When you hear the word psychology, a career as a clinical psychologist may come to mind.
What you might not expect is that this helping profession includes a variety of career opportunities in diverse fields. Emerging trends in business, education, and even the correctional system call for an understanding of human behavior, critical thinking, and reasoning.
Following are four careers that benefit from a master’s in psychology.
1. Parole or Correctional Officer
As Kelly Grice alluded to in her interview with The Guardian, parole officers are transforming lives. Grice, who has a degree in psychology, spends time with her clients listening and providing direction for positive decisions in the future. The setting can be stressful and even dangerous at times, but professionals in correctional facilities are providing support, conducting assessments, and offering therapy sessions with inmates and parolees in order to better their lives.
Although the immediate job growth related to new positions for parole officers is expected to remain unchanged for the next seven years, job opportunities should remain abundant as current employees retire or leave their current positions.
2. Genetic Counselor
As the job title suggests, genetic counselors have a background in counseling, but this growing career option offers a way for psychology professionals to specialize in areas of medicine and public health. Genetic counselors use their skills to offer support to families who may be at risk of passing on inherited conditions or who are currently dealing with a genetic disorder themselves.
The trend for this career path shows genetic counselors will see 41% job growth through 2022. And while the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary at around $67,000 a year nationwide, there are areas where salaries are upwards of $80,000 annually, depending on location and qualifications.
3. Market Research Analyst
Trends in technology and business systems highlight a need for analysts and researchers to have a broad understanding of consumer needs and actions. As psychologists are taught to recognize trends in human behavior, they develop the skills to equip them to work as market research analysts. In this field, the psychologist dives deeper into how consumers are spending their time, where they are looking for information, how they want to be perceived, and which products and services they are looking at to solve their immediate needs.
Market research analysts are projected to see a 32% rise in job growth by the year 2022, with median annual salaries of just over $60,000 a year.
4. Special Education Teacher
While special education teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree (at minimum) specific to this occupation, a master’s in psychology provides a nice supplement and advanced degree option. Teachers in special education can use psychology training to help assess students’ needs, provide effective emotional support, and work with parents to ensure that school and home strategies are aligned. A background in psychology can provide the additional professional development, emotional support, and situation-specific knowledge needed to be successful in this specialized area of education.
In addition to an MS in Psychology, special education teachers may wish to consider a Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Special Education, which allows for additional field experiences and real-life situations.
The job growth and outlook for special education teachers varies depending on specialties and location. For example, teachers working directly with students on the Autism Spectrum are expected to see an increase in employment opportunities as many districts report problems finding enough certified teachers in this area. Generally speaking, the BLS predicts a 6% job growth for special education teachers with a median salary of around $55,000 per year.
When considering a master’s in psychology, be sure to look beyond specialties in traditional mental health settings. Explore career options in other fields such as businesses, government, education, criminal justice, and more. Developing advanced skills in critical thinking, reasoning, and human behavior will help you flourish in these industries, boosting your career in areas you may not have otherwise thought possible.
Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program.