What Can You Do With A Psychology Degree?

Behavioral Psychology
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Majoring in psychology is a big deal. If you enjoy helping people with their problems, psychology is probably the best road for you to travel. People often ask themselves, “What can I possibly do with a degree in psychology besides become a psychiatrist?” Well, with a bachelors degree in psychology, you are capable of touching the lives of people across generations. A Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is a great way to start on the road to the in-depth study of psychology. There is but a slight difference in the two types of undergraduate bachelors degrees, though. The BS covers more math and science courses in addition to the basic psychology courses, focusing closer on statistics and lab work; whereas, the BA requires more of the liberal arts such as history and literature courses along with the basic psychology courses.

Types of Psychology

Psychology is a very broad category that can be broken down into individual branches of study. Just some of them are listed below.

  • Abnormal Psychology: as its name suggests, this type of psychology focuses on abnormal behavior and psychopathology. It studies behavior, biological influences, and people’s perceptions and reasoning behind out-of-the-norm behavior. Some behavioral issues include depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Behavioral Psychology: this particular type of psychology deals with the conditioning of behaviors and that behaviors are obtained through particular conditioning. It is used to study the behaviors of children in education and to help others in different types of therapy.
  • Comparative Psychology: this is the study of animal behavior between species in order to better understand theories and concepts of evolution and to observe patterns of the mating process and parenting habits of animals.
  • Educational Psychology: psychologists focus on this type of psychology to better understand how children learn and work with one another, their educators, and their parents and other figures of authority.
  • Forensic Psychology: this specific field is dedicated to psychology and how it affects the law and government.

Many of these types of psychology and more also require knowledge in the medical field, as well, in order to provide clients with the proper care and medications when necessary.

Getting Your Bachelors Degree in Psychology

Depending on the type of job you’re after, you may need more than just a bachelors degree. Positions you’re interested in may require further learning and the earning of masters or doctoral degrees for specific types of psychology. However, you should start with the basic bachelor degree in psychology and build your options from there. Some schools’ psychology departments are rather difficult to enter because of the highly rated quality of education they provide, so students often enter as undeclared undergraduates until positions to join the department’s study programs become available.

University of California, Los Angelas (UCLA) offers bachelor degrees in both General Psychology and Physiological Psychology/Psychobiology, with one of their top majors being General Psychology. They also have a masters program in General Psychology, as well. UCLA is listed as the most popular psychology school on CampusExplorer.com. The study of their Physiological Psychology program features the psychology of memory storage and ability of retrieving memories and of cognition and perception of the brain. For additional study information, please see the school website.

Also high on the list of popular psychology schools is University of Central Florida, located at the opposite end of the country in Orlando. Some areas of study include General Psychology, Sociology, and Clinical Psychology. This school offers the opportunity for you to get an associates degree, bachelors degree, and masters and is one of the largest universities in the United States. University of Central Florida is a school where you can obtain both a bachelors and masters degree in Forensic Science and Technology among other subjects. Forensic Science and Technology at this university features courses in crime scene investigation, forensic dentistry and medicine, forensic lab technology, examination procedures and more.

At Arizona State University (ASU), you can get a bachelors degree in General Psychology among others, and a masters in Educational Psychology. The university is also one of the top rated research universities in the United States. Located in Tempe, Arizona, according to Campus Explorer, 50% of students gave the academics programs 5 out of 5 stars out of the 28 who voted in a recent poll. The 4-star rating wasn’t far behind with 10 out of 28 participants.

Psychology Careers

If you’re still interested in journeying down the psychology career path, with a related bachelors or masters degree many jobs are available to you. Whether your bachelors degree gets you an entry-level position or your masters finds you in a rather high-paying position, you’re bound to make a difference in people’s lives on a regular basis.

Job Possibilities for a BS in Psychology

In today’s world, the field of psychology is demanding and people with knowledge in the field are in high demand. These are just a few possible entry-level or beginner options for someone with a bachelors degree in some form of psychology.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor

Perhaps you had a drug problem when you were younger and you now feel compelled to assist others in overcoming their struggles with addiction. Or maybe someone in your family was an alcoholic and since you’ve seen what damage alcoholism can do to friends and families, you have the urge to help other alcoholics recover and mend their relationships. This particular job requires compassion and good communication skills while helping people make decisions that are often very difficult, especially for them to make on their own. Most positions for this type of counselor are full time. A bachelors degree is required, though some places will take you on as an assistant with only a high school diploma.

