Psychology careers span many fields, including criminal justice, education, business, and mental health, to name a few. Not only is psychology one of the most popular majors on college campuses, but it also has a positive outlook, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting job growth of 14% for psychologists through 2026, with similarly positive outlooks for many related careers.1
Table of Contents
- Why Pursue a Career in Psychology?
- Jobs You Can Get with a Psychology Degree
- Associate’s Degree Level
- Bachelor’s Degree Level
- Master’s Degree Level
- Doctorate Degree Level
- Specialization Fields with a PhD or PsyD
- Psychology Schools by State
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional Resources
Why Pursue a Career in Psychology?
There are many good reasons to pursue this career, as the degree requires a fundamental but flexible skill set that can be applied in various fields and industries. A graduate with a degree in psychology may successfully find employment in the field of psychology or in a wide range of careers that are related to psychology. In fact, as of 2017, only 3.5% of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology were working as psychologists.2 Major occupational groups where a large share of psychology groups find work include human services, administrative services, marketing and sales, and education.2
What is it about the field of study that provides such a broad range of options? Students who study psychology:
- Take coursework on how people and animals think and behave in various situations, in both ordinary and extreme cases.
- Are exposed to the scientific method of data collection and analysis (essentially applied quantitative statistics) that has very practical application in many occupations (for example, business analytics).
- Gain critical thinking skills by studying and applying various psychological paradigms to problem-solving, as well as a background in data analysis using the scientific method.
- Build written and oral communications through essays, group projects, and class participation.
Mastery of these skills creates the well-rounded candidates that employers seek. A background in psychology can be applied to jobs in almost every industry and in roles that involve understanding or guiding human behavior such as business, counseling, teaching, and social services. Increasing interest in undergraduate degrees in psychology has also led to growth in online bachelor’s programs in psychology, which can prepare students for entry-level jobs or graduate study to train for specialized psychology careers. Continue reading to learn more about psychology-related careers by degree level.
Jobs You Can Get with a Psychology Degree
A degree in psychology can prepare you for a psychology career and for jobs in many other fields. To learn more about what you can do with a psychology degree, review the following job descriptions that provide salary information, helpful skills, and common tasks associated with each job. With the numerous options available, you can pursue a job that is a good fit for your interests, strengths, and salary requirements. Throughout your education, try to choose electives or a minor that may give you an edge during the application processes. For example, adding criminology coursework to your psychology degree will better prepare you for jobs as a correctional officer or police officer, while a health minor will be beneficial for securing health educator positions.
Psychology Careers with an Associate’s Degree
Correctional officers are responsible for safeguarding prison inmate populations. This responsibility includes supervising inmates’ activities, participating in rehabilitation, and providing counseling to inmates, which makes corrections work particularly suitable for psychology degree holders. Demand for correctional officers with psychology backgrounds is related to the growing total population of the incarcerated and as interest in appropriate offender management and rehabilitation has increased.10 In addition to working directly with offenders, correctional officers with a background in psychology may have opportunities to make recommendations related to the environmental psychology of the facility where they are work.11 This includes the physical environment as well as factors such as inmate and officer interactions, activities, and inmate choices. Correctional officers earn a median annual salary of $44,400 per year, though a decrease in employment is expected in this field overall through 2026.3
A police officer’s primary duty is to enforce the laws that protect people and property in the jurisdiction in which he or she is working.4 Depending on the size of the department of employment and the officer’s rank, the specific responsibilities of a police officer may vary. Officers may spend significant time patrolling assigned areas, making arrests, and performing investigations as necessary.4 Recently, hiring criteria for police officers have become more rigorous, with many police agencies looking for applicants who have completed at least some college, preferably in a concentration such as psychology or criminal justice.5 Qualified police officers may receive increased responsibilities as well as a salary commensurate with experience, in addition to opportunities for advancement. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, police officers and detectives will see job growth of 7% between 2016 and 2026 and earned an average of $63,380 per year in 2017.6
As part of a team of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and medical doctors, psychiatric technicians assist clinical professionals and patients with a variety of tasks. Psychiatric technicians usually work with populations such as the elderly, patients who have been psychiatrically hospitalized, and individuals with developmental disabilities.7 Daily responsibilities for psychiatric technicians include observing patients and helping them with daily activities, providing updates to physicians and other providers, and documenting patients’ conditions in the medical record. Psychiatric technicians may also be responsible for administering therapeutic aid and medications.7 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that psychiatric technicians and aides earned a median of $30,860 per year in 2017, with the areas of highest demand in residential living and correctional facilities.8
