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

By: Mary Elizabeth Dean

Updated February 20, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

If you've finished a graduate program in psychology or are planning to enter the field, you'll need to be thinking about career options. Psychology is a popular major. According to recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), it is the fourth most common-coming in behind business, health professions (nursing, etc.), and theology. This means that more psychologists are being produced than teachers, scientists, and engineers, a stark flip from a few decades ago when education and history where the 'go to' majors.

The fact that psychology is drawing more people to study isn't a bad thing. In fact, it says a lot for the growth of the study of the mind and human behavior. You will, however, need to be more creative when it comes to choosing a career path with a master's in psychology. Jobs are out there though. Many of them are even listed as 'bright outlook jobs' according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The following seven psychology-friendly career choices are a good place to start.

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Mental Health Counselor

We list this one first since it is the most common career of those who have a master's in psychology. Jobs as mental health counselors are usually found in places where people come seeking help with their emotional or mental states. Commonly, a mental health counselor will help his or her client with problems such as:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions (mood disorders, personality disorders, etc.)
  • Marital and family issues (e., infidelity, divorce, child custody)
  • Grief and other emotions after losing a loved one.
  • Anger management
  • Sexual issues
  • Social difficulties
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Work-related stress
  • Career guidance

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As you can see, the list of what mental health counselors help with is vast. This is one of the reasons that people with masters in psychology often choose to specialize in a particular field. For example, many of the certified counselors who work for BetterHelp's online therapy platform focus on helping those struggling with depression. There are others pride themselves in assisting those needing professional career guidance. This is one of the perks of having a master's in psychology. Jobs in this field are not one-size-fits-all and can be tailored to your personality.

Other job titles that fall under this umbrella include mental health specialists, clinicians, therapists, and behavior analysts.

Job Growth Outlook:

Much faster than average (26% growth)

Salary:

$46,740 average annual salary

Education Required:

A master's degree in a mental health-related field of study (i.e., psychology, social work, counseling) and required state licensing.

Skills Needed:

  • The ability to communicate with a diverse population of clients
  • Technology skills
  • Strong, active listening skills
  • Compassion/empathy for those in need
  • Problem-solving abilities

School Counselor

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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. Jobs in schools often require professionals that want to help children, adolescents, and young adults (college students) navigate problems in and out of the classroom. As a school counselor, you will help students overcome academic, social, and emotional challenges like dealing with a learning disability or standing up to a bully.

Although the growth for this career path isn't as fast-paced and positions can be hard to find, the starting salary is often higher than that of a general counseling job. Other perks include the fact that you'll likely be off on weekends, holidays, and summer break. This kind of schedule is especially convenient for those with a family.

Job Growth Outlook:

Faster than average (13% growth)

Salary:

$56,310 average annual salary

Education Required:

A master's degree in a mental health-related field of study (i.e., psychology, social work, counseling) and required state licensing.

Classes in child development are especially helpful.

Skills Needed:

  • The ability to build rapport with children
  • Flexibility and open-mindedness
  • Assessment skills
  • Patience

Substance Abuse Counselor

For the past two decades, illicit drug use in the US has skyrocketed according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse trend report. Although alcohol consumption in teens has declined, binge drinking in both men and women is still a serious issue. As people continue to struggle with the disease of addiction, substance abuse counselors become more and more in demand.

If you think you would enjoy helping people who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction while also assessing underlying issues of these conditions, this might be the right career path for you.

Job Growth Outlook:

Much faster than average (23% growth)

Salary:

$44,630 average annual wage.

Education Required:

A master's degree in a mental health-related field of study (i.e., psychology, social work, counseling) and required state licensing.

Classes in substance abuse recovery are especially helpful.

Skills Needed:

  • Problem sensitivity
  • Deductive reasoning skills
  • Social perceptiveness

Probation Officers And Correctional Treatment Specialists

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For most people who study human behavior and go on to earn a master's in psychology, jobs that are 'helping professions' are considered ideal.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.2 million people currently locked away. 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, 3 out of 4 will be back in prison within five years of being released. Stats show that 50% of those incarcerated have a substance abuse problem and 78% of those also have underlying mental health issues.

For these reasons, having people trained in psychology helping those with criminal histories find a new path can be extremely helpful. Correctional treatment specialists work hand in hand with offenders, finding support services and building/maintaining a rehabilitation plan.

Job Growth Outlook:

As fast as average (6% growth)

Salary:

$51,410 average annual wage.

Education Required:

A bachelor's degree is all that is usually required. A master's degree will give you a leg up.

Skills Needed:

  • Inductive reasoning skills
  • Oral expression and comprehension abilities
  • The ability to communicate with people from all walks of life

Human Resources Specialist

Counseling can take many forms. If you're not drawn to mental health services, children, or those with criminal records, there's still hope for using your masters in psychology. Jobs in human resources are usually a good fit since they require someone with in-depth knowledge of communication best practices and how the human mind works in general.

There are lots of different roles that human resources specialists, some typical tasks include:

  • Screening, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and placing workers in employment positions
  • Explaining/Training in HR policies, procedures, laws, and other regulations.
  • Addressing employee issues and helping mitigate problems amongst workers.

Job Growth Outlook:

As fast as average (7% growth)

Salary:

$60,880 average annual wage.

Education Required:

A bachelor's degree is all that is usually required. A master's degree will give you a leg up.

Skills Needed:

  • Active listening and customer service abilities
  • Excellent clerical and computer skills
  • Written comprehension abilities

Advertising/Marketing Agent

What's interesting about this career is that it is in a field few social science majors consider when pursuing a master's in psychology. Jobs in this marketing and advertising, however, can be very lucrative and are fast-growing.

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You might be wondering how a psych major would be a good fit for an advertising firm. Keep in mind that advertising/marketing is all about understanding people (customers), their wants and needs, as well as how to make your product or service attractive enough to sell to them. Understanding the human mind and behavior is an integral part of that, making those with masters in psychology 'shoe-ins' for these types of positions.

Once hired, you'll be completing tasks like collecting and analyzing data (buying habits, demographics, etc.), coming up with marketing strategies, and assessing customer satisfaction. You might be in charge of coming up with ways to gather this info such as designing surveys or questionnaires.

Job Growth Outlook:

Much faster than average (23% growth)

Salary:

$63,120 average annual wage.

Education Required:

A bachelor's degree is all that is usually required. A master's degree will give you a leg up.

Skills Needed:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Customer/personal service abilities
  • Creativity
  • Average to advanced tech skills

Health Educator/Community Health Worker

If you have an interest in teaching or spreading the importance of seeking help for mental health issues, a job promoting wellness in the community might be a good fit. Although specific roles vary, most health educators (also called education coordinators) work to make families aware of various health issues and programs/services available to help tackle these problems. This could be accomplished through training workshops, conferences, school programs, or other types of community presentations. Psychology graduates are a great fit for this role since your studies will have prepared you in building rapport with others and working together to meet a common goal.

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Job Growth Outlook:

Much faster than average (16% growth)

Salary:

$53,940 annual average salary.

Education Required:

A bachelor's degree is all that is usually required. A master's degree will give you a leg up.

Skills Needed:

  • Confidence when speaking to others about various health topics
  • A flexible schedule/attitude
  • The ability to establish and maintain solid interpersonal relationships

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