their studies, such as:

  • Understanding what consumers are buying, and why
  • What things influence their choices
  • How to influence consumers more effectively
  • Test out theories and record the results

This job allows the monitoring of human behavior, which is one of the biggest psychology exists. Knowing why customers purchase one product over the other is so crucial to many companies, which makes it a great career for majors in this area.

Market research occurs in so many different environments, so really, you could work for anyone, nearly anywhere.

Employers will come from big corporations, businesses, and even politicians and such. Anybody trying to sell a product, a lifestyle or an idea will need some analysis.

The job is to gather the information and problems solve. A career like this can help you expand your mind and work creatively, while still using numbers.

People in this career can expect to make around $62,000 a year, which is great. To read more about the wages for this job, click here.

This field is growing more rapidly than most with a rate of 19% in the next 5 years. This means that there will be more good jobs available for graduates if they choose to go this route.

Human Resources Specialist

Human Resource is a department of almost every business or corporations. This department has everything to do with people.

Often called HR, this department deals with recruiting new workers, benefits and worker’s compensation. HR also deals with employees relationships and training.

If it helps, in the show The Office, Toby is in charge of Human Resources.

So what does this mean for someone who is a psychology major? Human resources specialists help businesses hire new people who will better the company.

They can also help companies find and weed out problems within the workplace. Psychology majors are able to sense tensions and identify problems that employees have with each other.

Many HR specialists help with promoting certain employees and that everyone at a company or business is aware and following the policies that are in place.

This career is great for those who are good at reading people, which is why it is often taken by psychology majors.

The average pay for someone who is a Human Resources Specialist is $66,200 a year. Bigger companies will often pay more.

According to USNews the top 25% make a little over $80K a year. Considering, again, that this is a career that can be obtained with just a Bachelor’s degree, it is a great option.

Public Relations Specialist

A public relations specialist is similar to the job of a market research analyst. The job of a public relations specialist is less about selling product but about selling a clean image of a company.

PR Specialists are in charge of how the public perceives a company. This is why there is usually a psych major hired. Employers are so interested and invested in figuring out how and why the public sees them in a not so good light.

Public relations specialists will not only have to be able to know the problems but also know how to fix.

Companies are always trying to be seen as a positive fixture of the community.

Psychology isn’t the only thing that is needed to get this job. In this career, writing and the use of media is important. These skills will be taught in most universities along the way, so make sure you pay attention.

On average, PR specialists will make $45,000 – $50,000 a year. The company who is the employer will make a difference in the pay.

Psychiatric Technician

When a lot of people think of Psychology majors, mainly think of a therapist or psychiatrist. With just a bachelors degree, this is probably the closest you can get to being a psychiatrist.

A psychiatric technician works with mental health professionals. A technician usually helps mentally ill or disabled people by observation.

In this career, a technician will help take care of patients, watch vitals, help provide a safe environment.

The work environment is usually in mental health facilities, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. A majority of the patients are elderly.

A technician will assess the patient’s wellbeing and report any unusual behavior.

In this, psychology majors will get to use the knowledge they have accrued, and be able to put it to good use.

This job does not pay as much as the other ones mentioned, but it seems to be such a rewarding job. In this occupation, there is assessing of needs and the opportunity for helping patients on a one-on-one basis.

The average income of a psychology technician is $31,670 a year, according to the US Department of Labor.

Social Worker

Psychology majors are often highly desired by employers to be social workers because they can understand the reasoning and predicaments that many people find themselves in.

Social work is also a very rewarding job. There are different kinds of social work, such as child, family, and school, mental health and substance abuse, and healthcare.

If you have a degree in psychology, you can get a job within any of these fields.

This job is no doubt challenging. The people a social worker come in contact with have difficult lives. However, he or she gets to help children, families better their lives.

Psychology majors are often equipped to handle situations or help point out solutions in this line of work because they understand the underlying issues and the basic reasoning behind actions.

The salary for social workers is about $55,000 a year. Being a child and family social worker may earn less than a medical social worker. To learn more about salaries for this profession, click here.

Probation Officer

A degree in psychology can also help you land a job in the criminal justice field. This also might be a surprise, but it makes sense.

Having a psychological understanding of why humans behave and make certain choices can have a dramatic effect on those who have committed crimes.

The job of a probation officer is to help those who have committed criminal offences to either re-enter society after being imprisoned or help those who have been given probation instead of jail time.

Probation officers try to prevent these people from committing more crimes. Probation officers are often, unfairly looked upon in a negative way.

As a parole or probation officer, you will help people try to create a better life for themselves, one that does not involve acts of crime. It’s really an amazing thing.

Psychology majors in this job will use their knowledge of human behavior to influence and direct people to make better choices, which is a great and helpful way to manipulate the mind.

Probation officers make around $56,000 a year. There are chances to move up and make more money after gaining experience.

To learn more on how to become a probation officer, click here.

Social or Community Service Manager

Community service managers often work for non-profit organizations or the government. The role of the job is to plan, organize, manage community or social programs, and managing the staff.

This job allows services to be performed. Social or community service managers are employed in big cities, small towns, everywhere.

The kind of services that are directed by a manager is related to youth and family support, addiction rehab, outreach programs.

Being the manager means that if you had this job you would have a lot on your plate, but a big part of the job is to ensure that the staff is performing well.

Psychology majors are good applicants because they understand human reasoning and usually are good speakers and help influence others which makes for good leaders.

It’s a great job for those who want to be leaders and also help the community.

Other (Less Common) Jobs Available

Maybe nothing that you just read really has you intrigued. Here are some other jobs that are available to majors in this field:

  • Child Care Worker
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Animal Trainer
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Research Assistant
  • Youth Counselor
  • Jury Specialist
  • Author
  • Flight Attendant
  • Insurance Investigator

With this degree, you can really end up anywhere! For more ideas on what you can do with your major, click here.