Social Work Assistant*
Social work assistants generally have acquired a degree in the behavioral sciences, such as a psychology degree. Many social work assistants work in residential settings, especially in elder care; in such circumstances, these professionals assist clients with performing day-to-day activities while forming relationships with clients that remain professional while combining the functions of a friend and counselor.9 Social work assistants are frequently certified by national agencies and/or licensed by the state(s) in which they work.9 The care that a social work assistant provides is supervised by a qualified or licensed social worker in accordance with an established plan of care for the client.10 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that social and human service assistants, with whom social work assistants are grouped, made a median salary of $33,750 per year in 2017, and can anticipate a job growth rate of 16% between 2016 and 2026.11
*Education requirements vary by employer for this position, from a high school diploma to a certificate to a two- or four-year college degree. Proximity to a major metro area tends to correspond to higher education requirements and subsequently higher pay.
Psychology Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree
Administrative Service Manager
The primary responsibilities of administrative service managers center on coordinating and directing an organization’s support services to employees. These professionals can be found working in the public sector as well as the private sector, meaning that the types of services that an administrative service manager may provide vary. Common tasks include planning and distributing supplies, supervising administrative workers, and records coordination and management. Administrative service professionals working in management may have responsibility for budgeting, managing contracts, and departmental goals planning. Facilities planning and management may also fall under the purview of the administrative service manager. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that administrative service managers earned an annual median salary of $96,180 in 2017, and can expect jobs growth of 10% between 2016 and 2026.12
Community Service Manager
Community service managers organize, coordinate, and manage community-based service programs and organizations, typically while managing a staff providing social services to the public. As such, the work that community service managers do has strong ties to social work and psychology. Communities of all sizes in both rural and urban settings can benefit from the work of community service managers. Typically, these managers will work for not-for-profit organizations or government entities, although private social services companies will also hire community service managers. Community service managers are grouped with social service managers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth rate for these occupations is expected to reach a rate of 18% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average projected growth for all occupations.13 Social and community service managers made an annual median salary of $65,320 in 2017.13
It might be surprising to learn that psychology graduates have opportunities in computer programming, but with technology shifting to focus on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), this career track makes sense to a growing number of students with a psychology background. Computer programmers develop and execute programs for an end user or group of end users, and also work to improve and broaden programs that have already been built. Programming professionals frequently help write step-by-step user guides for new programs and features. The critical thinking skills and understanding of user psychology that psychology majors can bring to this field are especially helpful.7 Computer programmers earned a median of $84,280 per year in 2017 but should expect a negative job growth rate through 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.14
Health educators typically work in community-based programs creating, deploying, and analyzing education programs designed to assist individuals from different populations in understanding personal health and well-being. These professionals focus on community outreach and may take on roles as instructors or facilitators to help individuals access available health and wellness programs. Health educators must be familiar with topics such as nutrition and physical fitness as well as stress management and mental health.15 In addition to knowledge of psychology, the ability to speak a second language may be helpful in this career.16 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health educators earned a median annual salary of $54,220 per year in 2017 and can expect jobs growth of 14% through 2026.17
Human Factors Specialist
A human factors specialist uses design to influence the behavior of people in certain situations. Human factors, also known as ergonomics or human engineering, is a scientific discipline that uses principles of psychology to design products and equipment for maximum safety, effectiveness, and satisfaction. Human factors specialists may work on the design of an airplane cabin to increase passenger satisfaction or develop a workplace ergonomics program to reduce employee injuries. An ergonomist can hold an undergraduate degree in psychology although some practitioners also have a master’s or doctorate in human factors engineering or a similar degree. To learn more, see our Human Factors Psychology Degree Guide.
