Home » General Psychology » Bachelor's Degrees

Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology: Education and Career Options

student studying on laptop computer in library
student studying on laptop computer in library

About the Bachelor’s in Psychology

Degree Type:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science

Location:

Online, classroom, and hybrid

Duration:

Usually 4 years

Total Credits:

Minimum of 120

Aid Eligible:

Yes, for accredited programs

For many, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology is the first step to beginning a rewarding career in the field. While most psychology roles require master’s or doctoral degrees, a bachelor’s is flexible in that it can be used to find mid-level roles or prepare for further education.

You might have read articles on psychology degrees, that tell you that getting a master’s degree in psychology is almost mandatory for certain specialties of practice.

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.

So, how do you pursue this degree and what can you do once you graduate? Use the guide below to get answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

Those with a desire to understand human behavior and help others overcome challenges may find themselves interested in a psychology degree. These programs teach students how to evaluate and create treatment plans for those dealing with issues such as family problems, substance abuse, stress, depression, and much more. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is also a strong foundation if you choose to earn your master’s or doctorate later on.

Though they may have similarities, a bachelor’s in psychology is different from the degrees for fields such as social workhuman services, and other related areas. Each field has its own distinct focus and methodology. For example, students in social work will study how to identify the services that individuals need, while a psychology degree teaches you to act as one of those specific services.

A degree in psychology is also different from a degree in psychiatry. Psychologists focus on the emotional and mental suffering of patients while providing behavioral intervention. Psychiatrists attend medical school and work to identify and monitor patient treatment plans through medication.

Are BA and BS degrees in psychology different?

Programs vary based on the institution you choose, but there are no major differences between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology. The titles of these degrees most frequently come down to the division of the school in which the program best fits and the general education classes you’ll take.

Who are psychology bachelor’s degrees intended for?

Bachelor’s degrees in psych are designed for students who wish to take on mid-level roles in the field. However, psychology students often use these degrees as a stepping stone to pursue a master’s or a doctorate. In most states, a doctoral degree is required in order to become officially licensed as a psychologist.

Careers with a Bachelor’s in Psychology

There are many job opportunities you can consider with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you just won’t be a “working” psychologist. The degree is incredibly flexible and can take you down a variety of career paths.


Career counselor

These roles work with individuals to identify their skills and interests in order to help them select a career path.

Salary

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

National data

Median Salary: $60,510

Projected job growth: 11.5%

10th Percentile: $37,550

25th Percentile: $47,390

75th Percentile: $77,210

90th Percentile: $98,190

Projected job growth: 11.5%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $61,510 $39,000 $98,480
Alabama $59,260 $37,340 $76,300
Arkansas $49,890 $37,200 $77,430
Arizona $49,430 $38,350 $77,250
California $76,310 $47,730 $125,590
Colorado $60,510 $38,700 $78,920
Connecticut $61,730 $37,220 $99,310
District of Columbia $63,340 $38,700 $97,760
Delaware $71,980 $39,000 $97,530
Florida $49,290 $36,310 $80,420
Georgia $60,250 $36,910 $96,270
Hawaii $62,250 $48,520 $97,040
Iowa $49,290 $36,750 $77,450
Idaho $48,560 $37,340 $76,490
Illinois $49,510 $37,250 $81,610
Indiana $49,340 $36,740 $76,740
Kansas $49,590 $38,590 $80,390
Kentucky $60,040 $36,750 $77,920
Louisiana $60,510 $47,310 $76,490
Massachusetts $74,780 $47,550 $103,570
Maryland $64,280 $46,910 $102,230
Maine $50,250 $38,430 $78,360
Michigan $49,300 $36,910 $80,390
Minnesota $58,160 $39,380 $80,420
Missouri $47,500 $36,150 $76,480
Mississippi $49,590 $30,460 $74,840
Montana $47,760 $30,690 $77,510
North Carolina $49,560 $36,600 $64,240
North Dakota $60,760 $37,820 $77,250
Nebraska $61,190 $39,030 $81,610
New Hampshire $48,680 $36,340 $76,950
New Jersey $76,630 $48,820 $100,920
New Mexico $60,510 $38,430 $84,390
Nevada $63,100 $46,470 $81,510
New York $61,660 $38,430 $123,990
Ohio $61,140 $36,920 $98,250
Oklahoma $49,300 $29,390 $77,510
Oregon $61,330 $38,660 $101,540
Pennsylvania $61,860 $42,260 $98,880
Rhode Island $61,280 $38,700 $98,480
South Carolina $49,130 $33,430 $79,110
South Dakota $47,760 $36,660 $61,730
Tennessee $49,980 $30,810 $77,920
Texas $61,100 $37,340 $78,360
Utah $48,520 $31,200 $78,030
Virginia $62,540 $40,740 $103,570
Vermont $59,360 $38,860 $78,850
Washington $75,780 $48,820 $103,570
Wisconsin $49,980 $38,520 $77,680
West Virginia $49,360 $30,320 $63,480
Wyoming $60,790 $38,860 $77,920

