Careers in psychology are popular because they aim to help people lead happier, healthier lives. Before making the choice to study psychology, students should learn all they can about possible career paths, whether psychology jobs will provide the income they desire, how much education they’ll need to complete and licensure requirements for their state. Whether psychology is a good fit for individuals’ personalities should also be a major consideration. Here are four common jobs in psychology grads pursue:
Counselors are responsible for helping people work through issues with family or relationships. Counselors listen to clients, individually and in group settings. They ask relevant questions that help clients make sense of their problems and then work with them to develop plans to improve their lives.
Counselors treat clients with diagnoses such as anxiety and depression and create individualized treatment plans. They can refer their clients to support groups, drug rehabilitation facilities, adult education opportunities, etc. When medication is needed, counselors refer patients to doctors or psychiatrists.
Salaries for counselors vary based on experience, education, location and other factors, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mental health counselors earn an average annual wage of $41,880. To practice as a counselor, most states require a master’s degree plus licensure.
A clinical psychologist assesses, diagnoses and treats a number of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Clients of clinical psychologists deal with all sorts of problems ranging from short-term personal or relationship issues to severe, ongoing conditions. Clinical psychologists interview clients, administer diagnostic tests and provide psychotherapy. They design treatment plans for clients.
It is the duty of school psychologists to treat students with developmental and educational disorders. They observe and assess students with learning and behavioral problems and then design and implement performance plans. They counsel students and their families and may work one on one with teachers and school administrators to devise solutions for troubled students.
Perhaps one of the most interesting careers in psychology, forensic psychologists work in the health care, legal and criminal justice systems. They work alongside lawyers, judges and other specialists to shed light on the psychological aspects of various cases. They sometimes testify in court, presenting evidence as expert witnesses, and typically specialize in one area of law or another.
Salary Potential and Education Required
For all psychologists, the median annual wage is $72,580. Overall employment for psychologists is expected to grow 19 percent by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
A master’s degree is an excellent stepping stone for any of these career paths. Clinical psychologists are typically required to obtain a doctoral degree in psychology. School psychologists need advanced degrees and certification or licensure. While a doctorate is recommended for those who want to become forensic psychologists, a master’s degree will oftentimes suffice depending on the position.