Human Resources Specialist
Human resources (HR) specialists are typically responsible for assisting in the recruiting process for an organization. This includes screening initial applications and applicants, interviewing, and new hire placement. Many human resources specialists also work in supplemental areas of a human resources department, such as employee relations and training. These professionals may consult with an organization on hiring needs and make recommendations to further organizational goals. Knowledge of psychology can be helpful to those working in human resources, as this qualification allows professionals to understand and communicate with employees meaningfully while improving the quality of the work environment in which they work.18 In addition to a bachelor’s degree, HR specialists should also consider pursuing certification in human resources, such as the ones offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of 7% for human resources specialists between 2016 and 2026.19 Human resources specialists make a median salary of $60,880 per year.19
Management analysts, also known as management consultants, are professionals who make recommendations to organizations on organizational efficiency and behavior. In most cases, an organization calls upon management analysts to identify and correct organizational issues related to management structure and operations. The recommendations that a management analyst makes may include suggestions for departmental reorganization, process changes, or systems changes. Because management analysts rely on quantitative skills in statistics and analysis to perform their work efficiently, a degree in areas of psychology such as experimental, psychometric, or cognitive psychology can be especially useful for those on this career track.7 The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that management analysts will see faster than average job growth of 14% between 2016 and 2026, with the median salary for management analysts coming in at $83,610 per year.20
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts frequently work in consumer psychology, seeking to understand why consumers make the choices they do and what organizations can do to influence those choices. Market research analysts might analyze how different types of packaging or different marketing slogans or messages impact consumer behavior.7 They may also use data to determine what types of messaging are most effective in achieving the goals of the organization for which they are working.7 In many cases, market research analysts are responsible for designing effective research studies to find the answers to an employer’s market questions.7 These employers may be corporations, businesses, non-profit organizations, political parties, or a variety of other entities that might benefit from a better understanding of the market. Market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,120 in 2017, and can expect a much faster than average job growth rate of 23% between 2016 and 2026.21
Public Relations Specialist
When a person or organization wants to understand how people interact with a brand, what they would like to see, and what can be done to encourage more interaction, that person or organization turns to a public relations specialist. The primary focus of a public relations specialist is creating and maintaining a positive public image for the client. This includes work such as writing and publishing press releases, arranging media appearances and responding to media inquiries, and coaching clients on public communication tactics. Due to the focus of this work, public relations specialists frequently have backgrounds in social psychology, which has been defined as “the study of how people interact with each other and the social environment.”7 Job growth for public relations specialists is projected at 9% between 2016 and 2026, with the median annual salary for these professionals in 2017 reported at $60,000 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.22
A team of sales representatives typically reports to a sales manager, who is responsible for hiring, training, and guiding the sales team in a manner that helps the team meet established sales goals. In most cases, a sales manager does little direct selling; his or her primary objectives are related to ensuring that the sales team is reaching its full potential. Sales managers with a background in psychology may be better equipped to understand workplace behavior and apply psychological knowledge to management principles and activities.23 A background in psychology can be a further benefit because an understanding of psychological research and analysis can help sales managers choose the right data on which to base their decisions.7 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for sales managers will reach 7% between 2016 and 2026.24 As of 2017, sales managers earned a median annual salary of $124,220.24
