Psychologists diagnose behavioral disorders, research human behavior, and conduct experiments. And that's just one of many careers in the field of psychology. With a psychology degree, you can also work as a therapist, social worker, counselor, or behavior specialist.

Considering a psych degree? Curious about psychology career paths? Discover the salary and degree information you need to make an informed decision for your future.

Did You Know?



How to Become a Psychologist

Many psychology career paths require a doctorate in psychology. Clinical psychologists, for example, need a Ph.D. and a license to practice.

That said, some jobs in psychology only require a bachelor's or master's degree.

As you research psychology jobs, consider the degree requirement. Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and industrial-organizational psychologists typically don't need a doctorate.

Other popular psychology degree career paths include roles in counseling, social work, human services, education, and business.



Considering a Job in Psychology? Get Your Degree First


12 Popular Psychology Jobs and Specializations

What are the most popular types of psychology jobs? With a graduate psychology degree, you can work as a counseling psychologist, school psychologist, therapist, or counselor.

A master's in psychology can also prepare you for in-demand jobs or doctoral programs.

Our list of psychology careers below includes salary and job growth data, plus the minimum degree you'll need for different specializations.

1 Clinical Psychologist

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $82,510
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 10%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Doctorate

Clinical psychologists provide mental and behavioral healthcare to individuals and families. You'll have broad career options in this role, from working with a variety of patients to focusing on research.


2 Counseling Psychologist

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $82,510
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 10%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Doctorate

Counseling psychologists assess, diagnose, and treat patients with emotional, social, and physical challenges that affect their mental health. Many work in private practices and at public health organizations.


3 Child Psychologist

Child psychologists provide psychological services to babies, toddlers, children, and teenagers — in other words, patients whose needs change over time.


4 School Psychologist

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $78,780
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 6%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Doctorate

School psychologists help students with family issues, learning disabilities, and other emotional and psychological challenges. Many school districts across the U.S. employ full-time school psychologists.


5 Marriage and Family Therapist

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $49,880
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 14%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Master's

These professionals study family systems and human behavior, focusing on the psychological health of people in the context of families. Many work at private practices, at hospitals, or in advocacy.


6 Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology is an ideal specialization if you're interested in the relationship between psychology and crime. These psychologists study human behavior as it relates to the law and may even provide expert testimony in certain cases.

You must have an excellent understanding of the legal system, mental health conditions, and family systems.


7 Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $105,310
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 4%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Master's or doctorate

These psychologists focus on improving the quality of work life in order to increase productivity and maintain a healthy atmosphere. Industrial-organizational psychologists often work for companies as management consultants and human resources officers.


8 Health Psychologist

Health psychologists work to understand how biological, psychological, and social factors can affect health and wellness. They may study how people react to illness and create plans with other healthcare professionals to improve recovery times.

Most health psychologists work in hospitals or private practices.


9 Neuropsychologist

These specialists examine how the brain influences behavior. They study memory, perception, and behavior, as well as the effect of injury on the brain. Some neuropsychologists assist patients in figuring out long-term care.

Most neuropsychologists work in research and development or at hospitals or universities.


10 Rehabilitation Counselor

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $38,560
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 11%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Master's

Rehabilitation counselors improve the lives of people with mental and physical disabilities or injuries. These specialists often work in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. They might also work in policymaking to advocate for patient care.


11 Mental Health Counselor

  • Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $48,520
  • Job Growth Rate (2021-2031): 22%
  • Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor's

Mental health counselors help clients improve their relationships, emotional health, and mental health. Some specialize in treating children, couples, or people with anxiety or depression.

Related specialties include addiction counseling and behavioral disorder counseling. Some roles require a license and a master's degree.


12 Consulting Psychologist

Consulting psychologists conduct individual assessments, provide group consultations, and help organizations through their knowledge of psychology.

They may create psychological assessments for hiring employees, advise executives on organizational change, or consult on organizational issues.

