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What can I do with a degree in psychology?

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, psychology is one of the most common majors for undergraduates in the U.S, with more than 160,000 bachelor's degrees awarded each year.

Psychology is a broad liberal arts field that covers subject matter ranging from biology to the humanities. Specializations in the field range from counseling to forensics to industrial organization. What these diverse niches have in common is a commitment to a scientific mode of inquiry that emphasizes observation, experimentation and analysis. Psychology majors can apply these skills to a wide range of careers in both the public and private sectors.

Industries and careers for psychology majors

Many psychology majors enjoy the benefits of self-employment, while most other psychology graduates typically find work in elementary and secondary schools, ambulatory healthcare services, the government and in hospitals. Before you can begin practicing psychology, however, you must pass licensure that can include a one-year internship and taking the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Criteria for licensure can vary from state to state.

While just under half of students who complete a bachelor's degree in psychology go on to graduate school, potentially training to work as a licensed counselor or psychologist, others go on to find work in diverse industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the field of psychology is expected to grow 14 percent through 2026 so there may be plenty of jobs when you graduate from school.

The annual mean wage for psychologists in 2016 was $94,650 (BLS). If you're interested in working out of town, the following states had the highest annual mean wage in the U.S.:

  1. New York: $118,840
  2. California: $107,660
  3. Maryland: $101,880
  4. Oregon: $95,610
  5. Alaska: $95,270

What jobs can you get with a psychology degree?

A degree in psychology can lead you to various careers that are not only meaningful but can be profitable as well. A few examples of the different types of psychologists include:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • Counseling psychologists
  • School psychologists
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Developmental psychologists
  • Industrial-Organizational psychologists
  • Rehabilitation psychologists

Learn more about the field of psychology, as well as related career paths, in our infographic below.

Sources:

Careers in Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2016, http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.pdf

Psychologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm

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