Sales representatives are tasked with selling goods and services to a specific marketplace and can be found in all types and sizes of organizations working in both wholesale and retail operations. Sales representatives rely heavily on consumer psychology in order to understand consumer needs, prepare effective sales pitches and presentations, and successfully reach their sales goals. Knowledge of organizational behavior can also be helpful to sales representatives looking to make major sales at the enterprise level. Whether working in business-to-business or business-to-consumer sales, sales representatives use psychology skills on a daily basis.7 Sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,660 in 2017 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and should experience job growth of 5% between 2016 and 2026 according to current estimates.25
Guidance Counselor/Career Advisor
When students and young adults need advice on making a transition, they often turn to a guidance counselor or career advisor. Guidance counselors and career advisors typically work within a school’s guidance or counseling departments. These professionals stay up-to-date on education and workforce developments so they can provide informed guidance to individuals making school and career choices. Guidance and career counselors also participate in career development programs, school visits, technical skills development, and other enrichment activities to help students or clients make informed choices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job growth for school and career counselors will reach 13% between 2016 and 2026, with the median salary for these professionals reported at $56,310 per year as of 2017.26
Human Services Professional
Human services professionals help clients respond to a variety of life pressures, including psychological, health, social, and financial challenges. These professionals work with individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds, including those who are victims of abuse, and help these clients access available aid programs and services. More specific career paths within the human services profession include social and human service assistants, who earn an average of $33,750 per year and have projected job growth of 16% through 2026; community and social service specialists, who earn an average of $44,960 per year and are expected to see similar jobs growth; and community health workers, who earn an average of $39,540 per year and have faster-than-average projected job growth, estimated at 18% through 2026.11,17
Teachers with degrees in psychology work at all levels of the US education system, from kindergarten to high school as well as in colleges and universities. These schools may be public or private, but the responsibilities of teachers in all environments are largely the same. A teacher with a psychology degree may teach psychology in a high school setting, but this degree can be helpful at all grade levels. Such a background can allow a teacher to better understand human development and communication, improving the effectiveness of their teaching in preparing students for life and lifelong learning.27 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $57,980 per year in 2017, with job growth expectations of 7% between 2016 and 2026.28 High school teachers earned a median annual salary of $60,320 in 2017, and are projected to experience job growth of 8% through 2026.29
Victim advocates support and promote the rights of people who have been victims or witnesses of a crime and are involved in a trial proceeding. An advocate explains to an affected person what his or her rights are while providing emotional support and acting as an intermediary between the victim or witness and the court.30 Advocates frequently work in district attorney’s offices, but can also be found working for other court bodies as well as private practice law firms. Knowledge of psychology can be helpful in this career because advocates work directly with victims and witnesses who may have been subjected to traumatic experiences and need emotional support in addition to guidance in navigating court processes. Victim advocates have strong prospects for career advancement with a variety of career options in law, government, and politics.30
Psychology Careers with a Master’s Degree
While most students in master’s degree programs for psychology go on to pursue a PhD or PsyD (terminal degrees for psychology), some do enter the field with a master’s degree. A master’s degree, though it may not be required for a career in psychology, could improve opportunities for and increase the competitiveness of candidates applying for jobs in the field. A master’s in psychology might increase one’s chances of being hired and enhance one’s effectiveness in the following areas:
- Coaching and training, as in sport psychology
- Human resources management, as in I/O or business psychology
- Police chiefs, sheriffs, and investigators, as in criminal psychology
- Product design, as in human factors and engineering psychology
Psychology Careers with a Doctorate Degree
The vast majority of students obtaining a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) will go on to practice as a clinical psychologist or will teach the subject at a university. Conducting independent research projects in psychology, procuring a license as a counselor, or treating patients in a clinical capacity as a psychologist requires a doctorate in the form of either a PhD or PsyD.
