Career Services

social

Psychology

What can I do with this major?

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Human Services

  • Direct Care:
    • Counseling
    • Psychotherapy
    • Case Management
    • Mental Health Services
    • Physical Health and Wellness
    • Crisis Work
    • Art Therapy
    • Music Therapy
  • Administration:
    • Advocacy
    • Programming
    • Community Relations
    • Management
    • Development/Fund Raising
    • Grant Writing
  • Federal government, including Departments of:
    • Health and Human Services
    • Justice
    • Veterans Administration
      • VA Hospitals
  • State government, including Departments of:
    • Human Services
    • Mental Health & Mental Retardation
      • Community mental health centers
      • State psychiatric hospitals
      • Facilities for mentally impaired
    • Justice
      • Probation and parole
  • Local government
  • Senior citizens' centers
  • United Way agencies
  • Social service/nonprofit organizations
  • Religiously-affiliated service organizations
  • Hospitals/healthcare providers
  • Private psychiatric facilities
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • College and university counseling centers
  • Private practice
  • Obtain essential practical experience through part-time or summer jobs such as camp counselor, tutor, or resident hall advisor.
  • Complete an internship for academic credit.
  • Gain experience through volunteering with organizations such as crisis hotlines, Big Brother or Sister, Special Olympics, service fraternities or sororities, etc.
  • Many entry-level helping positions require one year of related experience. Volunteer experience and internships can typically fulfill this requirement.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Develop strong communication skills.
  • Cultivate the desire to help others.
  • Become fluent in a foreign language to serve clients who may not speak English.
  • Be willing to relocate for increased job opportunities.
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.
  • Acquire knowledge of government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or social work for positions involving substantive counseling or psychotherapy or for advancement into administrative/supervisory positions.
  • Many specialties exist at the graduate level, for example school counseling, mental health counseling, counseling psychology, etc. Pursue particular degrees depending upon interests and career goals. See General Information on the last page for more details on this topic.
  • Maintain an excellent academic record and seek experiences valued by graduate programs.

Research

  • Social Research
  • Market Research
  • Data Analysis
  • Federal, state and local government agencies
  • National headquarters of non-profit organizations
  • Universities and colleges
  • Market research firms
  • Market research departments of consumer goods and manufacturing firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Work with a professor on his or her research project.
  • Develop strong quantitative and statistical skills. Take additional math and statistics courses.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for greater opportunities.
  • Obtain related experience. Get a part-time or summer field service position with a market research firm.
  • Get involved in the American Marketing Association.
  • Earn a graduate degree in psychology, statistics or marketing for the greatest number of opportunities.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Student Affairs
  • Administration
  • Training
  • Adult Learning
  • Public and private K-12 schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Community instruction offered by government or social service agencies e.g. GED classes, life skills, parenting, etc.
  • Obtain a teaching certificate for public school positions. Multiple certification will increase marketability. Seek guidance from the education department of your college.
  • Earn a doctoral degree for post-secondary teaching.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations.
  • Volunteer or work as a tutor.
  • Gain experience working with children or adolescents.
  • Acquire related experience on campus as a resident hall advisor, orientation leader, admissions tour guide, or peer mentor.
  • Develop strong communication skills and learn to speak well in front of a group.

Human Resources

  • Employment and Recruitment
  • Labor Relations
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Organizational Development
  • Training
  • Large companies
  • Government agencies
  • Staffing and employment services
  • Large non-profit organizations including hospitals and educational institutions
  • Gain revelant experience in human resources by completing an internship.
  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with business courses.
  • Seek leadership positions in student organizations.
  • Develop strong computer skills.
  • Earn an MBA or a graduate degree in human resources to attain higher level positions.

Business & Industry

  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Management
  • Insurance:
    • Claims Managment
    • Underwriting
  • Real Estate
    • Sales
    • Property Management
  • Public Relations
  • Service providers
  • Wholesalers
  • Manufacturers
  • Retail stores including:
    • Department stores
    • Specialty stores
    • Discount stores
    • Super retailers
    • Online retailers
  • Call centers
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Real estate companies
  • Property management firms
  • Apartment complexes
  • Public relations departments of large businesses or nonprofit organizations
  • Develop career goals and seek relevant experiences to prepare for those goals.
  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with business or communication courses.
  • Obtain relevant experience through internships or part-time jobs.
  • Work a part-time or summer job in a retail store. Demonstrate a willingness to take on additional responsibilities such as "assistant manager."
  • Participate in student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people. Develop a strong commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • For sales, develop the ability to work well under pressure and be comfortable in a competitive environment.
  • Be willing to start in a management-trainee program or other entry-level positions.
  • When job searching, seek employers interested in hiring "any major."
  • Understand the top skills employers desire and be prepared to demonstrate them, such as communication (oral and written), computer, interpersonal, leadership and teamwork, etc.

General Information and Strategies

  • Psychology provides a broad, liberal arts background.
  • Some students may choose to study psychology because they enjoy the subject but wish to pursue careers requiring "any major." In this scenario, it is critical to develop desirable skills through internships, part-time or summer jobs, or volunteer experiences. Some skills valued most by employers include: communication, interpersonal, leadership, teamwork, and computer skills.
  • Other students may major in psychology because they want to work in a related field. Many entry-level helping positions are available, however the amount of direct client contact is limited for those who have a bachelor's degree. Students may wish to pursue graduate education in psychology, social work, counseling, college student personnel, or other related fields to increase opportunities and earning potential. Research career fields to learn what type of degree (master's or doctoral) and subject area are most appropriate. The following list provides some examples:
    • Master's Degree:
      • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
      • Professional Counselor
      • Educational, Vocational, and School Counselors
      • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
      • Rehabilitation Counselors
      • Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists
    • Doctoral Degree:
      • Counseling Psychologist
      • Licensed Clinical Psychologist
      • Experimental Psychologist
      • School Psychologist
      • Sport Psychologist
      • Industrial/Organizational Psychologist
  • For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, and gain experience through volunteer or work opportunities. Assist a faculty member with his or her research.

Last modified: Oct 20, 2011

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