10 Popular Careers With A Psychology Degree
Psychology addresses the treatment of mental health challenges, disorders, and conditions, but it can also be used to understand how psychology plays a role in everything from childhood development to marketing. It's a growing scientific discipline that uncovers new ways to improve mental well-being for people everywhere.
When you pursue psychology as a major in higher education, there are a variety of different professions that you can choose to pursue. You might want to focus on educational psychology, or you might decide to specialize in forensic psychology.
Here are ten popular careers that people pursue with a psychology degree:
Mental Health Counselor
Mental health counselors, also referred to as psychotherapists or psychologists, work with a diverse set of populations on a wide variety of mental or behavioral health concerns. They may choose to work with groups or communities, individuals, and in some cases, they might work with couples.
As a mental health counselor, you might decide to specialize in working on issues commonly faced by a particular population. For instance, depending on the counselor’s experience and expertise, a therapist may focus on issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. Or common challenges for people of color, women, etc. Salaries for mental health counselors range depending on several factors, such as their level of education, experience, and where they choose to practice.
Substance Use Counselor
A substance use counselor helps people with substance use issues and addiction to alcohol or drugs. Working as a substance use counselor is extremely rewarding and challenging, especially for individuals who have experienced their own difficulties with substance use. Many of these counselors find they have a unique perspective and capacity for empathy toward their clients that can be very helpful. This salaried position offers a range of roughly $25,000-$40,000. The amount that you earn depends on experience and where you work.
Marriage and Family Therapist or LMFT
A marriage and family therapist (LMFT) is one of the most common careers in psychology that you can pursue. If you have a passion for helping families and couples grow closer and develop stronger bonds, this is a great profession to pursue. LMFTs may work with families in an exclusive practice setting helping the family unit talk through complicated emotional issues. Some LMFTs who work in an exclusive practice setting can make upward of $100,000 per year, but the salary ranges depend on education, experience, and more.
Human behavior is crucial to understand no matter what field of psychology you explore, but you might find a particular emphasis on it in this work. An experimental psychologist is a fascinating career title that allows you to conduct research on human behavior in an academic setting, laboratory setting, and more. Experimental psychologists must have excellent writing skills for this job, as they’ll likely be writing research studies. Many different states require that people in this profession have a master’s or doctorate. The salary for this career can range anywhere from $30,000-$80,000 per year for experienced clinicians.
Forensic psychologists work with people in the criminal justice system, including eyewitnesses. These individuals often work in a law enforcement setting, helping detectives solve crimes, and they’ll often be called to testify as an expert witness in a courtroom setting. They may work with public defenders or a state lawyer in this capacity as well. Forensic psychologists earn an annual salary of roughly $45,000-$75,000.
As a sports psychologist, you have to understand the psychological perspective of an athlete in order to help them achieve a healthy winning mindset and maintain good emotional and mental health. A sports psychologist is often a part of the athletics staff and can assist in everything from rehabilitation to helping coaches stay present and focused emotionally. Sometimes, athletes have a hard time being away from their families, struggle to maintain their busy schedules, or experience depression or anxiety. These are all circumstances where a sports psychologist can help.
Neuropsychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the brain and the relationship that it has to the behavior and thoughts that individuals exhibit. They may work in hospitals or rehabilitation centers, research settings, neuroscience centers, and more. This is a career title that requires a high level of schooling, training, and overall dedication. Neuropsychologists are not required to go to medical school, but they do hold doctoral degrees.
Community or Social Service Managers
A community or social service manager works to create, improve, and supervise organizations and community-based programs that help others. A Bachelor's degree in psychology can get you an entry-level position in this field. Someone with this job title might work with an organization that helps a specific demographic or group, such as children or families in need, the homeless population, veterans, and those with mental health conditions. The salary for this position typically ranges from $49,800-$84,500.
Educational psychologists study how other people learn and retain information. They may focus on childhood development; they may assess people for developmental disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), for example. You can find these individuals in a variety of areas, including schools and exclusive practices. The range of salary could be anywhere from about $66,000-$100,000 per year. Most often, these individuals will have a master’s degree, a Ph.D., or PsyD.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can diagnose mental or behavioral health conditions and prescribe treatment for these diagnoses, including medication. The salary for psychiatrists can range from $150,000-$230,000 per year. Psychiatrists who choose to establish an exclusive practice might make more money. The requirements for becoming a psychiatrist vary depending on the state that you practice in, but you do need to have a medical degree to practice.
As someone pursuing a degree in psychology and working to become a mental health professional, you have an opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives. You can help people to recognize their potential, help families, assist people as they work to manage or recover from mental health conditions, and so much more. You can work with individuals to cultivate their strengths and work on their struggles. Whether you're working with people in a local exclusive practice or online, you have the same ability to change people's lives for the better.
With the rise in popularity of online therapy, psychologists have a new way to reach patients that’s more convenient and, sometimes, more accessible than in-person sessions. Online therapy has been proven to be as effective as in-person counseling in treating disorders such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. And you can speak to an online therapist anywhere with an internet connection anytime, which is beneficial for those patients who have difficulty leaving home or being around others due to a mental condition such as major depressive disorder, chronic anxiety, and more.
Whether you're a helping professional who provides online therapy or a client seeking better mental health, online therapy is a great place to begin. BetterHelp is an online platform that connects skilled, educated professionals who understand how the mind works with patients to help them cope with a wide range of mental and emotional challenges.
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