Psychologists have a wide range of duties, with the ultimate goal of helping their clients better understand themselves and their environments. The American Psychological Association notes that they are also scientists who follow basic scientific principles in their work. Specifically, psychologists might observe, interview, survey and/or test their clients. Some of their specific duties include:
- Studying a client’s behavior through scientific studies and finding patterns
- Helping clients change their behavior
- Diagnosing disorders (emotional, behavioral or mental)
- Developing treatment plans
- Prescribing medicine for psychological disorders
- Developing programs for schools, companies and workplaces
- Collaborating with other professionals, such as social workers or physicians
- Testing theories of behavior
- Gathering information through controlled laboratory experiments
In order to be successful, psychologists should also possess a number of specific qualities that will help them better perform their duties. Those include analytical and observational skills, reliability, trustworthiness, excellent communication skills, and patience. It can be difficult to remain calm when faced with clients who have behavioral or mental disorders, so a calm and patient demeanor is essential.
Many psychologists can create their own work schedules, especially if they work in private practice. Some choose to offer after-hours sessions – on weekends or evenings – to accommodate the needs of their clients. Psychologists who work in nursing homes or hospitals may be required to work on evenings or weekends. Those who are employed by schools, clinics, or government agencies tend to work regular business hours.
Licensure Requirements for Psychologists
Every state, as well as the District of Columbia, requires that independently practicing psychologists be licensed. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, those licensing laws differ from state-to-state and by the type of job. Most psychologists who work in a clinical or counseling setting must have a doctorate in psychology as well as have completed an internship, one to two years of experience, and received a passing grade on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
Specific licensure or certification is required for school psychologists. The exact requirements vary from state to state, but many accept certification from the National Association of School Psychologists as a route to licensure or certification. A supervised 1,200-hour internship and a passing grade on the School Psychologist Praxis Examination are two of the main requirements.
Specialty certification is also available through the American Board of Professional Psychology. The body recognizes 13 different types of psychology and is useful in demonstrating expertise in a specialty. Some employers require this certification.
To find out more about licensure requirements for psychologists in your state, click on your state on our How to Become a Psychologist page.
Psychologist Salary and Career Outlook
Psychologists earned a median salary of $79,010 in 2017 with the top 10% earning more than $129,250 per year.31 Employment for all psychologists is expected to grow by 14% in the decade from 2016-2026, which is faster than average.31 The growth will vary for specialty disciplines, from 14% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists to 8% for industrial-organizational psychologists.31 Continue reading below to find out more about psychology specializations for those with a PhD or PsyD.
Specialization Fields with a PhD or PsyD
Among those who hold a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a PhD in Psychology, there are plenty of fields of specialization to choose from. As mentioned, school psychologists, clinical psychologists, and industrial-organizational psychologists are just a few of the specialties within the field. For most of the following jobs, you will need to get licensed in your state once you have obtained your doctorate in order to practice. As there are many areas of specialization in the field, those specific jobs are described below.
Child psychologists must possess exceptional communication skills since connecting with young clients can be particularly challenging. They should be empathetic and compassionate toward patients and enjoy helping the youngest members of our society. Some psychologists in this field focus more on research, necessitating the ability to remain objective and detached in their work. The BLS does not offer specific child psychologist salary information; however, the BLS reports that psychologists earned a median annual wage of $79,010 as of 2017.31 Many professionals who choose to specialize in child psychology go on to work as school psychologists. The Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology offers a number of resources to help its members advance their training and professional experience, as well as a psychology career center that links to job opportunities across the country. See our Child Psychology Degree Guide for more information.
