11 Things You Can Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?

Some of the Top Entry-Level Job Options for Psychology Majors

Psychology is one of the top five most popular college majors and a topic that fascinates many people. What can you do with your psychology degree once you graduate from a bachelor program? While those with an undergraduate degree in psychology do not have all of the job options available as those with a master's or doctorate in psychology, there are many entry-level jobs for college graduates with a bachelor's degree.

These career options might initially appear to have little to do with the field of psychology. However, an undergraduate education in psychology helps students develop skills that are important in a variety of careers.

Whether you plan to earn an undergraduate degree in the subject or just have a casual interest in learning more about psychology, having a good understanding of the human mind and behavior can help you excel in a wide variety of career paths.

As you can see, many of the top fields of employment are not closely aligned with psychology. Instead, these career options utilize the communication, interpersonal, and human behavior knowledge that psychology majors acquire during their undergraduate studies.

1
Sales Representatives

Sales
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Undergraduate psychology programs help students acquire a wide range of interpersonal skills, which can then be put to use in a different sales and marketing positions. According to the College Majors Handbook, sales positions represent the second largest area of employment for those with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Employers value skills such as the ability to speak well and communicate effectively. If you are interested in working in this field, take classes that will improve your understanding of people and human behavior. Courses in social psychology, personality, and communications can be especially beneficial.

2
Advertising Agents

Advertising
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The art and science of persuasion is a major topic in psychology, which is why advertising is often an ideal career choice for people with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Careers in this field often involve researching the target audience for a product or message and developing advertising materials based on this research.

If you are interested in a career in this field, look for ways that you can gain practical experience now. Internships are an excellent way to get experience, find professional mentors, and build networking relationships in your chosen field.

3
Psychiatric Technicians

Psychiatric technician with patient
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While many people with a bachelor's degree in psychology find work in other unrelated areas, some choose to work directly in the field of mental health and human services. A few potential job titles in this area include:

  • Psychiatric technicians
  • Mental health technicians
  • Case manager
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Social work assistants.

In most cases, these individuals work directly under the supervision and guidance of a licensed clinical psychologist or social worker. Job duties involve helping patients with basic daily needs, teaching life skills, conducting applied therapy sessions, and performing related case management tasks.

4
Career Counselors

Career Counselor
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If you enjoy helping people discover their potential, then working as a career counselor can be a fulfilling choice. This job often involves helping people select a career, assisting those in the process of changing careers, or providing vocational rehabilitation to individuals returning to the workforce. Some individuals choose to work with disabled adults who may need skills training, job search help, on-the-job training, and regular workplace supervision.

5
Probation and Parole Officer

Probation Officer
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If you are interested in working in the field of criminal justice, you might want to consider a career as a probation or parole officer. Typically hired by local or state governments, probation, and parole officers work directly with individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses. These professionals supervise offenders at home, work, and school settings to track behaviors, make recommendations to the courts, and coordinate with drug treatment professionals or therapists.

6
Writers

Writer
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Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology generally requires a great deal of writing. After graduation, put those communication skills to work in a writing-related career. Some potential job titles in this area include technical writers, advertising copywriters, and newspaper reporters.

7
Market Researchers

Market researchers working on a project
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People working in the field of market research perform a variety of tasks, including conducting interviews, performing opinion polls, collecting data, and interpreting results. A bachelor's degree in psychology prepares students for work in this field by training graduates in statistical and scientific methodologies.

8
Child Care Workers

Child Care Worker
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Another way to utilize your bachelor's degree in psychology is to become a child care worker. If are interested working in an area related directly to psychology, then you might want to consider becoming a partial care worker in a mental health setting. These individuals aid clients in outpatient settings to cope with a variety of mental health concerns. Other options include working in a daycare or after-school program, or even opening up your own child care center.

9
Laboratory Assistants

Lab assistant working in the lab
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If you have an interest in research and experimental psychology, working as a psychology laboratory assistant could be a great way to put your bachelor's degree to work. Some settings that might employ psychology lab assistants include university psychology programs, government agencies, and businesses that study human behavior.

Get a leg up on the competition by gaining valuable research experience today. Sign up for a research assistant position at your university, or consider taking an internship in a psych lab.

