Career Opportunities For Psychology Majors

Learning about the ins and out of human behavior opens the doors to a number of different career paths. This is especially true for people focused on helping others. In fact, because of the strong skills you’ll develop as a psychology major, you’ll be in a great position to find a career that’s right for you.

Still, there are many options for psychology majors. Here are some of the most common career paths for this group of students.


As a psychologist, you’ll be working with patients in a one-on-one or group setting. You’ll address personal and mental health issues. This career requires an advanced degree, typically either a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy.D (Doctor of Psychology). Each of these requires approximately four to seven years of study.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the various challenges people face in their personal lives. You can also help them assess and treat those problems through behavioral therapy.

Social Worker

Yet another rewarding career path for those who are interested in helping others overcome personal challenges is the field of social work. Based at a clinic, school, or nonprofit, social workers are licensed professionals who help clients work through a variety of different issues. These can include coping with physical health problems, divorce, or even drug addiction.

Depending on the type of setting you choose to work in, you might be addressing several types of issues or focusing on one in particular. No matter what setting you choose, you’ll be making a big impact in the lives of the clients you work with.


Love research and teaching? Academia is right for you. As a professor, you’ll divide your time between the classroom and your own research. Working directly with undergraduate and graduate students, you’ll help them grasp the intricacies of psychology. You’ll also help them design and implement research projects that will further existing research in the field.

Guidance Counselor

If you love working with students in more of a mentorship capacity, then consider becoming a guidance counselor. As a guidance counselor, you’ll be helping students plan their academic path and prepare for college. You’ll also work with students on their personal development, helping them address any challenges they face.

Career Counselor

As a career counselor, you’ll help college students and professionals identify and achieve their career goals. From guiding clients on their various career options to recommending relevant professional development classes and editing resumes, you are a valuable resource for all career-related matters.

Whether you’re helping patients overcome personal challenges or teaching others about the field, being a psychology major can open the door to many exciting career opportunities. To find out which one is right for you, try taking on an internship. It’s a great way to get a hands-on feel for a role that interests you.

Next, learn more about this college major. Check out What Is a Psychology Major and Is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Set Career Goals (and Meet Them).

How to Become a Psychologist

Becoming a psychologist is a wonderful opportunity to help patients work through mental health issues and address challenges in their personal lives. If you’re a psychology major, or just considering a career in the mental health field, then you might be wondering what you need to do to become a psychologist. Do you have to pick a specialty before you go to grad school? Do you need to get both a master’s and a Ph.D.?

Here are the steps you need to follow when getting started on a psychology career.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related subject

Since being a psychologist requires a graduate-level degree (such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D.), you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree before you can focus on more advanced training. Although a psychology degree is recommended since it will give you great insights into the subject and prepare you for advanced study in the field, it’s not necessary to have one. In fact, any major that helps you build critical thinking and research skills will give you the tools you need to succeed in graduate school.

Pro Tip: While you don’t need to major in psychology in order to become a psychologist, most Ph.D and Psy.D. programs do require certain prerequisites so be sure to check in with your advisor and find out which ones you need to take. Once you have this information, a minor or double major can be a great way to fulfill your grad school requirements while also studying another subject you’re passionate about.

2. Select a specialty and complete a doctoral program

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, it’s time to decide on a specialty and to pick a graduate program that matches your interests. This can be anything from clinical psychology to developmental psychology and often includes both a research and a clinical component. Although some universities combine a master’s and a doctoral program into a single degree program, most schools offer individual master’s and Ph.D./Psy.D programs.

Pro Tip: Since most master’s programs last between two to three years and most Ph.D and Psy.D. programs take anywhere from five to seven years, you should be prepared for a long course of study on your way to a doctorate. The key to making the most of these years is to take a broad range of classes while also continuously refining your research interests.

3. Do a psychology internship

Before you can become licensed to practice in your state, you’ll need to complete a two-year post-doctoral internship. Focused on expanding your clinical experience and ensuring that you’re qualified to treat patients in a clinical setting, this type of internship will give you the hands-on experience you need to be effective in a patient-focused role. And because these internships are almost always approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) they are geared toward helping you develop the exact skills you’ll need to be a successful psychologist.