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

Some states require career counselors to hold a license, though often these credentials can only be obtained with a master’s degree.


Health educator

Health educators teach people about ways to improve their wellness and also develop and implement strategies that promote the health of entire communities.

Salary

Health Education Specialists

National data

Median Salary: $60,600

Projected job growth: 12.4%

10th Percentile: $37,020

25th Percentile: $46,770

75th Percentile: $78,220

90th Percentile: $102,480

Projected job growth: 12.4%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $68,140 $39,660 $98,650
Alabama $50,720 $37,080 $79,760
Arkansas $46,940 $37,190 $77,650
Arizona $48,460 $30,700 $77,180
California $61,480 $38,960 $104,210
Colorado $60,670 $38,800 $98,070
Connecticut $61,480 $36,920 $125,250
District of Columbia $97,460 $48,820 $139,440
Delaware $60,910 $42,690 $97,460
Florida $60,010 $31,550 $101,540
Georgia $86,280 $42,440 $137,650
Hawaii $59,610 $39,000 $93,400
Iowa $61,410 $39,940 $77,840
Idaho $62,870 $37,390 $101,550
Illinois $47,770 $37,310 $80,830
Indiana $62,330 $36,900 $97,750
Kansas $49,710 $35,120 $77,710
Kentucky $60,900 $30,160 $103,100
Louisiana $62,120 $36,740 $115,350
Massachusetts $61,620 $31,010 $122,970
Maryland $87,190 $47,230 $138,860
Maine $49,630 $38,430 $81,240
Michigan $49,290 $30,320 $77,370
Minnesota $62,320 $39,000 $97,450
Missouri $47,500 $30,300 $77,280
Mississippi $37,080 $29,190 $63,510
Montana $47,760 $31,060 $76,670
North Carolina $49,240 $37,300 $78,360
North Dakota $60,070 $39,000 $76,920
Nebraska $50,100 $35,260 $81,020
New Hampshire $63,550 $39,120 $99,080
New Jersey $60,910 $47,230 $98,520
New Mexico $46,680 $34,010 $80,630
Nevada $61,140 $35,570 $79,450
New York $60,990 $38,800 $96,400
Ohio $60,630 $35,760 $81,360
Oklahoma $60,110 $37,300 $79,260
Oregon $63,440 $42,540 $102,630
Pennsylvania $61,280 $38,210 $88,170
Rhode Island $77,210 $47,400 $98,520
South Carolina $49,250 $30,790 $94,800
South Dakota $47,430 $36,900 $61,860
Tennessee $55,200 $23,410 $126,110
Texas $49,580 $30,510 $88,590
Utah $47,760 $32,050 $96,770
Virginia $63,310 $38,670 $125,820
Vermont $60,920 $37,020 $96,710
Washington $62,660 $48,310 $80,670
Wisconsin $61,410 $47,730 $79,890
West Virginia $40,320 $29,250 $79,890
Wyoming $47,760 $29,400 $78,210

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

Many employers will require you to have the credential of being a Certified Health Education Specialist. This is done through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing and involves passing a 165-question exam.


Human resources specialist or manager

Roles in human resources can be found in nearly every industry. These positions coordinate administrative functions within an organization, oversee recruiting and hiring, handle issues that arise among staff members, and act as a link between employees and management.