10
Social Service Specialists

Social Services
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Individuals with a bachelor's degree in psychology can also find career opportunities working in the social services sector for government agencies or non-profits. These positions might entail helping individuals locate psychological resources in their community, providing counseling services directly to clients, and other types of case management services.

Some important skills for those working in the social service field include the ability to assess client needs, keep thorough and accurate records, express care and empathy and to act as advocates for clients.

11
Teachers

Teacher
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Students who also earn a teaching certificate along with their bachelor's degree in psychology can also become teachers. Some graduates may opt to apply their knowledge of psychology indirectly as an elementary or middle-school teacher, while others may choose to teach psychology at the high school level.

If you already hold a bachelor's degree in psychology, you might be able to enroll in an accredited teacher education program in order to earn a teaching certificate in your state. Contact your state's board of education to learn more about the requirements and any alternative routes to becoming a credentialed teacher that might be available.

Making the Most of Your Psychology Degree

Psychology degrees are actually one of the most popular options at colleges and universities throughout the world. Most academic institutions offer either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA).

Generally speaking, a Bachelor of Arts degree focuses on more liberal arts general education courses. The B.A. option usually involves taking fewer courses in psychology and more classes in subjects outside of the major field area.

A Bachelor of Science degree will focus on more science and mathematics courses. Students pursuing a B.S. in Psychology may have to take more lab and statistics general education classes. The B.S. option involves a stronger concentration on the major area of study and students take more psychology courses than those who are pursuing a B.A.

If your goal is to become a licensed psychologist, then you will definitely need to continue your education at the graduate level in order to earn your Ph.D. or Psy.D. in psychology.

Things to Consider Before You Earn a Bachelor's In Psychology

The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that job opportunities for bachelor's degree holders are limited. The College Majors Handbook reports that fewer than 25 percent of people with a bachelor's degree in psychology find work in jobs that are closely related to their college major. Instead, many find work in areas that are indirectly related such as social work or market research.

While the opportunities that are available to those with a bachelor's degree in psychology may be more limited, there are things that you can do to maximize your potential and get the most out of your psychology degree.

During your undergraduate years, focus on taking courses that will help you later in the job market. Classes that increase your communication and writing skills, enhance your understanding of human behavior, and provide knowledge about organizational behavior can all be extremely useful later on during your job search.

As you enter the job market, consider jobs that require the skills you obtained during your psychology education. These abilities include:

  • Critical thinking
  • One-on-one and small group communication
  • Effective written communication skills
  • Understanding of individual human behavior
  • Knowledge of group and organizational behavior
  • Creative thinking skills

What Does the Future Hold for People With Bachelor's Degrees in Psychology?

Considering today's competitive job market, many students are probably very concerned about what they can expect to find once they graduate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for psychologists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade. The need for psychological services in hospitals schools, private businesses, social service agencies, and mental health centers is expected to drive this growth. However, it is important to note that the greatest opportunities will still be available to those with a doctorate.

"Opportunities directly related to psychology will be limited for bachelor's degree holders," says the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their Occupational Outlook Handbook. "Some may find jobs as assistants in rehabilitation centers or in other jobs involving data collection and analysis. Those who meet State certification requirements may become high school psychology teachers."

A Word From Verywell

While job opportunities and earnings potential are definitely more limited with a bachelor's degree compared to a graduate degree, there are still plenty of options out there for those who have a bachelor's degree in psychology.

So what should you do after you graduate with a BS or BA in psychology? Finding that first post-college psychology job might not be as cut-and-dry as it might be for more focused majors like nursing or teaching, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get started on the right foot.

One of the most important things you can do is to take advantage of the job resources available through your own university. Many universities host frequent job fairs designed to connect recent graduates with employers in the area, and some schools even have designated career resources centered on helping students and alumni look for work.

If you decide that you would like to continue your studies by pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, start by assessing what career might be best for you before you select and enroll in a graduate program. Because there are so many career options and specialty areas in psychology, it pays to spend some time researching which type of psychologist you plan to become.

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Psychologists. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, 2015.

Fogg, N, Harrington, PE, Harrington, TF, & Shatkin, L. College Majors Handbook. Jist Works; 2012.

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