Most of the careers available to a psych major will be under $100K a year.

Getting a degree at all is the key to getting a career that you love.

If you feel stuck, try to get some certification or job search. It is never to late to change up your career.

As a psychology major, you should know how important having a happy and healthy mind is. Give yourself some sanity by picking a job that you will love.

Benefits of Studying Psychology

There are many great things about studying psychology if you need more reasons to pursue this field of study. The top reasons to study psychology are:

  1. You develop great problem-solving skills! As a psych major, you will spend a lot of time using your brain to analyze people and situations. You will become used to using the skills you have acquired to rationalize and think about things from so many perspectives
  2. You will become an amateur behavioral trainer – When you know how the brain works, you can help people change how they act. This will come in handy with children, a spouse or an animal. You will know how to train the brain how to act and kick some bad habits.
  3. You can psycho-analyze yourself – Becoming familiar with the human brain and behavior, you can recognize some habits or bad thoughts. You can help yourself to think more positively and how to change for the better once you understand the causes and effects that go on behind the scene.
  4. You will have an edge in the people skills department – Studying psych can help you create better relationships with friends and family. Once you understand the motivations, and thought processes of other people, you will be able to connect better with them.
  5. You’ll have a better memory – In the study of psychology, you will learn how the brain obtains and retains memories. You’ll learn tips and tricks that will help you recall things (which will be super helpful as you study your exams.)
  6. Your self-awareness will help you succeed – In this major, you will become aware of how your brain thinks and be better prepared than others when it comes to seeing your goals. You will see how your thoughts influence your actions, and how your words affect others. By doing this, you will be able to set yourself on a course to success and have strategies on how to get there.

There are other awesome things about getting a degree in this major. There are some great jobs out there, especially if you live in an area that does not have a high cost of living.

Getting excellent experience will not only bolster up your resume but it will give you the know-how on applying what you have learned. Hands-on experience is one of the best ways to get you a career in something you love and increase your starting salary.

Having a degree at all is helpful. According to a study done by Georgetown University, 35% of jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. So if you graduate, you’ll automatically open up the doors of opportunity.

Most colleges will also help you find an internship that will set you on a path for success. Universities have all the tools there for students to access them. So take advantage!

Getting excellent experience will not only bolster up your resume but it will give you the know-how on applying what you have learned. Hands-on experience is one of the best ways to get you a career in something you love and increase your starting salary.

Drawbacks of Studying Psychology

Now, there are some downsides earning a diploma in this field. I don’t think it would be very fair if I only mentioned the good things.

In a study published by The Wall Street Journal in 2010, only 26% of psychology majors reported that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their careers. To read more, click here.

Without getting a graduate degree, the jobs in this field are limited and may not be what is expected. A lot of psychology majors want to be therapists or work higher up, or even teach. This is not possible (for the most part.) This is a reason some are not satisfied.

Getting into graduate school can be tough. Some may plan on furthering their education but find obstacles in their way. Get good grades and pay attention to college classes if you are planning on going to grad school.

Maybe the career a psychology major finds himself or herself in is not paying as much as he or she would like. This happens a lot too. College is expensive and paying back loans, while paying bills make it hard to get by on some of the incomes.

Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into when you pick your major. It’s good to know your job options before you get your degree.

Careers Available With a Master’s Degree in Psychology

As mentioned many times, master’s degrees open many options to majors of the psychology field. Let’s take a look at some of the options that are available with more schooling.

Here are the careers and average salaries:

  • Psychology Professor: $60,000 to $70,000
  • Mental Health Therapist: $50,601
  • Guidance Counselor: $53,660
  • Business Psychologist: $99,000 – $137,000
  • Psychometrician: $60,000 – $100,000

What exact field you go into, like family therapy or military psychology will be things that change the range of income.

Some positions will be more lucrative than others, but that happens everywhere.

Getting into graduate school can be tough. Some may plan on furthering their education but find obstacles in their way. Get good grades and pay attention to college classes if you are planning on going to grad school.

Another way to increase your pay is to look into the state you want to work in. Alaska pays educators and school guidance counselors really well.

California and Colorado pay mental health professionals well.

Check market saturation when you are sending out resumes. All of these little things will increase your job satisfaction and income if you chose any of these professions.

Paying back grad loans can be expensive so know what you are getting into before. Maybe getting that Master’s degree is not for you.

Try to get financial aid that you don’t have to pay back to help ease the financial burden and make your decision to further your education easier.

Careers Available With an Associate’s Degree in Psychology

Here are some job options you can get with an associates degree:

  • Crisis Hotline Operator
  • Record Keeper for a medical facility
  • Paraprofessionals (can work at a school, often with students who have disabilities)
  • Youth Counselor
  • Human Resource Officer
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Pharmacy Technician

A lot of these career options are not salary-based but rather are an hourly-wage basis. The wages here will look more like $10.00 to $15.00 per hour.

There will be an opportunity to move up but the money coming in will probably not be as great.

There are not as many high paying jobs out there. With more schooling, a person has more options.

Related Questions:

Can you become a therapist with only a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology? To become a licensed therapist, you will need a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s Degree. Many people choose to get a Ph.D. as well. There is a certification that must be achieved before being able to practice.

How much money can you make with a bachelor’s degree in psychology? The average income for those who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology is $45,685. Various jobs will pay more than others and there are states that will also pay more.

Is psychology a good career? Psychology is a good career to go into. There is good job growth in the field. It is a great thing to study as well because you will understand the human mind better.

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