Going Back to School for Psychology

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You’re inherently curious. You’re fascinated by human behavior and why we do the things we do. You’re attuned to the emotions, thoughts, and actions of others. You want to help people. And you want your education to help you do that.

That’s why you’re here—exploring the idea of going back to school for psychology. Whether you’re a fresh high school graduate, someone looking to change career paths, or an experienced psychology professional seeking deeper knowledge in your field, going back to school for psychology is a great choice.

Discover the following sections of this guide:

  • Going to College for Psychology
  • Psychology Degrees
  • Careers in Psychology
  • Scholarships and Grants for Psychology Majors

student at desktop staring at camera

Taking the First Step: Back to College for a Psychology Degree

A bachelor’s in psychology or an advanced degree in this field can open the doors to a wide array of career opportunities depending on your interests. You can choose to pursue a specific degree in an area like forensic psychology, or choose to specialize later on in a field such as clinical psychology, or sports psychology.

Why Choose to Study Psychology?

As a psychology student, you’re preparing to enter a field that’s in high demand. According to BLS, the employment of psychologists is projected to grow 14 percent between 2016 and 2026. Psychologists in 2016 earned a median wage of $75,230, which means your future earning potential is looking pretty good, too. However, it’s important to realize that a degree in psychology is applicable across many industries, opening doors far beyond the more traditionally associated career of psychologist.

Beyond the employment outlook and financial opportunities, there are a number of other great reasons for going back to college for psychology. If you identify with any of the below statements, a psychology degree may be the right program for you.

  • You love a challenge. Applying your degree in psychology, you will be working with people to solve complex problems, manage emotional issues, and help provide solutions and support. If you choose to go the academic route and pursue higher education as a researcher in this field, you’ll constantly be challenged as well.
  • You want to help people. Whether you work towards becoming a forensic psychologist working in criminal justice, use your advanced education to conduct research in the field of psychology, or apply your degree to your work in a different industry, such as human resources or marketing, you will be helping and supporting your clients, colleagues, and the general public.
  • You’re interested in how the brain works and why we do what we do. When you earn a degree in psychology, you’re learning about human behavior. This knowledge can be applied in an infinite array of settings and jobs.

Skills Required for a Career in Psychology

Earning a bachelor’s in psychology can lay the foundation for a number of exciting career paths in human resources, marketing, criminal justice, and other areas. No matter what field of work you end up in, there are a few key skills required to succeed:

  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • Analytical skills

Types of Psychology Degrees

If you’re thinking about going back to school for psychology, make sure you’re looking at the degree that best suits your needs.

Bachelor’s in Psychology. This undergraduate degree will introduce you to the world of psychology and human behavior. You will explore the broad field of human services, as well as a range of psychology topics, such abnormal psychology, organizational behavior, and human development. You may also encounter courses that cover more specialized areas, such as positive psychology, the psychology of women, or the psychology of trauma. Speak with an enrollment advisor today to learn more about this program.

Graduate Programs. If you are looking to become a psychologist who works in counseling, research, or organizational psychology, you’ll need to pursue graduate-level education. Many universities offer master’s and doctoral programs in counseling, clinical psychology, and other specializations. Maryville’s online Bachelor’s in Psychology is a great starting point for your future academic career in this field.

Careers to Consider When Going Back to College for Psychology

By choosing to go back to school for psychology, you’re choosing to open the door to an exciting future. Here are some of the careers you may choose to pursue with your bachelor’s in psychology:

  • Human Resources Specialist. You’re the people person—the one responsible for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring workers for companies and organizations. You may work as a recruiter for an external agency or within a company’s own HR department. Demand for human resources specialists is growing at an average pace, with a projected 7 percent increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026. Median salary: $59,180/year
  • Market Research Analyst. Looking to combine your research skills with your interest in psychology? As a market research analyst, you’ll study why people want the products they want, when they’re likely to buy them, and how much they’ll want to spend. This industry is projected to grow 23 percent between 2016 and 2026. Median salary: $62,560/year
  • Marketing Manager. As an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager, you’ll work with a team to generate interest in the products or services provided by your company. You may work independently, for an agency, or in-house at a corporate office. Demand for marketing managers is projected to grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. Median salary: $127,560/year

If you’re considering going back to school for an advanced degree in psychology or a related field, such as social work, you may be looking to work in one of these professions:

  • Counseling psychologist. Apply your psychology knowledge in a counseling setting, helping individuals and families face and solve complex emotional problems, improve interpersonal communication, and develop healthy coping strategies. While a master’s degree is sometimes sufficient for psychologists, you may choose to pursue a doctoral degree.

Clinical psychologist. You’ll focus your work in a clinical setting, working primarily with people who have serious mental illnesses. You’ll study the causes, preventions, and treatments of psychological illnesses and dysfunction, and work to help people contending with these challenges.

Demand for psychologists is increasing quickly, with a projected growth of 14 percent between 2016 and 2026. Median salary: $75,230/year

Scholarships and Grants for Students Going Back to College for Psychology

Psychology students at all levels of their education can apply for scholarships and grants that may help them pursue their goals of earning a degree. Below are some of the scholarship options possibly available to you if you’re thinking about going back to school for psychology.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship. This $25,000 scholarship is available to graduate students who are studying child psychology.

Division 53 Student Achievement Award. One undergraduate and three graduate students studying child and adolescent psychology will receive this $1,000 award.

American Addiction Centers Behavioral Health and Addiction Scholarship. The ACC awards one $5,000 scholarship and two $2,500 scholarships annually to students studying psychology and other related fields.

Health Careers Scholarship Program.. This $7,500 scholarship is available to junior- and senior-level undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing a career in healthcare.

Follow Your Curiosity by Returning to School for Psychology

It’s time to take your curiosity about the human mind to the next level. Earning a degree in psychology is a challenging, exciting, and rewarding way to kick-start or advance your career—no matter what level of education you plan to pursue.

If you are ready to learn more about how you can start the process of going back to school for a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, then take that critical first step to research your options and contact an enrollment advisor today. One brave decision is all that stands between you, and the future you want.

Here are some other resources to consider when taking the next step toward going back to school:
Statistics about Adult Students
Frequently Asked Questions for Adult Students
Back to College Checklist
Maryville Online


Psychology Today

BLS Human Resources

BLS Advertising

BLS Market Research

Maryville Online Psychology

Maryville Human Services

Maryville Forensic Psychology

BLS Psychologist