Psychology Career Opportunities
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology?
Students who complete a psychology major develop many skills that are highly valued by employers in a wide range of fields and are very successful at finding full-time work related to psychology after finishing a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is also a first step to continued education in psychology, such as a master’s or doctorate degree.
The psychology career infographic highlights the skills sought after by employers that you are building in the psychology major. Highlighting these on your resume and in job interviews can help you successfully find a fulfilling career after graduating.
An article published by the American Psychological Association, What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology? describes the wide range of jobs that are available to students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology,
The O*Net website is a great resource to search for a wide range of careers, and learn more about the job duties, skills, and required education and experiences needed to enter that career. Find the specific occupational outlook handbook for psychology careers.
Many careers require licensure in order to practice—particularly if you are providing mental or behavioral health services as part of your job. Many licensures require that you earn a graduate degree—which could include a certificate, a master’s degree, or a doctorate degree. As you research careers, make sure to note if you will need to get licensed in order to work in that career and the requirements for earning licensure. Another aspect to consider is that licensure is specifically determined by individual states, though many will have similar requirements. You will want to consider the state you want to work in and understand the requirements for licensure in that specific state. Your faculty advisor can also help answer questions or direct you to resources about the requirements for different careers.
Many students choose to major in psychology because they are interested in helping others as some type of mental health professional. Complete an interactive survey, Mental Health Advising Survey that explains some of the more common career options related to mental health services.
What can you do with a master’s degree?
A master’s degree generally takes an additional two years of graduate-level coursework and could include internships and practicums where you get hands-on experience in your field, as well as writing a thesis. For some fields, a master’s degree is needed to be licensed to practice or is useful at helping you find jobs with greater levels of responsibility and pay.
Examples of Masters-level careers:
- School Psychologist: Individuals who have completed a master’s degree in a School Psychology program but do not wish to pursue a doctoral degree can become licensed to practice within a school setting by obtaining an Educational Specialist (EdS) certificate. This certificate is typically earned after completing the master’s in School Psychology and a year-long, full-time supervised internship. Learn more at Selecting a Graduate Program (nasponline.org).
- Mental Health Counselor: A master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling is needed to become a licensed counselor. Depending on the specific program, you can include certification in marriage and family therapy or other types of counseling.
- School Counseling: A school counseling master’s program can prepare you for licensure to work in a school setting.
- Industrial / Organizational Psychologist: A master’s program in I/O psychology can prepare you to work as a consultant or with large companies in a range of roles, such as training, leadership development, hiring consultant, and more.
What can you do with a doctorate degree?
To be a licensed psychologist and treat patients, assess and diagnose disorders or conditions, or work in psychological clinics, you need to earn a doctorate degree. Doctoral degrees in psychology include a Ph.D., an EdD, and a PsyD. Each takes about five to seven years of coursework and/or applied experiences to earn. The Ph.D. (Doctorate of Philosophy) generally focuses on research training, whereas the PsyD (Doctorate of Psychology) includes more of a focus on hands-on practice in assessment and diagnosis, in addition to research.
Often, students will earn a master’s degree before entering a doctoral program—this can build your skills and help make you a more competitive applicant for doctoral programs. Your faculty advisor can help you understand if a master’s degree would be a useful step towards a goal of a doctorate-level career.
Examples of doctorate-level careers:
- Clinical Psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- School Psychologist
- Faculty Member in a Psychology Department
What do Minnesota State, Mankato psychology graduates do?
About 30% of students who earn a psychology major at Minnesota State University, Mankato, go directly on to a graduate program, with the majority of those pursuing master’s degrees related to counseling or social work.
Of the 70% of Minnesota State students who enter the workforce right after earning their bachelor’s degree, these are common job titles that they hold:
• Mental health associate / mental health practitioner
• Registered behavior technician
• Case manager
• Sales representative/sales associate
• Direct support professional
• Human resources professional
• Youth counselor
You can scroll lists of job titles and workplaces that hire Minnesota State University, Mankato students at the Career Development Center website—just review the graduate survey results here. You can select results for any major here at the University.
General Graduate School Information
Here are some general resources and advice on how to select a graduate program. If you have additional questions, your faculty advisor can provide you with additional information.
Don't know what area of psychology you want to study? Take this quiz -- it is not very scientific, but it might give you an idea of some areas of psychology that might be a good fit for you. The APA website also has some useful resources about areas of psychology and the many types of jobs available. They include 54 different divisions of psychology representing a wide range of topics and careers, with resources and information for each
Ready to apply to graduate schools? Below, we have some websites and handouts that can get you started.