Salary

Human Resources Specialists

National data

Median Salary: $62,290

Projected job growth: 10.4%

10th Percentile: $37,680

25th Percentile: $48,080

75th Percentile: $81,090

90th Percentile: $108,160

Projected job growth: 10.4%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $63,460 $37,880 $101,090
Alabama $59,260 $37,130 $96,450
Arkansas $48,560 $29,920 $96,450
Arizona $60,460 $37,570 $100,060
California $76,480 $47,120 $128,510
Colorado $64,080 $38,540 $115,010
Connecticut $63,450 $39,290 $104,530
District of Columbia $99,050 $49,130 $147,010
Delaware $62,200 $37,880 $125,250
Florida $59,800 $36,850 $99,320
Georgia $58,880 $34,350 $101,080
Hawaii $61,850 $38,360 $101,340
Iowa $60,360 $37,680 $98,030
Idaho $59,030 $36,630 $96,270
Illinois $61,850 $37,070 $101,320
Indiana $50,100 $36,490 $95,920
Kansas $60,410 $37,590 $98,070
Kentucky $60,120 $37,240 $95,750
Louisiana $49,600 $33,510 $81,660
Massachusetts $76,220 $41,910 $125,730
Maryland $76,040 $47,230 $122,620
Maine $62,320 $46,240 $97,630
Michigan $60,740 $37,680 $98,040
Minnesota $63,470 $45,480 $103,260
Missouri $57,200 $36,970 $98,070
Mississippi $47,570 $30,280 $81,140
Montana $49,490 $37,080 $79,930
North Carolina $60,360 $37,020 $101,320
North Dakota $61,650 $37,760 $98,070
Nebraska $52,340 $37,680 $93,290
New Hampshire $62,250 $41,550 $103,230
New Jersey $78,030 $47,340 $129,250
New Mexico $57,350 $36,900 $98,900
Nevada $50,120 $23,900 $95,750
New York $77,120 $47,230 $129,660
Ohio $60,130 $35,720 $100,060
Oklahoma $49,630 $33,660 $95,750
Oregon $62,200 $37,680 $100,950
Pennsylvania $61,680 $37,020 $102,660
Rhode Island $76,040 $47,230 $125,250
South Carolina $60,040 $37,450 $98,690
South Dakota $60,110 $38,060 $82,640
Tennessee $49,230 $31,350 $85,220
Texas $61,570 $37,450 $106,030
Utah $58,340 $33,140 $100,060
Virginia $75,720 $39,250 $125,820
Vermont $61,670 $38,360 $95,750
Washington $77,480 $47,230 $127,660
Wisconsin $60,630 $37,570 $97,150
West Virginia $56,990 $36,700 $95,750
Wyoming $55,200 $37,990 $82,640

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

Some jobs, especially managerial roles, will require related work experience.


Rehabilitation specialist

Rehab specialists work with clients to overcome the personal and psychological effects of physical, mental, emotional, or developmental disabilities. They can work in a variety of settings including rehab facilities, nursing homes, and youth organizations.

