The inner workings of human minds are inherently complex, making professionals with a firm understanding of psychology highly valuable in a number of different industries. Through higher education, psychology professionals can become armed with the skills needed to effectively analyze human behaviors and channel their insights into actionable operational strategies. By learning more about today’s most common psychology careers, students beginning their undergraduate studies can better identify the most ideal psychology career paths for their future based on their own personal interests.

Confident psychologist holding a clipboard

Industries or Sectors Hiring Psychology Graduates

The expertise of a psychology professional can be applied in various ways: to help organizations make informed decisions based on consumer behavior, to ensure positive work environments for internal employees, and to repair relationships between individuals. Although their diverse skill set makes them viable candidates for psychology careers in many fields, psychology graduates are most suited for work in the areas noted below. However, it is important to note that some psychology-related career fields — such as psychotherapy, counseling, or social work — require additional graduate-level degrees, training, certifications, or licensure. Earning an undergraduate degree is an excellent way effectively start down the path to enter the field of psychology. Potential career paths include:

  • Human resources
  • Counseling and psychotherapy
  • Research
  • Advertising and marketing

Popular Psychology Careers

Upon completing a bachelor’s-level psychology program, graduates can pursue psychology careers in a wide range of disciplines or go on to earn advanced degrees to develop particular specializations in the field. These are some of the most popular work options for those seeking promising careers with a psychology degree:

Market Research Analyst

To successfully sell products, businesses need to collect and process data about their target audiences and markets. That’s where market research analysts come into play. With their additional insight into consumer behaviors, psychology specialists can be better equipped to accurately predict how consumers will behave in specific environments, allowing them to develop theories that can improve recognition of their firms’ products and services.

Market research analysts monitor the effectiveness of current marketing strategies and work to optimize performance. They generally accomplish this by collecting data about a brand’s consumers, its competitors, and the current market conditions. They then process the data to help their firm devise a better marketing strategy. There is no shortage of opportunities in this field, because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that market research analysts earn a median salary of $62,560, and the number of available market research analyst jobs is expected to grow by 23% between 2016 and 2026.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Mathematical proficiency
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Persuasion

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources professionals are hired to coordinate and regulate hiring and internal communication activities throughout an organization. Without them, firms risk becoming understaffed because of failed recruitment initiatives and high turnover rates — potentially negatively impacting their productivity and profit margins. Human resources specialists also help answer questions that employees may have about their employers’ policies and, when necessary, facilitate communication between colleagues.

As people who understand the social, emotional, and mental characteristics of individuals, psychology graduates have leverage when it comes to the hiring process. Because they learn to understand people on many levels, they may be able to use insights about human behavior to help identify whether job candidates are ideal for the positions they are applying for. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, human resources, or a related business field can qualify students for a role as a human resource specialist, in which they can earn a median salary of $59,180, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Team building
  • Interviewing
  • Negotiating
  • Interpersonal communication

Social Science Research Assistant

Social science is a field of study that intersects with many different academic disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, and economics. Through social science research, psychology graduates accumulate knowledge about why humans act a certain way with consideration for environmental factors. The research assistant is responsible for validating research by making sure quality control procedures are implemented during research procedures and by using statistical analysis to verify the accuracy of any data that is obtained through these studies. As they aid social research studies, psychology experts may benefit from their ability to refine a hypothesis based on their knowledge of human behavior. The median wage of social science research assistants is $43,190, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical thinking
  • Proficiency with computers

Mental Health Counseling

There are times when individuals or groups need a third-party arbitrator to help them settle disputes or discuss mental health issues. A psychology professional needs to understand how the human mind works to help people deal with mental issues, such as stress, marital problems, and interpersonal challenges. The range of clients a mental health counselor helps covers the entire lifespan, as men, women, and children of every age all experience daily challenges. Working with a counselor can help a person overcome these obstacles.

To start a career in mental health counseling, future professionals could begin by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. From there, a professional interested in becoming a mental health counselor will need to also earn a master’s degree, licensure, and certification. The median wage for this career is $42,150, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Empathy
  • Leadership

Survey Researcher

Before initiating potentially costly campaigns or programs, many public and private organizations try to collect data about the communities they will be operating in. The survey researcher facilitates this process by designing and conducting research surveys within these communities. The primary objective is usually to ask questions about certain topics to understand people’s opinions, preferences, and beliefs. Using this information, organizations can make better decisions that account for the true interests of the people who will be affected by them.

In this psychology-related career field, success requires asking the right questions. Using their proficiency in psychology, survey researchers can understand how to formulate questionnaires that consistently capture the data their employers will benefit from. The median wage for professionals in this field is $54,470, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Proficiency with computers
  • Writing
  • Presentation
  • Problem-solving

Specialized Counseling (PTSD, Drugs and Alcohol, Behavioral Disorders)

A specialized counselor is a psychology specialist who may work in a school, health center, or prison, depending on the individual’s concentration. Some counselors are tasked with helping people overcome addictive behaviors or personality disorders by actively listening to their clients and suggesting ways they can modify their habits to improve their lifestyle.

Through undergraduate coursework in psychology, professionals interested in this field can refine their ability to comprehend other people’s emotions. In doing so, they learn how to support people in a way that effectively promotes positive habits and behaviors. As with other specialized psychology-related careers, this position does require additional training and certification, and aspiring counselors may have to pursue graduate-level degrees in their desired fields as well. The median wage for these professionals is $42,150, according to the BLS.

Skills recommended to succeed:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Empathy
  • Leadership

As psychology professionals gain experience, they can devise new ways to use psychology to help those in need, or to assist companies with engaging their employees or audiences effectively. By earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, professionals can learn how best to use their knowledge to help individuals, government institutions, and private organizations understand more about the people who surround them. Learn more about careers with a psychology degree and explore a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Maryville University.

Now that you have a better understanding of potential psychology careers, explore a thorough description of psychology and it’s role in the modern world.

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes194061.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/survey-researchers.htm