Clinical psychologists focus on assessing, diagnosing, and treating mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Their goal is to improve their clients’ behavior and effectiveness while helping them adapt to their immediate environment, according to the Council of Specialities in Professional Psychology. While they may only be called upon to assist with short-term problems, they may also work long-term with clients who have severe or chronic disorders. Clinical psychologists can be employed in universities, clinics, hospitals, correctional institutions, the military, private practice, or the insurance industry. According to the American Academy of Clinical Psychology, the surge in managed care across the US has increased the demand for clinical psychologists to review and provide specialty mental health services. Some clinical psychologists may choose to specialize in certain areas of psychology, including health psychology or neuropsychology.32 Clinical psychologists earned a median wage of $76,990 as of 2017.31 Jobs growth for this specialty is expected to be faster than average, at 14% through 2026.31
Counseling psychologists work very closely with their patients, helping them understand the cause of their issues and take steps to solve them. This specialty of psychology is unique in that it focuses both on average developmental problems and more complex concerns, such as emotional, physical, or mental illnesses. However, counseling psychologists tend to focus more on psychologically stable patients, as opposed to those with more severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Counseling psychologists can work in a wide variety of settings, including government agencies, universities, health clinics, schools, or private organizations. They are typically very well trained in psychological principles and practices but often focus their work on one or a few different areas of interest, such as drug abuse or depression. Those who specialize in this profession are grouped with clinical and school psychologists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.31 See our Counseling Psychology Degree Guide for more information.
Educational psychologists tend to focus on the bigger educational picture. According to the American Psychology Association, they apply theory and methodology to broader issues concerning learning, teaching, and training. In many cases, they study student performance as well as cultural and socio-economic factors that have an impact on the classroom. The APA reports that educational psychologists are responsible for a great deal of the research done on learning in general. As part of their regular duties, educational psychologists might work on program development and evaluation, consult with teachers, parents, and school administrators, and implement intervention programs for students. The BLS does not list specific salary information for educational psychologists but reports that school psychologists made a median wage of $79,010 per year as of 2017.31
The field of forensic psychology involves the use of psychological principles and methods to assist legal professionals such as attorneys and judges. Forensic psychologists help those in the legal system understand the psychological aspects of a case and the people involved in the proceedings. In many cases, forensic psychologists are called upon to testify in court as an expert witness, but they can also be called upon to assess the testimony of eyewitnesses or jury behavior. Forensic psychologists can specialize in criminal, civil or family cases. They are not only familiar with psychological principles and practices, but also with the details of the justice system. While the average salaries for forensic psychologists can vary widely, they generally fall in line with those of traditional psychologists. See our related Forensic Psychology Degree Guide for more information.
Gerontologists focus on assisting elderly patients in a wide range of settings, including senior centers, public health centers, nursing homes, and hospitals. In many cases, they work with other professionals – such as attorneys, physical or occupational therapists, dietitians or counselors – to help the needs of their clients. Applied gerontologists tend to work one-on-one with their elderly clients, as well as their families. Research gerontologists use their experience and expertise to investigate the aging process and learn how to better meet the needs of the elderly population. Gerontologists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including nursing or sociology. As the baby boomer generation ages, gerontologists are expected to be in high demand. However, the earning potential for gerontologists is not as high as for other professionals in psychology.
A health psychologist focuses on helping individuals overcome and avoid health problems, often in a medical setting such as a hospital or clinic. Health psychologists can also be employed by universities, government agencies, and corporations to research and provide solutions for health problems. They can administer behavioral tests, provide education about healthy behavior, lead group therapy sessions, or run research studies. Health psychologists may focus in a specific area of the health field such as clinical psychology, public health, community health, and occupational health. Most employment opportunities in health psychology require a doctorate-level degree in psychology. See our related Health Psychology Degree Guide.
Industrial Organizational or Business Psychologist
An industrial-organizational psychologist, I/O psychologist, or business psychologist, is a fast-growing specialty of psychology that focuses on providing solutions for workplace problems and increasing worker productivity and performance. Specific tasks can include developing employee training programs, conducting research studies of the workplace environment, studying consumer reaction to new products, and assessing individual employees to provide managers with information for placement or promotion. Almost all I/O psychologists earn a master’s or doctorate degree before working in this field.31 Job growth for psychologists who work in industrial or business environments is predicted to grow at 8% through 2026.31 However, the BLS reports that I/O psychology is still a relatively small segment of the psychology job market, so this percentage equates to a relatively small number of jobs. See our related Business Psychology Degree Guide.