Salary

Rehabilitation Counselors

National data

Median Salary: $38,560

Projected job growth: 10.4%

10th Percentile: $28,890

25th Percentile: $30,610

75th Percentile: $52,920

90th Percentile: $65,880

Projected job growth: 10.4%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $48,480 $38,390 $83,880
Alabama $41,270 $24,130 $65,680
Arkansas $37,200 $24,000 $58,700
Arizona $38,270 $28,340 $48,550
California $36,280 $29,410 $72,410
Colorado $43,610 $29,710 $66,650
Connecticut $37,790 $28,990 $77,020
District of Columbia $47,560 $31,610 $77,020
Delaware $38,780 $29,490 $52,150
Florida $36,360 $23,870 $66,010
Georgia $52,370 $32,130 $74,100
Hawaii $38,720 $30,540 $38,720
Iowa $36,360 $28,820 $59,150
Idaho $39,740 $23,780 $59,360
Illinois $43,150 $29,100 $70,680
Indiana $38,290 $28,290 $58,120
Kansas $30,440 $17,560 $47,520
Kentucky $38,500 $29,190 $62,740
Louisiana $37,340 $28,820 $75,930
Massachusetts $47,720 $30,740 $77,020
Maryland $38,320 $29,090 $62,420
Maine $48,700 $36,590 N/A
Michigan $38,610 $28,950 $66,190
Minnesota $46,990 $30,380 $62,610
Missouri $43,150 $29,550 $60,030
Mississippi $33,350 $18,130 $53,520
Montana $31,750 $28,020 $48,130
North Carolina $39,320 $24,410 $58,180
North Dakota $53,840 $30,540 $62,610
Nebraska $43,090 $28,820 $59,850
New Hampshire $44,560 $28,990 $64,500
New Jersey $76,410 $48,480 $96,940
New Mexico $38,500 $29,170 $53,370
Nevada $48,040 $23,870 $73,370
New York $38,390 $27,770 $74,390
Ohio $38,320 $26,200 $76,410
Oklahoma $29,250 $18,340 $53,700
Oregon $58,640 $36,380 $58,640
Pennsylvania $36,590 $26,640 $74,270
Rhode Island $59,990 $36,590 $96,520
South Carolina $30,220 $28,560 $48,040
South Dakota $42,430 $30,440 $59,360
Tennessee $38,500 $24,410 $59,910
Texas $44,320 $22,830 $61,920
Utah $37,060 $24,460 $69,080
Virginia $39,210 $24,600 $64,400
Vermont $38,500 $30,440 $75,280
Washington $47,390 $37,340 $74,310
Wisconsin $37,060 $23,420 $56,080
West Virginia $37,200 $24,290 $75,360
Wyoming $53,150 $29,350 $65,780

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

Some positions may require certification or a license, though these credentials can often only be obtained with a master’s degree.


Social and community service manager

These roles coordinate and supervise social service programs for nonprofit organizations or government agencies.

Salary

Social and Community Service Managers

National data

Median Salary: $74,000

Projected job growth: 15.2%

10th Percentile: $46,550

25th Percentile: $58,490

75th Percentile: $93,950

90th Percentile: $118,650

Projected job growth: 15.2%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $76,870 $47,900 $118,400
Alabama $61,080 $36,900 $100,170
Arkansas $48,930 $34,190 $78,150
Arizona $62,280 $44,610 $100,450
California $76,260 $47,790 $128,710
Colorado $77,190 $47,230 $128,710
Connecticut $60,020 $39,400 $99,330
District of Columbia $98,580 $60,020 $149,150
Delaware $61,160 $48,220 $96,190
Florida $62,010 $38,200 $119,570
Georgia $58,560 $40,980 $117,740
Hawaii $63,270 $46,310 $100,760
Iowa $59,110 $37,400 $89,020
Idaho $48,930 $36,900 $100,690
Illinois $63,680 $41,800 $101,920
Indiana $59,430 $36,900 $96,220
Kansas $60,790 $46,210 $97,630
Kentucky $60,130 $43,590 $110,550
Louisiana $77,590 $47,040 $101,400
Massachusetts $72,000 $46,940 $104,040
Maryland $78,470 $47,230 $126,460
Maine $61,250 $46,590 $85,990
Michigan $76,130 $47,230 $98,820
Minnesota $76,600 $48,500 $120,330
Missouri $60,180 $46,490 $93,820
Mississippi $47,200 $36,520 $94,650
Montana $59,480 $36,720 $82,090
North Carolina $61,950 $39,800 $101,330
North Dakota $74,890 $46,680 $101,430
Nebraska $63,350 $44,630 $159,100
New Hampshire $61,440 $46,790 $99,700
New Jersey $84,720 $59,180 $129,730
New Mexico $66,040 $45,680 $93,440
Nevada $76,080 $46,760 $120,490
New York $78,130 $54,820 $129,480
Ohio $62,680 $40,840 $101,470
Oklahoma $61,800 $36,900 $98,280
Oregon $66,790 $37,810 $101,400
Pennsylvania $65,140 $46,500 $115,670
Rhode Island $79,420 $48,100 $129,470
South Carolina $71,970 $46,480 $117,640
South Dakota $75,670 $58,650 $99,950
Tennessee $64,600 $37,400 $107,940
Texas $71,980 $47,040 $101,470
Utah $60,180 $45,700 $93,950
Virginia $79,410 $48,560 $126,460
Vermont $61,910 $46,490 $100,690
Washington $76,600 $59,430 $122,650
Wisconsin $74,060 $47,780 $99,510
West Virginia $60,110 $38,160 $85,360
Wyoming $59,700 $36,840 $98,110

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

Many roles will require that you’ve had a set number of supervised hours of fieldwork.