4. Get licensed to practice

Once you’ve completed your doctorate and your post-doctoral internship, you’ll be eligible to become licensed as a psychologist. In order to do so, you’ll need to pass a national licensure exam called the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) as well as meeting any additional requirements specific to your state.

Psychology is an intriguing field with plenty of career opportunities for anyone interested in mental health. By following these steps and knowing how to set yourself up for success, you’ll be able to establish a career that will have a lasting impact in your life and the lives of your patients.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Psychology Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Tips for Getting an Entry-Level Job Unrelated to Your Major.

What Types of Skills Are Best for a Psychology Major?

With its deep insights into human behavior, psychology is a fascinating major that helps to develop students’ understanding of mental health. If you’re considering becoming a psychology major, you might be wondering about the types of skills you’ll need in order to be successful.

Here are some of the most common skills for psychology majors.


Human behavior is a complex subject and learning about it in detail requires an open mind. In your classes, you’ll be learning about various types of behaviors and mental health disorders, as well as about the different ways that people interact with one another. In order to get the most out of these classes, and to ensure that you’re developing an in-depth understanding of the field, it’s important to be objective and flexible in your thinking and to be willing to change your mind when presented with new information.

Critical thinking skills

Another important skill for psychology majors is the ability to think critically. Since you’ll be learning about various psychological theories and analyzing an array of case studies in your classes, the ability to form connections between different areas of psychology (and to determine which theories resonate most closely with your own ideas) is an extremely important part of succeeding in this major.

Research skills

Psychology majors also need to have well-developed research skills including the ability to conduct experiments and to quantify and interpret data. As a psychology major, you’ll be putting these skills to use by carrying out different experiments and presenting your research to your professors and your peers. You’ll also spend a lot of time reading about various behavioral theories and therapeutic modalities so being able to find relevant texts and pull information from them is extremely important.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are important for almost every major and psychology is no exception. In fact, being able to solve problems in an effective and creative way is a necessary part of studying psychology since so much of the subject is focused on assessing and treating mental and behavioral problems. If you’re more interested in research than on the clinical aspects of psychology, having great problem-solving skills will help you design and implement experiments to further your research.

Communication skills

Since psychology trains you to work closely with others, being able to communicate effectively is key. Strong communication skills are also important when it comes to presenting research papers at conferences, so ensuring that your style of communication is clear and effective is a great way to set yourself up for success.

Although psychology majors come from a variety of interest areas and backgrounds, those who really succeed in this major are able to develop these skills and to put them to good use.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Is a Psychology Major and Is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 3 Ways to Be More Productive at Work.

What Is a Psychology Major and Is it Right for Me?

Are you fascinated by human behavior and interested in figuring out what makes people tick? Are you passionate about helping others and helping them work through difficult situations? If you answered yes to these questions, a psychology major might just be for you.

What is a psychology major?

Psychology is the study of human behavior at both the individual and group level. As a psychology major, you’ll learn about the various factors that affect mental health (such as cultural and environmental factors), and about the different dynamics that can impact the psychology of a particular group. You’ll also dive deep into the world of psychological disorders and learn about common mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

In psychology classes, you’ll learn the basics of cognitive function and then go on to study advanced theories about what drives particular types of behaviors. Covering physiology, statistics and experimental psychology, this major will give some solid insights into the inner workings of the human brain.

Is it right for me?

Psychology is an exciting field with plenty of career opportunities for those interested in helping people and learning more about the nuances of human interaction.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether a psychology major is right for you:

  • Am I excited to do in-depth research on mental health and human relationships?
  • Am I open-minded? Am I able to be objective about the things I’m learning and able to adjust my views accordingly?
  • Do I handle feedback well? Will I be able to deal with constructive feedback from my professors and classmates?
  • Am I willing to devote a lot of time to reading and understanding clinical research in the field?

What can I do with a psychology degree?

A psychology major can be applied to a broad range of fields including social work and teaching. Popular career paths for psychology majors include:

  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Professor
  • Career counselor
  • Non-profit aid worker
  • Guidance counselor
  • Teacher

What do people who major in psychology earn?

The earning potential for psychology majors depends a lot on the types of career paths they choose. For example, entry-level social workers earn approximately $40,000 per year while clinical psychologists with advanced degrees can earn as much as $110,000. No matter what career path you choose, a psychology major will help you develop a broad range of skills that can help you be successful in any role.