Put Your Psychology Major to Work

Learn how many things you can do with a psychology major—which don’t include becoming a practicing psychologist.

careers-psychology-majorTo forge a career as a practicing psychologist you’ll need an advanced degree—at least a master’s, and more likely a PhD or PsyD. This requirement also applies to the gamut of psychology’s subfields, from cognitive to clinical psychology.

In reality, however, not everyone with a psychology major wants to become a practicing psychologist. Some students enrolled in a psychology major program simply want to use their undergraduate degree to move full-speed ahead into a related field in the workforce.

If you’re a psychology undergrad, you’ll often hear about the competitive job market and about that “mandatory” higher degree. But you may not want the pressure that goes with earning a master’s degree and studying for the GRE. You may also wonder what career choices you’d have as a psychology major with an undergraduate degree.

What Can I Do With a Psychology Major?

Here’s the good news! Psychology majors can do several things to enhance their marketability and find employment with a bachelor’s degree, starting with taking some non-psychology courses while earning that bachelor’s in psychology. Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, advises psychology majors to expand their academic horizons and take two or more courses in at least one of the following areas:

  • Economics
  • Business administration
  • Personnel, human resources, recruiting
  • Marketing
  • Consumer education
  • Journalism or writing
  • Speech
  • Communications
  • English composition
  • Biological and ecological sciences
  • Math/statistics
  • Computer science
  • Sociology
  • Social work

Adding one of these areas of emphasis to your psychology major can potentially open doors to jobs other than those limited to practicing psychology, but which will utilize your knowledge as a psychology major. Psi Chi also suggests that any opportunities for taking music, art and recreational courses pertinent to therapeutic psychology can also prove valuable.

Additionally, says Psi Chi, psychology majors should take courses which prepare them to use psychological tests, interview techniques or research design. Students may find that this information will broaden their career options because it adds insight into human behavior.

Top Jobs for Putting a Psychology Major to Work

Psychology majors are not limited to employment as practicing psychologists. By adding an educational emphasis in another field, psychology majors have many employment choices such as the careers in the table below:

Top 10 Jobs for Psychology Majors Median Annual Salary*
Human Resources (HR) Manager $106,910
Employment, Recruitment or Placement Specialist $59,180
Administrative Services Manager $90,050
Social Worker $46,890
Meeting, Convention and Event Planner $47,350
Mental Health Counselor $42,840
Administrative Assistant $37,230
Social and Community Service Managers $64,680

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook: Human Resources Manager; Human Resources Specialist; Administrative Services Manager; Social Workers; Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners; Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists; Administrative Assistant; Social and Community Service Managers.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

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