Over 40 million American adults suffer from mental health problems, with around 10 million living with serious illnesses. Besides these numbers, many live with day-to-day stress, anxiety, or depression.
For this reason, the scope of studying psychology and pursuing a related career has increased rapidly. According to the US Department of Education, psychology is the fourth most popular major in the country, and it offers a variety of career choices that pay well.
How to Choose a Career in Psychology
Choosing a career in psychology can be a fulfilling path for those interested in helping others and understanding the human mind. To choose a career in psychology, individuals should first consider their personal interests, strengths, and values. It is also important to research different areas of psychology, such as clinical, counseling, or educational psychology, to determine which aligns with their career goals. Additionally, individuals should consider the level of education and training required for their desired career path, as well as the job outlook and potential salary. Gaining experience through internships or volunteering can also be helpful in determining if a career in psychology is the right fit.
If you’re considering this subject as your major, here are some careers you can look into:
This is one of the most common career options for psychology majors. Psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating both neurological and behavioral problems. Moreover, they are also licensed to prescribe medication to treat these conditions alongside using conventional techniques like behavioral therapy and counseling. With a salary of $220,000 per year, it is one of the highest-paying jobs for psychology graduates. You can become a psychiatrist by completing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology online, clearing med school, and fulfilling other professional requirements.
2. Organizational psychologist
Also known as industrial psychologists, these professionals work with large organizations in the corporate sector. Their job entails applying their understanding and knowledge of psychological concepts and theories and human behavior to drive maximum efficiency and productivity in the workplace. They are responsible for addressing factors that affect organizational output, such as hiring employees, identifying the root cause of lost work hours, and increasing employee motivation and satisfaction. The minimum education requirement for this job is a bachelor’s degree, but higher education, such as a master’s or doctorate, enables organizational psychologists to earn a yearly salary of $102,530.
Neuropsychologists specialize in dealing with human emotions, cognition, and behavior by studying the brain’s anatomy and central nervous system. They perform cognitive tests and run brain scans such as MRIs and CT scans to diagnose brain-related injuries and problems. They also study the effects of multiple drugs on the body and nervous system. Neuropsychologists work in hospitals, mental health clinics, research facilities, or pharmaceutical labs. Earning higher education in neuropsychology can help you land this profession and earn nearly six figures annually.
4. Clinical psychologists
Clinical psychologists work one-on-one with patients to diagnose, treat, and manage mental illness and cognitive and behavioral disorders. Clinical psychologists usually work with smaller groups of patients, but can also secure employment in mental health clinics and rehab centers. Although they are licensed to work in hospitals, most of them choose to set up their private practice. Clinical psychologists can earn an average salary of up to $81,330 annually, but the high demand for the job puts these professionals in a better bargaining position.
5. Engineering psychologist
Also known as human factors engineers, engineering psychologists combine their knowledge of the human mind and behavior with engineering to determine how machines and people can work together. They work to improve the design of systems, operations, and equipment to improve efficiency, reduce injuries and make machines more user-friendly. Most engineering psychologists work in industrial settings. However, the scope in the government sector, such as for the Defense Department, is more significant than that in private sector companies. The demand for engineering psychologists has skyrocketed as technology continues to take over. Many industries today realize how efficient they can be if systems are more functionally specific. Engineering psychologists can earn between $75,000 and $111,000, depending on their education and experience.
Counselors are usually confused with clinical psychologists; however, the primary difference is that the former deals with less severely ill patients. Counselors work with patients in one-on-one sessions to bring a positive impact on their overall well-being. But they may eventually refer patients to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on their condition. To do their job, counselors must understand normal cognitive development to recognize problem areas at once. They must be focused on developing a long-term positive, trustworthy relationship with their patients and create a safe space for them to open up about their problems. The average pay for counselors is $72,540 per year.
7. Psychology teacher
As a psychologist teacher, you prepare and teach students coursework in psychology, counseling, and related career paths. The primary job is to prepare the next generation of psychologists for different career paths, as listed above. They are also involved in writing and conducting research on behalf of the hiring institution. Psychology professors at top universities have a starting salary of up to $110,000 per year and require a master’s or doctorate in the subject.
People with psychology majors can also work in jobs with little to do with human health and disease. In fact, they can work in advertising agencies and marketing departments and use their know-how of human behavior to monitor consumer behavior and help companies optimize their marketing ROI. These professionals can help marketers fine-tune their ad campaigns and help develop better products and services to sell to people. Skilled psychology professionals working in advertising agencies can earn up to six figures per year.
Earning a degree in psychology can open doors to many high-paying job opportunities for you in diverse working environments. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6% increase in the demand for psychology professionals in the coming years, with clinical psychologists and counselors being the fastest-growing professions. So choose a career that piques your interest and plan your journey accordingly.