Do You Have A Masters In Psychology? Jobs You May Want To Consider

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated April 24, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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You may already be considering career options if you've graduated from a psychology program or plan to enter the field. Statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show psychology as the fourth most popular degree after business, health professions, and theology. The number of psychologists is rising faster than teachers, scientists, and engineers. Comparatively, education and history were once the most popular majors.

As the study of the mind and human behavior grows, more people become interested in psychology. As a result, you may have to be more creative when choosing a career path if you have a master's in psychology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of these careers have a bright outlook. 

Ready to put your master's degree in psychology to work?

Master’s degree in psychology – Factors to consider

A master’s degree in psychology opens the door to numerous professional opportunities. Individuals who have decided to enter the psychology field have a range of options in terms of their roles, work environments, and responsibilities. Graduates can work in mental health care, educational settings, the public health arena, and many other venues. If you’re completing graduate school or have recently earned a master’s degree in psychology, you may want to keep the following considerations in mind as you continue down your career path. 

Pursuing further education vs entering the workforce

Professionals who have recently earned a master’s in psychology may be deciding whether that will be their terminal degree or a stepping-stone to a doctoral degree. If your ultimate goal is to become a psychologist, you will typically have to earn a PhD or PsyD. The decision of whether to pursue a doctoral degree can depend on several factors. 

Psychologists generally earn more than professionals with master’s degrees. They also tend to have a greater number of opportunities. However, pursuing a doctoral degree can be expensive and time consuming. Additionally, many roles do not require candidates to hold PhDs or PsyDs. You’ll likely need to do plenty of research to determine whether the positions you’re seeking are typically filled by psychologists or professionals with master’s degrees.  

You may also decide to take time between your master’s and doctoral programs. Some graduates choose to gain experience before pursuing a PhD or PsyD. This can help future psychologists better understand which field they’d like to enter. Additionally, the income from entry-level jobs can help graduates save money and avoid relying on financial aid once they start working toward their doctoral degree.  

Differences between clinical and counseling psychologists

Depending on their career trajectory, individuals who become psychologists often choose between two similar fields: clinical and counseling psychology. Both clinical and counseling psychologists provide psychotherapy and other forms of care in various contexts. However, clinical psychologists typically focus on treating mental health disorders, while professionals in counseling psychology usually assist clients with psychological concerns related to specific life challenges. 

For example, a clinical psychologist may primarily help clients manage symptoms of severe anxiety disorders; while a counseling psychologist might focus on helping married couples address mental health challenges related to their relationship. Clinical psychologists can hold diverse titles, including substance use counselor, rehabilitation psychologist, and forensic psychologist. Possible job titles for counseling psychologists include career counselor, school counselor, social worker, and family therapist. 

Other ways you can use a master’s degree in psychology

If you have a master’s degree in psychology but aren’t planning on becoming a psychologist—or you want to gain experience before pursuing a PhD—you can still choose from a range of industries and career paths. Graduates can work in health psychology, forensic psychology, applied psychology, cognitive psychology, or sports psychology. Individuals with master’s degrees in psychology can become not only therapists but also teachers, business executives, and even FBI agents. 

Conduct research

A research-oriented career in psychology allows graduates to contribute to our understanding of various disorders, treatments, and psychological phenomena. For example, you may choose to utilize research methods to develop new medications, study personality, or uncover information about the sources of a disorder. If you pursue a research path, you may oversee studies at the university level, help test medications in non-public labs, or study trends for government agencies.  


Organizations in a range of industries can benefit from the insights of psychology professionals. Psychologists can help businesses understand consumer behavior, make hiring decisions, or develop more intuitive products. For example, a consulting psychologist may help public health agencies launch more effective awareness campaigns. 


Many people choose to remain in academia once they’ve completed a master’s program in psychology. Teaching psychology and related topics allow graduates to pass on the knowledge they were provided with as students. In addition to professorships, individuals with master’s degrees may pursue roles as special education, primary school, or secondary school teachers. 

Master’s degree in psychology – Jobs to consider

Mental health professionals with master’s degrees in psychology can lend their knowledge and expertise to a broad range of roles. Consider these seven psychology-friendly career choices as a starting point for your job search.

Mental health counselors

Most people with a master's in psychology end up in this field. Mental health counselors work in environments where people seek support for their emotional or mental well-being, including clinical, organizational, and school settings. Clients often seek mental health counseling for concerns such as:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions 

  • Marital and family issues

  • Grief and other emotions after losing a loved one

  • Anger management

  • Sexual issues

  • Social difficulties

  • Substance use disorders

  • Work-related stress

  • Career guidance

There is a wide range of services mental health counselors provide. An individual with a master's degree in psychology may have a practice focused on a particular field, such as OCD or depression. Others pride themselves on assisting those needing professional career guidance. With a master's in psychology, you can tailor your career choice to your personality and interests. Other job titles under this umbrella include mental health specialists, clinicians, therapists, and behavior analysts. You can explore the current outlook of a mental health counselor job below:

Job growth outlook

Much faster than average (26% growth)


$46,740 average annual salary

Education required

Master's degree in a mental health-related field (e.g., psychology, social work, counseling) and state licensing.

Skills needed

  • The ability to communicate with a diverse population of clients

  • Technology skills

  • Active listening and other communication skills

  • Compassion/empathy for those in need

  • Problem-solving abilities

School counselors

If you enjoy working with children, you might want to take a more targeted counseling role and become a school counselor with your master's in psychology. School counselors help children, adolescents, and college students navigate problems inside and outside the classroom. As a school counselor, you’ll help students overcome academic, social, and emotional challenges like coping with a learning disability or standing up to a bully.

