3 answers

What are the career options if I get a degree in Psychology?

Asked

I would like to be a psychologist.

here is my research on college planning for becoming a psychologist .

degree in psychology
starting salary 40,000 per year

Total college cost for 4 years: $80,000 at san diego state for degree in psychology.

cost of online college 25,000$ for 4 years.

Please review the plan and advise. #psychology

3 answers

My’s Answer

Great question - Think about when you say "you want to be a psychologist", and what does that look like? Within the field of psychology, ignoring the career titles for a moment, what types of things do you want to be doing and what impact do you want to be making because that can help you back into what career options may work best for you.

There are different fields in psychology - for instance I have a Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational (IO) Psychology. This is another type of psychology whereby we bring in psychology into the workplace at an organization level and consider the human side/implications at work. The focus is less on the 1-on-1 interactions with individuals more traditionally seen in counseling and psychotherapy, and shifting more towards a macro/higher level view of groups of people. This would be another career option that would impact your cost of obtaining a college education as IO psychology has different skills requirements.

Another consideration if you want to be a licensed, clinical psychiatrist, is you may have to continue your education to a Masters level or conduct minimum hours of practice. I found this Psychologydegree411 site to be particularly helpful.

There's no "wrong" way to discover what path is right for you and what's important is that you're exploring that now, early in your career. It's great you're looking to the future with the end goal in mind - It's a great best practice! One of my favorite quotes someone once told me was "if you fail to plan, you're planning to fail" (Ben Franklin quote).

Best of luck!

-My

My recommends the following next steps:

  • Think about when you say "you want to be a psychologist", and ask yourself what does that look like? Within the field of psychology, ignoring the career titles for a moment, what types of things do you want to be doing and what impact do you want to be making because that can help you back into what career options may work best for you.
  • If you want to be a licensed, clinical psychiatrist, is you may have to continue your education to a Masters level or conduct minimum hours of practice. I found this Psychologydegree411 site to be particularly helpful. https://www.psychologydegree411.com/

G. Mark’s Answer

Updated

Many people will give you the obvious answers -- be a psychologist or go further in your studies and get and MD and be a psychiatrist. There are also the opportunities of being a counselor of various types. Perhaps a career advisor. Or someone in any sort of mentor role. But the fact of the situation is that if you get a degree in psychology, you've likely studied in the various STEM -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It shouldn't be a surprise that these areas are used by a huge number of professions that are in great demand.

You might want to examine those options first and then decide what additional courses you might take as an adjunct to what you've already studied.

One no-brainer is anything to do with computer science. CS has permeated the job market to an overwhelming degree. Another is anything to do with any engineering. This also is a hot area.

Something to consider is that if you've stuck through it so far in psychology and have dabbled in an of the STEM areas, you'll already have a good idea of what you enjoy and are suited for. As I've said many times before, you're likely going to be good at what you like, and you're likely going to enjoy what you happen to be good at. So test them out and have fun learning.

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas

Maddison,

Hi! I majored in Sociology, and really enjoyed it. Before I get into what you can do with the degree, let's take a moment to look at the numbers.

Cost of college: Does that include the cost of books, which are very expensive? Even if you sell them back, you won't get nearly what you paid for them. There are options: renting, on-line books, etc, but there are still costs. Does it include the costs associated with transportation, if commuting, which includes car loan, maintenance, and fuel (or bus fare)? Also factor in a fair amount for other "incidentals" which tend to add up. I have had professors who required we turn our work in on a flash drive. You also might do a bit of printing, some of which might be free at the school computer labs, some which you will pay for. You may be required to attend certain functions which charge admission, or might want to join professional associations. You will likely grab a bite to eat while at school. If you like to party, well, that adds up too! If you live on campus, there is a dorm fee to add in.

On-line classes are not easy, and require a lot of self-discipline. They aren't for everyone!

Now let's discuss salary. A degree is Psychology won't necessarily get you $40K a year. It sort of depends of where you live and what job you get. If you work for a gov't agency in Texas, for example, expect a starting salary around $30K. Keep in mind there will be taxes held out of that, and you may also be paying for healthcare, etc.

Degrees in liberal arts are marketable in many different areas, so, I like my degree! What exactly is it that you want to do in the field of Psychology? Are you wanting to do research, marketing, work with people who are trying to work through their personal problems? Go into criminal justice? Public Relations?

When I received my Sociology degree, I became a police officer. I stayed there for 25 years, and got active in police association activities, working to improve the training, professionalism, and working conditions of the officers. After retiring from that, I became a career counselor at a state agency. The pay was horrible, but, because I had a pension also coming in, I was able to live comfortably. Many of my (single) co-workers have filed bankruptcy.

Whatever path you take, I want to encourage you to challenge yourself to hone your writing and public speaking skills to perfection! Also take some classes on budget/finance/grant writing, as many of the available jobs will be for private companies that are gov't funded. They write grant proposals to get their money. You will also want to understand data analytics, performance metrics, or whatever they call it - how success is measured. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities you will have!

Best of luck to you!

Kim