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.

Entry-Level Psychology Job Guide

While undergraduate psychology degrees don’t often directly translate into psychology jobs, the graduates of psychology programs have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a first job after college.

What Do You Do With a Psychology Degree?

One of the major tricks to leveraging your psychology degree is to emphasize your ability to empathize with individuals and understand human behavior. The ability to understand why humans behave the way that they do in combination with a scientific and analytical approach to problem solving can help you break into numerous industries (technology, medical, etc.) in many different roles (marketing, research, analyst, etc.).

What You’ve Gained From Your Psychology Program

It may not be obvious to you yet, but your psychology program prepared you for a job by doing the following:

  1. Instilling a passion in you to understand why humans do the things they do. This will not only help you develop empathy and compassion (critical skills for succeeding in the workplace), but it will also help you read your fellow coworkers better.
  2. Establishing a basic understanding of the importance of sound data and statistical analysis. You can often make data say whatever you want it to say and say it powerfully. Knowing how to use data to drive decision-making at a company will empower you for years to come.
  3. The ability to communicate your ideas effectively. No doubt you’ve had to write papers on your projects. You’ve communicated your ideas in writing and orally. That’s not going to change in your first job.
  4. A respected degree. Many great entry-level jobs simply require that you have a college degree. Congrats, you now qualify for some solid jobs.

A Few Career Options for Psychology Majors

Because the knowledge that you degree gave you is fairly broad, you have quite a few options for entry-level jobs. In fact, it’s often hardest to decide which of the following options is better suited to your interests. If you’re the analytical sort and enjoyed crunching the data from your experiments and projects, perhaps you should look at research or analyst positions. If you enjoyed understanding human behavior perhaps a marketing, sales, or user experience researcher suit you best. If you’re a great writer and enjoy sharing your ideas, there are some great journalist jobs out there. Once you’ve figured out what type of job you want, we have some fantastic, actionable tips for getting a job unrelated to your major.

Here are a few example searches that result in positions that are often filled by psychology majors:

Salary Expectations

The median salary for psychology graduates is $62,706.

The range is $39,798 – 91,382.

Outside of the core job function (which has the largest impact on salary), location is one the largest factors in calculating salary, so it’s particularly helpful to consider the entire salary range.

The Bureau of Labor expects the number of Psychology jobs to grow by 19% over the next 10 years. This is one of the fastest growing career areas out there.

How a Graduate Degree Changes Things

With a graduate degree in psychology, it’s far more likely that you’ll be able to find a job directly in the field of psychology. These are jobs where you’ll often be using your ability to understand human behavior and empathize to counsel other individuals.

Graduate psychology degree owners often find their first career jobs in:

Additional Resources

  1. It never hurts to brush up on a few Psychology topics. You can take a few online courses to get back in the swing of things.
  2. For more salary information, head over to Payscale.
  3. For more advice on starting your entry-level job search, check out our guide!
  4. And finally, to prepare for an entry-level job interview, prepare for the top 20 entry-level job interview questions.

Search for Entry-Level Psychology Jobs Now

Career Opportunities for Sociology Majors

While being a sociology major might seem like a broad course of study, the great thing about this major is that it helps you build a diverse skill set and prepares you for a number of different careers including politics, social work and education. And because of its broad scope, it also allows you to understand the social implications of your work and to seek out opportunities that align with your passions.

Some of the most common career fields for sociology majors include:

Social work

Sociology majors are usually people who are dedicated to helping others and making the world a better place, so they will often turn to social work as a means of making that happen. And since they have a solid understanding of the complex issues affecting the people they work with, sociology majors can be especially effective in this type of role.


Because they desire change, many sociology majors also work in politics, either trying to enact change as policymakers or working behind the scenes to get politicians elected or to promote causes and bring them to the attention of influential figures.


After seeing the big problems society is dealing with, many sociology majors turn to activism as a way of effecting change on a large scale. Activism comes in many forms, including working for a nonprofit that specializes in promoting a particular cause or becoming an advocate in Washington D.C.


Sociology can also be a great foundation for a journalism career. By doing field work and analyzing data, you’ll learn how to find subjects, approach them and get the information you want. Additionally, sociology gives you exposure to a variety of societal problems and this can help you figure out your journalistic focus. For instance, if you’ve taken lots of criminal justice courses in college, writing for the crime beat is an easy transition.


Many sociology majors go on to become experts in a particular group or type of behavior. For instance, a professor could focus on social movements and how they have and haven’t changed over time. Another professor could study something as specific as rap music over the course of the 1990s and what that means for society today.


On many occasions, incensed by the huge societal problems at hand, sociology majors will turn to the legal profession as a way of making an impact. While some choose to go to law school to become lawyers, others decide to become paralegals, probation officers or investigators. All of these positions are a critical part of the criminal justice system and a natural fit for those who are passionate about social issues.


Sociology majors also go into education in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of both young people and adults. While secondary and postsecondary education (high school and college) are the most popular teaching areas, sociology majors can be found in teaching positions across all grade levels. In many cases, young graduates may turn to teaching nonprofits (for example, Teach For America) to become certified educators.

Whether it’s exploring compelling opportunities within the legal profession or discovering the exciting world of journalism, being a sociology major can open up the door to many different careers. The best way to find out which one is right for you is by taking on an internship and seeing which type of career fits your interests.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Sociology Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Interview?

Types of Internships for Sociology Majors

Because sociology is such a broad field, sociology majors end up working in a variety of different industries including politics, law and social work. Not sure which field is right for you? An internship is a great way to explore your options and build your skill set while gaining some professional experience.

Here are just a few of the most common internships for sociology majors:

Political intern

Many nonprofits and legislative offices have a political intern who is dedicated to helping the political team with legislation, policy and any other related tasks. As a political intern, your duties may include sitting in on hearings held by your city or state government, drafting campaigns related to specific policies, creating policy recommendations and writing notes and briefings.

Development intern

For sociology majors who choose to work in the nonprofit world, many will find themselves focusing on helping causes gain traction and raise money. As a development intern, you’ll help your organization discover donors, raise money, keep in contact with loyal donors and apply for grants.

Social work intern

As a social work intern, you’ll work at a nonprofit to support its full-time social work staff. Depending on what type of organization you work for, your responsibilities may include becoming an advocate for a particular client or case, creating notes and briefings for case files and assisting clients in the office.

Legal intern

Whether you’re working for a nonprofit, a law firm or a government agency, being a legal intern allows you to sit in on client meetings and cases, create important briefings and keep case files organized. You’ll also get to take your learnings and apply them to a specific field or a particular problem, allowing you to really make an impact in a meaningful way.

Research intern

If you want to go to grad school or work in a research-related field, every bit of research experience you can add to your resume will make a big difference. Regardless of whether you work at an academic institution or a nonprofit, this internship will help you learn the basics of collecting, cleaning and organizing data for statistical analysis. You’ll also get to create reports from your findings and learn how to gain valuable insights by interpreting those reports.

From knowing the details behind every case file to understanding how to write a grant proposal, an internship is a wonderful and safe space for sociology majors to explore their options, learn new skills and reinvent themselves.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Sociology Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is a Panel Interview?