Because they focus on the relationship between behavior and the brain, neuropsychologists often work with clients who have suffered from a stroke, dementia, or a brain injury. However, they may also work with patients who have psychiatric, medical, or developmental issues, according to the American Board of Professional Psychology. In addition to neurological methods, neuropsychologists use psychological and physiological methods to assess their clients’ emotional state and cognitive abilities. That information is often paired with assessments from other healthcare providers to diagnose a patient’s disorder and implement a treatment plan. Neuropsychologists tend to earn higher salaries than psychologists in other specialties. The BLS reports that while psychologists earn about $79,000 a year, “other” psychologists, which would include neuropsychologists, earn a median of $100,770 annually.31
Psychology professors conduct research studies, publish academic papers, and teach courses at colleges and universities. They may also consult for businesses, non-profits, or government agencies. The projected job growth for postsecondary teachers from 2014-2024 of 13% is higher than the average occupation as student enrollment at colleges and universities continue to grow. The popularity of psychology as a college major means there will be demand for professors of psychology to fill teaching positions; however, many colleges are looking to replace full-time faculty with more adjunct and part-time faculty, which is expected to decrease demand for full-time professors who have their terminal degree. Overall, jobs growth for postsecondary teachers is expected at 15% through 2026.33 The median annual salary for psychology postsecondary teachers is about $78,470.33
Psychometricians design exams, then score and analyze the information. The tests they design are engineered to measure a client’s psychological attributes. The job requires skill in mathematics and statistics, as well as good communication skills. Psychometricians can work for testing companies, government, mental health clinics, universities, hospitals, or large corporations. While the BLS does not compile data on average salaries for psychometricians, professionals working as statisticians, which is closely related work, earned a median of $84,060 in 2017.34 Salaries are high in this field because of the specialized training psychometricians must pursue to enter the profession.
School psychologists help their clients change their behavior in an effort to improve their ability to learn. They can also apply their education and experience toward improving education issues that affect a wide range of students. They may help schools address bullying, drug abuse, and improve programs for students with special needs or disabilities. Psychologists in school settings might also work with teachers and other administrative staff to shape learning strategies for specific students or groups. They can also be called upon to counsel family members and evaluate student performance. School psychologists can find employment in a wide range of settings, including universities, public and private schools, day-treatment facilities, residential clinics, school-based health centers, juvenile justice facilities, and private practice. School psychologists earned a median annual salary of $75,090 in 2017, with jobs growth predictions calling for a 10% to 14% increase in positions through 2026.35 Demand for school psychologists will increase as school populations grow, as more school psychologists will be needed to help assess students – especially those with behavioral issues or learning disabilities. They may also be called upon to study how learning is affected by factors within the school and outside the school environment. See our related School Psychology Degree Guide for more information.
Sport psychologists work with athletes of all ages to help them meet their goals, stay motivated, and deal with sports-related fears or anxieties. The job may require travel, as some sport psychologists travel with an athlete or team. Those who enter this specialized field can also find employment in the military, which has become the largest employer of sport psychologists. The military uses sport psychologists to help soldiers face adversity and increase their resiliency. According to the American Psychological Association, sport psychologists can earn anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000 a year, with those at the top tier earning even more.36 See our related Sport Psychology Degree Guide.
Psychology Schools by State
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a psychologist in your state, click on one of the links below. There you will find information including facts about psychology schools, profiles of graduate programs, and a comprehensive directory of psychology degree programs in your state.
- Select One
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some careers for psychology majors?
Since psychology majors learn a broad range of skills including understanding how the human mind works, how people think, and why they act the way they do, psychology degree holders have many opportunities for employment. If they do not want to be clinical psychologists, they may choose to work in fields such as business psychology, school psychology, or sport psychology, to name a few. Read more about careers for psychology majors with an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctoral degree.