Social worker

These professionals ensure the rights of underserved classes of people who may have difficulties speaking up for themselves or finding access to mental health and other healthcare services they need.

Salary

Social Workers, All Other

National data

Median Salary: $61,190

Projected job growth: 5.8%

10th Percentile: $36,780

25th Percentile: $46,340

75th Percentile: $80,040

90th Percentile: $93,540

Projected job growth: 5.8%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $49,630 $36,920 $95,310
Alabama $71,300 $37,700 $88,090
Arkansas $37,200 $36,740 $87,820
Arizona $60,510 $37,300 $88,300
California $61,690 $38,520 $103,230
Colorado $48,620 $36,590 $86,570
Connecticut $64,380 $38,180 $95,720
District of Columbia $60,020 $47,130 $101,730
Delaware $67,230 $39,470 $95,560
Florida $47,260 $36,230 $87,820
Georgia $81,620 $38,830 $97,970
Hawaii $90,540 $48,360 $101,190
Iowa $64,650 $36,750 $84,030
Illinois $71,120 $36,910 $95,720
Indiana $71,700 $48,550 $88,550
Kansas $76,190 $40,870 $91,310
Kentucky $46,640 $30,720 $90,400
Louisiana $54,730 $29,030 $92,980
Massachusetts $88,770 $61,650 $103,520
Maryland $63,340 $43,070 $103,570
Maine $50,070 $44,370 $76,950
Michigan $61,210 $38,500 $90,750
Minnesota $63,480 $46,640 $91,620
Missouri $37,200 $31,180 $84,030
Mississippi $47,820 $36,300 $90,400
Montana $46,920 $37,700 $71,120
North Carolina $67,160 $36,170 $90,400
North Dakota $73,260 $46,750 $87,820
Nebraska $61,210 $37,890 $85,220
New Hampshire $80,540 $49,630 $100,650
New Jersey $63,410 $46,920 $97,650
New Mexico $57,370 $46,010 $84,570
Nevada $86,510 $38,200 $98,450
New York $76,410 $47,390 $96,940
Ohio $57,390 $36,500 $82,640
Oklahoma $53,410 $38,820 $90,400
Oregon $54,220 $39,000 $76,410
Pennsylvania $68,370 $38,120 $93,970
South Carolina $77,480 $38,580 $92,980
South Dakota $78,640 $55,120 $90,400
Tennessee $39,820 $24,030 $84,030
Texas $67,190 $37,460 $96,240
Utah $45,360 $36,770 $87,820
Virginia $75,800 $40,340 $96,010
Vermont $58,390 $38,850 $88,520
Washington $81,510 $46,760 $106,950
Wisconsin $60,040 $38,520 $83,180
West Virginia $73,260 $36,740 $95,560

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

You need to meet your state’s licensing requirements in order to practice.


Substance abuse counselor

They teach clients how to alter their attitudes and beliefs, and develop strategies to overcome denial and rationalization in the hope of achieving full recovery. Plus, the job growth for this field is very positive over the next decade.

