What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Psychology Degree?

A bachelor's degree in psychology opens up a surprising number of opportunities.

psychology degree students at graduation

Nowadays, everywhere you go in the education world you hear that a bachelor's degree is being outmoded by a master's degree. In business, for example, the MBA has become the new BA. If you read articles on psychology degrees, they'll tell you that getting a master's degree in psychology is almost mandatory for certain specialties of practice.

According to a recent poll in The Economist, of the 500 business executives they surveyed, nearly two-thirds expect qualified employee recruitment and retention to become tougher over the next three years. It's clear that a graduate degree is becoming the norm for many desirable jobs.

But what if you aren't interested in pursuing a higher degree? What if you've finished your 4-year psychology degree and are eager to move into the workplace? What on earth will you be qualified to do in your chosen field of study? You may be surprised to learn that there are many intriguing—and lucrative—positions for a psychology major with only a bachelor in psychology degree.

What Can You Do with a Psychology Degree?

The good news is there are plenty of things that you can do with your bachelor's degree in psychology—you just won't be a working psychologist. Statistics tell us that only about 25 percent of undergraduate psychology majors nationally go on to graduate school and become a psychologist, or go to medical school and start a practice as a psychiatrist.

Shelly K. Schwartz, in an article called "Working Your Degree," reported that the top 10 occupations that employ students with only a bachelor's degree in psychology are:

  • Top- or mid-level managers, executives and administrators
  • Sales
  • Social Work
  • Management-related occupations
  • Personnel, training and human resources or labor-relations
  • Administrative jobs
  • Insurance, real estate and business services
  • Marketing
  • Registered nurse, pharmacist, therapist and physician's assistant
  • Accountant, auditor and other financial specialists

As you review the list, you'll notice that most of these jobs involve dealing with people. Since psychology is the study of human behavior and organizational behavior, a 4-year degree in the field offers you a good understanding of people, their motivations and why they act as they do. In addition, psychology teaches students to think critically as well as creatively, so graduates generally have excellent communications skills. This kind of versatility is desirable in professions that demand interacting with other human beings, which opens the door to most professions. So hold your bachelor in psychology degree high—it offers you more opportunities than you may have ever imagined.