4 answers

What do you do after you get a degree in psychology?

Asked Denver, Colorado

4 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


The supposedly obvious answer would be "be a psychologist". But actually, to become a psychologist, you have to get a graduate degree on top of your bachelor degree as well as complete additional training. Now, what can you do with any degree in psychology? Actually, any profession that entails understanding of people and personal interaction can make use of training in psychology. And there are quite a few. From any counseling to advertising to leadership positions. Psychological motivation of people can be incredibly complex. Further, training psychology requires you to understand experimental design and human performance motivators. These are obviously invaluable pieces of knowledge in just about any activity that relies on working with others and motivating a team. Considering that the trend in most technologies is that projects are not getting simpler or smaller or "automated" and formulaic, but rather that projects always tend to reach the "edge" of known processes and venture into exploring new challenges and unknown solutions. This tends to make projects bigger and teams bigger and interdisciplinary, with people having to communicate ever more complex and less understood phenomena. And the key to getting people to deal with these sorts of challenges is -- yes -- psychology. Now, it is entirely possible that the profession you choose to apply psychology to may not be all that lucrative monetarily, but that's more a symptom of those jobs being underfunded for one reason or another. But that's not to say that you won't be able to make great use of a background in psychology for very highly-paid careers. And the aim should be to do something you like rather than just something that makes you lots of money. Satisfaction is important. My own education in psychology has never failed to come in handy even on projects that would appear to be entirely technical. People are always the key. And understanding them is important, not to mention comforting.

Vincent’s Answer

Updated St. Louis, Missouri

I think this depends on the kind of work you enjoy doing. And I think it's also helpful to visualize it in terms of what kind of work you can do at each degree level.


If you like experimental research and have a bachelors, I would recommend looking for research assistant, research coordinator, or lab manager jobs at universities, as they will typically have good pay and be in a rewarding research environment. If you are more into helping people through community work, there are also positions working with youth in mental health centers or as a behavioral therapists for children with autism, as well as some entry level jobs at non-profits or human resources departments of companies.


A masters in general psychology qualifies for work as a director of non-profit organizations, user experience engineer at some companies (designing testing for their products), or as a research analyst or science writer. A masters in social work (MSW) qualifies for work as a therapist or social worker, after attaining a license. The median pay is less for this type of work compared to PhD or PsyD holders in counseling psychology, but requires less schooling. Terminal masters degrees in general and clinical psychology are harder to find, but do exist, and they can help with job prospects.


There are doctoral degrees in many subfields of psychology--clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, counseling psychology, forensic psychology, and many others. All of them are vastly different. In general, doctoral degrees are the minimum for becoming a professional in any field of psychology (as a counseling psychologist, research professor, or psychiatrist). They are also often used today to get jobs at popular companies (like Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as a user experience researcher, especially if the applicant has computer programming skills. Becoming a psychiatrist would require medical school, making it a bit longer and different experience overall.

Vincent recommends the following next steps:

  • Identify what interests you specifically about psychology before searching for jobs

Michael’s Answer

Updated Seattle, Washington

With a first degree in psychology, it gives you a wide variety of career fields. Besides further graduate studies to specialize, presently you can apply to positions in health care <span style="color: rgb(93, 103, 106);">(paraprofessional)</span>, social services, human resources, sales/marketing, etc. In other words, psychology is a good foundation for a lot of fields, given on-the-job training and/or further graduate studies.

Alexandria’s Answer

I'm currently a product designer and studied Psychology at UC Berkeley. You can do so many things with Psychology that are not the traditional route. Since I knew I liked design, I focused more on cognitive science classes within my major. You could also go to grad school and get your masters in education or even a PhD if you prefer.