Salary

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

National data

Median Salary: $48,520

Projected job growth: 22.9%

10th Percentile: $30,870

25th Percentile: $38,520

75th Percentile: $61,660

90th Percentile: $77,980

Projected job growth: 22.9%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $61,040 $37,440 $97,740
Alabama $38,830 $29,430 $61,140
Arkansas $38,660 $27,520 $77,510
Arizona $48,930 $36,940 $76,630
California $49,630 $36,750 $98,560
Colorado $49,630 $36,330 $80,580
Connecticut $48,900 $36,330 $81,610
District of Columbia $60,600 $31,370 $96,870
Delaware $46,910 $30,730 $63,340
Florida $46,680 $30,130 $76,880
Georgia $44,080 $30,320 $63,310
Hawaii $51,060 $38,000 $80,580
Iowa $47,730 $30,090 $77,460
Idaho $49,360 $30,690 $79,420
Illinois $47,640 $35,100 $80,030
Indiana $46,230 $30,640 $76,090
Kansas $48,330 $30,810 $63,460
Kentucky $44,250 $28,820 $62,870
Louisiana $37,510 $25,290 $59,460
Massachusetts $48,960 $37,070 $78,540
Maryland $55,480 $36,650 $78,310
Maine $48,960 $30,840 $100,040
Michigan $48,820 $31,800 $76,650
Minnesota $48,980 $37,960 $65,510
Missouri $38,920 $26,140 $60,310
Mississippi $37,580 $23,700 $62,670
Montana $46,790 $24,510 $63,800
North Carolina $48,640 $29,960 $76,670
North Dakota $60,920 $36,750 $76,720
Nebraska $49,370 $30,640 $78,700
New Hampshire $46,640 $30,720 $68,520
New Jersey $60,000 $44,470 $92,620
New Mexico $56,750 $36,230 $96,710
Nevada $59,940 $30,640 $95,790
New York $49,650 $31,310 $78,940
Ohio $47,510 $30,600 $76,950
Oklahoma $47,500 $29,200 $76,720
Oregon $59,060 $37,140 $94,800
Pennsylvania $46,790 $30,690 $75,060
Rhode Island $60,300 $31,990 $97,740
South Carolina $38,110 $28,580 $73,730
South Dakota $39,070 $30,970 $61,330
Tennessee $37,700 $27,780 $61,380
Texas $46,470 $29,360 $76,670
Utah $60,460 $30,690 $101,100
Virginia $48,820 $36,750 $76,670
Vermont $47,320 $38,360 $63,340
Washington $49,360 $37,070 $78,090
Wisconsin $48,100 $32,770 $76,650
West Virginia $38,100 $29,530 $60,340
Wyoming $60,130 $38,830 $96,440

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Other requirements

You’ll need to earn clinical hours, pass a background check, and get licensed in order to practice.

Or, Consider These Career Areas

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 include some of the above. Other areas you might consider are:

  • Mid-level managers, executives, and administrators
  • Sales
  • Social Work
  • Management-related occupations
  • Administrative jobs
  • Insurance, real estate, and business services
  • Marketing
  • Registered nurse, pharmacist, therapist, and physician’s assistant
  • Accountant, auditor, and other financial specialists

Typical Degree & Career Paths in Psychology

Though you can get your start in the psychology field with a bachelor’s degree, most professionals eventually pursue advanced education. Higher degrees, particularly doctorates, can prepare you for roles such as a clinical, educational, or forensic psychologist. You could also go on to become a psychology professor or researcher. Though varied by state, holding a doctorate is often required to gain a license to work in these roles.

Can I apply existing college credits toward a bachelor’s degree?

Usually, yes. If you hold an associate’s degree in psychology, many programs will allow you to transfer those credits over to earning your bachelor’s. This could mean completing your bachelor’s degree in as little as 1 1/2–2 years.

However, if it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve earned these credits, colleges may not consider your knowledge up-to-date. In this case, you’ll need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the traditional 4-year format.

Academic Requirements Before Starting a Bachelor’s in Psychology

You’ll need a high school diploma or GED before you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Beyond that, each school will have its own individual requirements regarding GPA, previous education, letters of recommendation, and personal essays.

Is there a GPA requirement?

Some psychology programs will admit students with a GPA of at least 2.5, however many require a minimum of 3.0.

Do you need to take the SAT or ACT?

While it depends on the school, most bachelor’s degree programs require you to achieve certain scores on the SAT or ACT. Most schools don’t express a preference and taking both tests can allow you to compare scores and choose the one that’s best. Many students at selective colleges submit scores for both exams, which can possibly make you more competitive depending on your scores.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree?

A traditional bachelor’s degree takes 4 years to complete. Some programs might be part-time and take longer, while others might have accelerated options through transfer credits or online programs.

The Bachelor’s in Psychology Curriculum

Classes will vary depending on your school, but all psychology students must study foundational topics that cover human behavior, development, personality, sociology, health, and more. In additional to psychology classes, you’ll likely need to take general courses such as writing, communication, and statistics.

What core classes are involved?

Core classes will most likely include variations of the following:

  • Cognitive psychology: These courses cover human thinking and dive into topics such as memory, emotion, decision making, problem solving, and knowledge acquisition.
  • Abnormal psychology: In these courses, you’ll study the issues involved in psychological and behavioral disorders including anxiety, dissociation, depression, substance abuse, personality disorders, and more.
  • Psychological assessment: These courses teach you how to identify an individual’s personality traits, cognitive abilities, and values. You’ll learn how to apply these methods to a variety of healthcare, workplace, and social settings.