The annual salary for a substance abuse and behavioral counselor can be around $38,000.

Career Counselor

The career counselor position requires a bachelors degree in psychology. You can get a job as a career counselor at schools, for community organizations, or other social services organizations. With this position, you will be capable of administering aptitude tests to help students or other people discover their interests and what sorts of jobs they may be interested in after they complete high school and possibly explore their education further. Help students further their education by assisting them with their decisions on what schools to attend to be able to get the jobs they want. You could also be getting paid for helping people set and achieve life and career goals.

Career counselors who work for community organizations often make less than those who take high school jobs. Your approximate salary when working as a career counselor for social services or other community organizations may be under $40,000 a year; but if you’re employed by a school for the same or similar job, you could make around $54,000 or more. Salary also depends on location and school districts’ policies.

Social Worker

Social Worker
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Help improve a child’s life by becoming a social worker. With just a bachelors degree in psychology, you can help people solve their problems by giving them rational advice and assistance in overcoming struggles they face every day. Your communication skills must be above average, and you should also have very strong organizational skills in order to manage filing systems and case information. Some companies may ask that you further your education by obtaining a masters degree, which would most likely increase your base salary and job responsibilities. Social workers can work both in and out of the office on a daily, full time basis.

The average salary for a social worker can be around $42,000 a year, or more if you get a masters in a related field.

Careers Available for People with a Masters Degree or Higher

You can make some big bucks working in the psychology field, and often the money you make is a reflection on the level of education and experience you’ve received during your time of studies and training. Below are just a few higher paying jobs available for those who have gone above and beyond in the field, achieving a masters degree or higher in psychology.

Industrial-organizational Psychologist

An industrial-organizational psychologist requires at the bare minimum a masters degree, but it is highly recommended that the person seeking this type of job have a doctoral or Ph.D. These psychologists study the patterns and characteristics of behavior in the workplace. They analyze how it is possible to increase productivity in the workplace and better train employees to handle the production of quality work and conflicts that may arise. Some spend their days assessing policies of specific companies, while other industrial-organizational psychologists may seek out and employ the top candidates for certain jobs. Other industrial-organizational psychologists may be college professors who teach on the subject.

Salaries can vary based on your level of education and the particular position you hold. For example, someone with a masters degree can earn around $63,000 to start; whereas, a person with a Ph.D. may earn close to $80,000 a year.

Psychology Professor

If you’re interested in the idea of teaching psychology, why not consider a profession as a college or university professor? You could teach all sorts of psychology from child development to industrial-organization psychology. Improve students’ lives and chances of finding careers in the field of psychology by teaching multiple psychology courses each semester. Perhaps you prefer helping students learn research methods. Then you could teach statistics and research development courses in the field of psychology. You’d have summers off (unless you choose to teach summer courses, as well), and you’d make a nice pay.

Psychology professors can make from $63,000 to over $100,000 a year, depending on the number of classes taught and the intensity of the content for each course.

Companies that Hire People with Degrees in Psychology

There are many places to begin or continue your career in psychology. Employers look for candidates with outstanding communication skills, as many jobs require you to converse with people on a daily basis. Below is a list of companies that look for people who have experience and high knowledge in the field of psychology.

  • Virginia State University – founded in 1882, has available areas of study in psychology, hires psychology professors
  • Cape Fear Valley Health – opened in 1956 in Fayetteville, NC, specializes in everything from surgical procedures and cancer treatments to rehabilitation and neuroscience services
  • Learning Services – locations in 6 of the 50 states including California and Utah, focuses mainly on caring for brain injuries
  • Dallas County Community College District – founded in 1965, contains 7 colleges in the Dallas area, possibility of psychology professor openings
  • Spencer Hospital – began in the early 1900s in an old Baptist church, offers careers and volunteer opportunities for people with knowledge in psychology

If you’re looking to help improve people’s lives whether you take the education or forensic or industrial-organizational route, there are plenty of career options that will put your psychology degree to good use. Opportunities are not limited to those listed here, so continue your search. Explore the world and what it has to offer to help you help others.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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