Additional Careers in the Field of Psychology to Consider

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Cognitive Psychologist
  • Developmental Psychologist
  • Engineering Psychologist
  • Biopsychologist
  • Environmental Psychologist
  • Evolutionary Psychologist
  • Experimental Psychologist
  • Geropsychologist
  • Quantitative and Measurement Psychologist
  • Social Psychologist
  • Sport Psychologist

Jobs in Psychology, Counseling, and Therapy: How Do They Compare?

What's the difference between psychology, counseling, and therapy jobs? If you're interested in psychology, you've probably considered therapist and counselor roles.

Learn more about the differences in the table below.

Comparisons
Job Description Minimum Degree Required Licensure
Psychologist
  • Helps people cope with mental health problems.
  • Can teach, conduct research, and treat clinical patients.
Doctorate Mandatory state licensure
Counselor
  • Helps patients overcome life and psychological obstacles.
  • Cannot provide direct patient care to those with serious mental health conditions.
Master's Varies by state
Therapist
  • Uses psychological principles to improve patient behavior and thinking.
Master's Mandatory licensure in states where the term "therapist" is protected

Psychology Degree Career Paths Besides "Psychologist"

Not all psychology majors go to graduate school to become psychologists. In fact, tons of fields value professionals who understand how people think and operate.

If you're not interested in the long road to becoming a psychologist, you might consider psychology career paths in other fields like healthcare, marketing, and criminal justice.

Popular Non-Psychology Jobs for Psych Majors
Job Minimium Degree Required Median Annual Salary (May 2021) Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)
Marketing Manager Bachelor's $135,030 10%
Sales Manager Bachelor's $127,490 5%
Training Manager Bachelor's $120,130 7%
Social and Community Service Managers Bachelor's $74,000 12%
Public Relations Specialist Bachelor's $62,800 8%
Human Resources Specialist Bachelor's $62,290 8%
High School Teacher Bachelor's $61,820 5%
Social Worker Bachelor's or master's $50,390 9%

Resources for Jobs in the Psychology Field

This organization is home to thousands of psychiatrists. Member benefits include networking opportunities, continuing education, and annual subscriptions and discounts to publications. This site provides information for both psychology professionals — including board certification quizzes and annual conferences — and those seeking a board-certified neuropsychologist. Here, psychologists in all specialties can get information on career advancement, continuing education, and mentorship opportunities. Both a resource for those who want to learn more about the field and a membership site for professionals, APSA offers continuing education and member benefits. APA is one of the main sources of information on general psychology education, professional leadership, and research. This member-based group for Black psychologists offers member benefits and helpful info for professionals and those seeking to become psychologists. A resource hub and member-based group, NASP provides benefits, certification information, and research opportunities for practicing school psychologists. A professional association for industrial-organizational psychologists, SIOP publishes research, hosts events, and provides professional development resources. The society also hosts a career center with job information.

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychology Career Paths

What are the highest-paying jobs in psychology?

The highest-paid psychologists make more than $133,000 per year, according to BLS data.

The best-paying specialties include industrial-organizational psychology and neuropsychology. The best-paying industries for psychologists include public sector and hospital jobs.

What types of jobs can you get with a bachelor's in psychology?

With a bachelor's in psychology, you can apply for jobs in social services, business, human resources, and criminal justice. You can also work in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Learning about human behavior benefits psych majors in many fields. You'll bring strong analytical, research, and writing skills to whatever role you choose.

If you're interested in more specialized careers in the field of psychology, you can also apply to graduate school.

Is a degree in psychology worth it?

Studying psychology can lead to opportunities in business, healthcare, education, and the nonprofit sector. Psych majors may also pursue careers in government, social services, or law.

Because psychology is such a versatile analytical and research degree, you can also apply to graduate programs in many fields with a bachelor's in psych.

Which branch of psychology is in high demand?

Clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists both report high demand. Other growing psychology degree career paths include marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor.

Unlike many psychology jobs, counseling and therapist roles typically require a master's degree rather than a doctorate.


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