Number of course credits

Schools generally require at least 120 credits to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Some students, especially those who won’t be attending on a full-time basis, may evaluate schools on a cost-per-credit basis. Applying any relevant credits from an associate’s degree may significantly reduce your cost.

Can you specialize in an area of interest?

Yes. There are concentrations available in a wide variety of subjects, some that are more versatile and some that are more specific. These concentrations are often studied through a mix of classroom work, fieldwork, and research. Popular specializations include:

Is an Internship Required for an Bachelor’s Degree?

Though this varies by school, earning a bachelor’s degrees in psychology might require certain credits or hours of an internship. Many full-time students opt to seek out summer internships in settings like counseling centers and research labs.

Can You Get an Online Psychology Degree?

Yes, however most psychology degrees will require practical experience in some form.

Online

It’s possible to find bachelor’s degrees that are entirely online. These cover the same curriculum as on-site courses and offer flexibility to those who are working or taking care of children. Keep in mind, however, that many online courses will still require hands-on experience in the form of lab work or internships. If you find an online course that lets you take your classes at your own speed, you might be able to earn your degree sooner.

Classroom

Students who want a more traditional college experience can find plenty of programs that allow them to take all of their classes on campus. You might still be able to have flexibility if the school offers courses at night or on the weekends.

Hybrid

An increasingly popular option for degrees of all levels is the hybrid program. This blends a mix of online and on-campus courses. You may take most of your classes online and go to campus just 1 or 2 times a week. As with entirely online courses, you might be able to accelerate your degree if classes can be taken at your own pace.

Accelerated

On top of accelerating your bachelor’s degree through online courses or transfer credits, you may also be able to accelerate a master’s degree. With dual degree options, you can begin your master’s-level coursework while you’re still working on your bachelor’s. This can allow you to save time and money by earning your master’s with as little as half of the required credits.

How to Pick a Degree Program

When researching schools, consider what aspects of the program are most important to you. These might include cost, admission requirements, curriculum, and flexibility. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Does this program offer classes in the concentration I’m interested in?
  • Does the school offer part-time or online programs?
  • Can I begin a master’s degree early through a dual degree program?
  • Will I be required to participate in an internship or other fieldwork?
  • Does the school offer job placement services?
  • What type of financial aid is available?

It’s also important to remember that the school you choose should be accredited. This ensures that your program meets quality standards and can properly prepare you to enter the workforce or pursue a higher degree. You can check accreditation through the U.S. Department of Education database.

Financial Aid for Psychology Students

There are several different types of financial aid available for students seeking a bachelor’s degree. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines how much assistance the U.S. government thinks you’re qualified to receive. Only students at accredited schools are eligible to receive federal aid. This aid can come in the form of loans, grants, or work-study stipends. You can also apply for private loans through banks and other institutions.

You may also qualify to receive scholarships or grants based on academic merit or other criteria. You can find scholarships that are open to all types of students, as well as ones designed for particular people based on things such as ethnicity, background, military service, and more.

Does Psychology Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?

There’s a variety of forgiveness programs that can help you lower or relieve some or all of your loans, though you must meet certain criteria. Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, you must have direct loans and secure full-time employment at a government or nonprofit agency. Many states also have their own loan forgiveness programs with their own unique requirements.

Professional Organizations for Psychology

Becoming a member of a professional organization can provide great opportunities to network, gain new education, and obtain certification. Some prominent groups for those with bachelor’s degrees include:

  • The American Psychological Association (APA)As the largest organization of psychologists in America, the APA provides professional development opportunities, publishes educational magazines and journals, and offers chances to attend conferences and other events.
  • The American Educational Research Association (AERA)The AERA is dedicated to advancing knowledge about educational research and evidence-based policies, while strengthening the communication between researchers and policymakers. They offer access to professional advancement, cutting-edge research, and special events.
  • The Association for Psychological Science (APS)The APS fosters the advancement of scientific psychology across multiple disciplines and geographic borders. They advocate for the increased use of psychological science in public policy and provide members with the latest research through journals and conventions.

Just remember, 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.