Psychology is the study of the human mind and how it influences human behavior. In recent years, psychology has become one of the most popular majors for college students, an unsurprising fact once you realize how relevant and exciting the subject matter can be. Majoring in psychology can be a smart way to prepare to become a licensed psychologist, but it can also be a wonderful tool for those who want to working in marketing, finance or even as writers.
The versatility of the psychology degree, whether students earn an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, opens up countless new opportunities to graduates. Find out what career paths will be open to those who complete a degree in psychology.
Human Resource Managers
In every large business, political organization or corporation, there is typically an HR department, which deals with human resources. By studying psychology at the undergraduate or graduate level, students will have skills like leadership, understanding why people act the way they do and knowing what to say to diffuse tension in difficult situations.
When combined, these skills are perfect for the head of a human resources department. A HR manager might be tasked with recruiting new employees, conducting interviews among potential staff, training new employees, acting as a liaison between employees and managers, handling payroll or just ensuring that the workplace is a secure place of employment.
Adoption Case Manager
Families who want to adopt children or serve as foster parents are incredibly admirable, but just as admirable are the trained professionals who work hard each day to ensure that children end up in safe homes and loving environments.
An adoption case manager might be responsible for screening potential foster parents, and that might involve running background checks or visiting the parents in their home to see if the environment would be suitable for children.
Adoption case managers also meet with older children to find out whether they are happy in the homes where they were placed. This can be an emotionally demanding position, but it is an integral one to the adoption system and the happiness of thousands of children around the world.
Forensic or Criminal Psychologist
This is perhaps one of the most glamorous careers on the list, thanks in large part to the number of films and television shows devoted to the art of forensic psychology. When police departments and federal agencies want to solve serious crimes, one of the ways that they do so is by trying to create a profile of the perpetrator based on a host of varying factors.
Forensic and criminal psychologists help police by piecing together evidence and historical fact to create a picture of who they are after.
If the criminal is known, then someone with a psychology background can be the perfect person to predict how they will act in a hostage situation, what their next move might be or how they might react to being confronted in a police station during an interview.
These skills can be instrumental when it comes to finding criminals, ensuring they confess and making a safer environment for society.
One of the best-paying and fastest-growing careers in the field of psychology is the industrial-organizational psychologist. These individuals use their psychology background to hire the most capable employees for a large business, or they may set up screening protocol for applicants in very high-risk and important positions.
An industrial-organizational psychologist might also be responsible for creating better business policies that make employees feel heard and validated, and their primary goal is often to create a more harmonious, efficient and productive place of work.
One of the biggest reasons to put your psychology degree to use in this type of position is for the earning potential, as the median salary for an industrial-organizational psychologist was $87,960 in 2012, and demand continues to grow for trained individuals to tackle these positions in the United States and around the world.
Substance Abuse Counselors
Recovering from an alcohol abuse condition or a drug addiction can be an incredibly challenging and stressful task for an individual, but one of the most helpful resources is having a trained substance abuse counselor available.
A substance abuse counselor uses their knowledge to asses why people use drugs or rely on particular substances to feel better, and they can help addicts understand their triggers and what kind of environment will be best for their future health.
Counselors might meet regularly with their patients at an inpatient recovery center, or they might have private sessions in their offices. Substance abuse counselors may also work in a more traditional psychologist capacity when meeting with the parents, children or friends of an addict.
They can help explain to individuals what substance abuse is an ongoing struggle, and they can equip family members with the right tools to help rather than hinder the health and sobriety success of their loved ones.
Not all psychology careers are related to the medical field. Earning a degree in psychology means that graduates have a better understanding of why people make the decisions that they do, which can be incredibly helpful in fields like marketing and advertising. A market researcher is a common career choice for those with psychology degrees, and it is a natural fit.
Market researchers seek to understand what a brand or a product’s target demographic should be, and then they lead trials to understand the effectiveness of a product’s packaging, how much potential customers enjoy the product and whether a certain commercial or print advertisement has been positive to people. It involves a lot of data analysis, which is a major tenet of the curriculum in any psychology degree.
An advertising copywriter has the challenging task of writing the text for print ads, billboards and even commercials. Trying to sum up an entire brand, product, television show or restaurant in a few choice words is not easy, but an advertising copywriter relies on their knowledge of human understanding to find the perfect phrases.
Along with excellent communication skills, this career choice requires someone who understands how and why people interpret things the way that they do, which is one reason that it is a natural fit for someone with a background in psychology.
One skill that psychology students will certainly get familiar with during college is research. Psychology involves a lot of data harvesting, data organizing and data analysis, all of which can be instrumental in various types of research.
For that reason, many graduates gravitate toward positions like research assistant, and they might help scientists or medical researchers to determine new breakthroughs in biology, psychology, human behavior and nearly any other subject.
Psychology is a vast and fascinating field, and it can be a wonderful degree choice for any student. Since it is a degree that is readily available online, even the busiest students can pursue this major and then explore any one of the career choices listed above.