Although the growth potential for this career path is slower, and positions can be hard to find, the starting salary is usually higher than those of general counselors. Having time off on weekends, holidays, and summer breaks is common. This kind of schedule can be convenient for those with a family.

Job growth outlook

Faster than average (13% growth)


$56,310 average annual salary

Education required

School counselors typically hold a master's degree in a mental health-related field (e.g., psychology, social work, counseling) and are licensed by their state. Child development classes are usually beneficial.

Skills needed

  • The ability to build rapport with children

  • Flexibility and open-mindedness

  • Assessment skills

  • Patience

Substance use/addiction counselors

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse trend report, illicit drug use in the US has skyrocketed for the past two decades. Despite declining teen alcohol consumption, binge drinking remains a serious issue for both men and women. Substance use counselors are increasingly in demand because of the increasing prevalence of addiction.

It might be a good career choice if you enjoy helping people experiencing substance use or addiction while assessing the underlying issues of their condition.

Job growth outlook

Much faster than average (23% growth)


$44,630 average annual wage

Education required

Most times, you will need a master's degree in a mental health-related field (such as psychology, social work, or counseling) and state licensing. It can also be beneficial to take classes on substance abuse recovery.

Skills needed

  • Problem sensitivity

  • Deductive reasoning skills

  • Social perceptiveness

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists

Many people who study human behavior and get a master's degree in psychology look for jobs that are 'helping professions.'

The U.S. has 2.2 million inmates, making it the most incarcerated country worldwide. According to info released by the Sentencing Project, this is a 500 percent increase in the last 40 years. Although jails are supposed to help rehabilitate, most will return to prison within five years of release. Statistics show that most incarcerated people have a substance use disorder or an underlying mental health condition.

Professionals with training in psychology can be helpful to people who have a criminal record. Correctional treatment specialists assist offenders with finding support services and maintaining a rehabilitation plan so they can reintegrate into society.

Job growth outlook

Average (6% growth)


$51,410 average annual wage

Education required

A bachelor's degree is usually necessary, but a master's degree may give you an edge over other applicants.

Skills needed

  • Inductive reasoning skills

  • Oral expression and comprehension abilities

  • The ability to communicate with people from all walks of life

Human resources specialists

Even if you aren't passionate about mental health, children, or those with criminal records, your master's in psychology can be helpful in other fields. A thorough understanding of effective communication practices and the workings of the human mind can be an asset in human resources jobs.

There are lots of different roles that human resources specialists can take on, with some typical tasks including:

  • Screening, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and placing workers in employment positions

  • Explaining/training in HR policies, procedures, laws, and other control measures

  • Addressing employee issues and helping mitigate problems among workers

Job growth outlook

As fast as average (7% growth)


$60,880 average annual wage

Education required

The minimum requirement is usually a bachelor's degree.

Skills needed

  • Active listening and customer service abilities

  • Excellent clerical and computer skills

  • Written comprehension abilities

Advertising/marketing agents

The field of advertising or marketing is one that few psychology majors consider when pursuing a master's degree. The job outlook for this field is promising, and it is a fast-growing industry.

Ready to put your master's degree in psychology to work?

A psych major might wonder how an advertising agency can use their skills. In advertising, the key to success is understanding your target audience, their wants, needs, and how to make your product or service attractive. Psychology master's degree holders are a good fit for these positions because they understand the human mind and behavior. 

You can use your knowledge of human psychology to understand how people make purchasing decisions and what factors influence their buying behavior. You might develop ways to gather customer information by designing surveys or questionnaires. Then, you can use the information to create campaigns tailored to that target audience.

Job growth outlook

Much faster than average (23% growth)


$63,120 average annual wage

Education required

A bachelor's degree is usually required, but a master's degree may increase your chances of getting hired.

Skills needed

  • Complex problem solving

  • Customer/personal service abilities

  • Creativity

  • Average to advanced tech skills

Health educator/community health workers

If you are interested in teaching or spreading awareness about the importance of seeking help for mental health concerns, a job promoting wellness in the community might be the right fit. 

Health educators and education coordinators play various roles, but most focus on educating families about mental health and the resources available to help. Besides training workshops, conferences, and school programs, they may make presentations in the community. Graduates in psychology can be an excellent fit for this position, as their studies prepared them to work with others and build rapport.

Job growth outlook

Much faster than average (16% growth)


$53,940 annual average salary

Education required

Most jobs require a bachelor's degree. However, having a master's degree can give you an advantage.

Skills needed

  • Confidence when speaking to others about various health topics

  • A flexible schedule/attitude

  • The ability to establish and maintain solid interpersonal relationships

Get career guidance with online therapy

If you're still unsure how to use your degree and need additional guidance, a BetterHelp therapist may be able to help. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform with thousands of providers specialized in different areas, including career choices and paths.

As a working professional or student pursuing higher education, you may already have a packed schedule, making it challenging to attend in-person therapy sessions. Online therapy allows you to meet with a provider through phone calls, video chats, or in-app messaging, depending on your preference. You can also schedule sessions according to your availability and connect with a therapist wherever you have an internet connection. You can get therapy and get the support and encouragement you need during your career decision-making process.

The efficacy of online therapy

Research suggests that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. In a 2019 study, 30 students were randomly assigned to either the online counseling group or the control group. Researchers found that online career counseling interventions are effective and can positively impact career-making decisions.


If you hold a master’s degree in psychology or another related field, you may have more options than you realize when choosing the right career. Career decisions can be challenging, and sometimes you may need professional guidance to stay on track. Taking the first step with a BetterHelp therapist could help you make a decision that aligns with your talents and goals.
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