What can you do with a psychology degree?

June 14, 2019

Depending on what level of degree you seek—bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate—you’ll have a different range of career paths to choose from. There are a variety of work settings, too: hospitals, schools, private businesses, social service agencies, mental health centers, corporations, and the criminal justice system, to name a few. Read on to learn what jobs you can pursue with each level of psychology degree.

Careers in psychology with a bachelor’s degree

First, let’s be clear about what you can’t do with a bachelor’s in psychology: You can’t become a licensed psychologist who offers individual counseling. You need more advanced degrees and licensure for that. But a bachelor’s in psychology can give you a solid understanding of human behaviors and emotions. It can also help you develop skills in research, writing, problem-solving, and synthesizing information.

You can use this degree as the gateway to more advanced degrees, but you also have the opportunity to explore career paths with the bachelor’s itself:

  • Case manager
  • Mental health technician
  • Human resources generalist
  • Residential counselor
  • Recruiter
  • Research assistant
  • Training manager
  • Academic advisor
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Mental health specialist

Careers in psychology with a master’s degree

A master’s degree can open the door for you to pursue positions in mental health care, human services, and health care organizations. You could also choose to pursue a doctoral degree. A master’s degree alone won’t make you a licensed psychologist, but you can explore other career options, some of which involve leadership roles, including:

  • Adjunct or part-time faculty
  • Social services coordinator
  • Clinical manager
  • Mental health professional
  • Psychologist
  • Clinical supervisor
  • Human resources manager
  • Research associate
  • Employment specialist

Careers in psychology with a doctoral degree

There are two types of psychology doctoral degrees: Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD). Each degree prepares you for different career goals. Do you want to work directly with counseling and assessments and related fields, or are you more interested in conducting research or teaching at advanced academic levels?

The PsyD is a professional degree. It focuses on practice and clinical work, and it prepares you for a career as a practicing psychologist. Career paths you can explore include:

  • Psychologist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Clinical manager or director
  • Adjunct or part-time psychology faculty
  • Research psychologist
  • Clinical therapist

The PhD focuses on research and produces psychologists who can understand and apply research as well as conduct it. The PhD is designed to prepare someone for a role in academia or research. Careers you can explore include:

  • Adjunct or part-time psychology faculty
  • Full-time psychology faculty
  • Instructor
  • Program administrator/director
  • Consultant
  • Dean of psychology faculty
  • Research coordinator/administrator

See a side-by-side comparison of PsyD and PhD in Psychology

These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

No matter which degree program you pursue, you’ll open the door to plenty of great career options. Learn more about Capella University’sonline psychology degree programs and certificates.

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