What kind of degree do I need for a career in psychology?
Psychology jobs require all different types of degree levels, from an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree or doctoral degree. Before you decide on a degree level, you should examine your career goals and decide on the type of psychology career you want to have. Then, you should pursue the degree level needed to land that job. If you plan to practice clinical psychology, you will need a Doctor of Psychology or PhD in Psychology degree. Find out more about psychology degrees on our Degrees page.
How much does a psychologist make?
The salary for a psychologist depends on many factors, including the type of psychology practiced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that US psychologists in the “all other” category made a median of $97,740 per year, while industrial-organizational psychologists earned $87,100 and clinical, counseling-psychology, and school psychologists made $75,090 per year.22 The pay for psychologists also includes a broad range, according to the BLS, with the top 10% of psychologists earning $124,520 or more and the bottom 10% earning less than $42,330 per year.22 Other factors that may impact psychologist salary include geographical location, years of experience, and type of practice.
- American Psychological Association: Offers more information on careers in all fields in psychology
- National Association of School Psychologists: Provides information on careers for school psychologists
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Provides information about industrial-organizational psychologists
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
2. National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, 2017 National Survey of College Graduates: https://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/sestat/sestat.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Correctional Officers and Bailiffs: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Correctional-officers.htm
4. Watson, Stephanie. A Career as a Police Officer. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2011. Print.
5. Hutton, Donald B. and Anna Myrdlarz. Guide to Law Enforcement Careers. New York: Barron’s Educational Services, Inc., 2001. Print.
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Protective-Service/Police-and-detectives.htm
7. Kuther, Tara L. and Robert D. Morgan. Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a Changing World. 4th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychiatric Technicians and Aides: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/psychiatric-technicians-and-aides.htm
9. Vourlekis, Betsy S. and Robert R. Greene, Eds. Social Work Case Management. Hawthorne: Aldine de Gruyter, 1992. Print.
10. Rozovsky, Fay A. Corporate Compliance in Home Health: Establishing a Plan, Managing the Risks. New York: Aspen Publishers, Inc., 1998. Print.
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Human Service Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/Social-and-human-service-assistants.htm
12. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Administrative Services Managers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm
13. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm
14. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Programmers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm
15. Nathanson, Martha Dale. Home Health Care Answer Book: Legal Issues for Providers. New York: Aspen Publishers, Inc., 1995. Print.
16. Eliason, Grafton and John Patrick, eds. Career Development in the Schools. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing, Inc., 2008.
17. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Health Educators and Community Health Workers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm
18. Bernstein, Alan B. Guide to Your Career. 5th ed. New York: Princeton Review Publishing, LLC, 2003. Print.
19. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Human Resources Specialists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/human-resources-specialists.htm
20. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Management Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Management-analysts.htm
21. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Market Research Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Market-research-analysts.htm
22. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Public Relations Specialists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm
23. McKenna, Eugene F. Business Psychology and Organisational Behaviour: A Student’s Handbook. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis, Inc., 2000. Print.
24. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sales Manager: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Sales-managers.htm
25. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Sales Representatives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/wholesale-and-manufacturing-sales-representatives.htm
26. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, School and Career Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/School-and-career-counselors.htm
27. Echaore-McDavid, Susan. Career Opportunities in Education and Related Services. 2nd ed. New York: Ferguson, 2006. Print.
28. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm
29. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, High School Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
30. Axelrod-Contrada, Joan. Career Opportunities in Politics, Government, and Activism. 2nd ed. New York: Ferguson, 2008. Print.
31. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
32. American Academy of Clinical Psychology: https://www.aacpsy.org/
33. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
34. O*NET OnLine, Statisticians: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-2041.00
35. O*NET OnLine, School Psychologists: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3034.00
36. American Psychological Association, A Career in Sport and Performance Psychology: https://www.apa.org/education-career/guide/subfields/performance/education-training