Is it realistic to work in business fields with a Psychology degree?
I love studying psychology and find that it can help me move forward into becoming a clinical psychologist or academic counselor after undergrad. I find that a degree in psychology may be pretty versatile and would like to use it to explore careers in business as well. I plan on taking business classes to obtain a certificate from my community college and maybe even minor in Business while majoring in Psychology when I transfer to univeristy. I want to explore business administration, HR, and marketing, but I believe Psychology is my "stronger" suit, thus I want I major in Psychology and minor in BA/HR/marketing. However, I have read that many people struggle finding jobs in business with a Psychology degree. I am not sure if it is even worth putting my focus in business if business employers find my education non-sufficient. A lot of online forums and YouTube videos are especially discouraging. What do you think? Should I just focus on my goal of becoming a counselor instead?
Thank you for your answers!
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Also, don't discount your skills of finishing a degree, regardless of what the major/minor is: organization, communication, resourcefulness (looking up youtube.), initiative (asking for advice). These are more essential for entry level jobs than knowing that exact business subject matter. Most of what I/people do is solving problems when there is no answer, not having the exact answer all the time.
When I'm hiring, I look for someone who can learn quickly and shows a commitment to bettering themselves and work hard to drive results. One can teach most anything to someone with the skills I've mentioned and they will have a chance to be successful at the job.
I will say, I did leverage some technical skills I was developing by volunteering and building websites for groups when I was in school. So i think taking some additional coursework or minoring like you mentioned is a great way to build skills. You would just have to practice sharing those skills and connecting it to job/role in the interview process.
Ron recommends the following next steps:
After my graduation, I took a role as a Human Resources Specialist. I worked in that capacity for 2 years, gaining valuable business experience, and then took another job at a larger company in Human Resources where I focused on Learning & Development and Organizational Development. At that point I wanted to shift my focus to Marketing. I found myself if various marketing roles, and then settled into the Technology space in a marketing capacity where I built skills in Product Marketing, Customer Marketing and eventually Digital Marketing. It is here that I grew my potential as a digital marketer in a technology company.
The company I am with now offered continued education for free! I recently received a mini-MBA certificate in Digital Marketing from Rutgers Business School - all online and after my normal work hours, while maintaining a household and 2 children. It is all reasonably achievable.
My Psychology degree gave me a good foundation for the importance of continued education, an 'in' into a company in an HR role, and there - it all unwound perfectly into a strong career. Stick to your guns and don't doubt your decisions. Getting the foundation is good - and everything can be modified an tailored to your liking as you progress.
I hope this helps!
I wish you the best!
Paul Anthony’s Answer
Candice Robinson, BS, NCPT-4
When I first started out, I worked in the Executive HR department for various major healthcare organizations. My title was the HR Specialist/Talent Manager. In this role I was responsible for things such as interviewing & surveying employees, assessing their performance, & creating methods to decrease turnover through the organization. There are also a lot of new openings in this career in dealing with diversity & anti-discrimation issues. Many people with this degree at the Bachelors level have titles such as Professional Development, Trainer, or Advisor. I currently work as a independent practice manager for 11 different private mental health providers. There are so many opportunities available just to be a consultant. At the Masters or PhD level, many companies have a Behavioral/Research Analyst or Systems Manager on staff.
This would be a great area to explore in both the areas of Psychology & Business.
**1. Transferable Skills:** Psychology equips you with valuable skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and an understanding of human behavior. These skills are highly transferable and can be assets in various business roles.
**2. Diverse Career Opportunities:** Many businesses recognize the value of individuals with psychology backgrounds in areas like HR, marketing, consumer research, and organizational development. Your understanding of human behavior can be particularly beneficial in marketing, where consumer psychology plays a significant role.
**3. Complementary Minors:** Minoring in Business, HR, or Marketing will provide you with additional knowledge and skills specific to those fields. This combination can make you a strong candidate for business positions, especially those that involve working with people or managing teams.
**4. Adaptability:** Keep in mind that career paths aren't always linear. While your primary interest may be in psychology, exploring business fields doesn't mean you're locked into them forever. Your psychology background can also be an asset if you decide to return to clinical psychology or counseling later in your career.
**5. Networking:** Build a professional network that includes both psychologists and business professionals. Attend industry events, join relevant associations, and connect with professors who can guide you in both fields.
**6. Continuous Learning:** Stay open to continuous learning and consider obtaining certifications or taking additional courses in business-related areas as needed. This can enhance your qualifications and adaptability.
**7. Realistic Expectations:** It's true that some specialized business roles may require specific business degrees. However, many employers prioritize skills, experience, and a willingness to learn. Emphasize your skill set and how it can benefit potential employers.
**8. Career Guidance:** Seek guidance from your university's career services department. They can provide insights into career paths, help you tailor your resume, and offer interview preparation assistance.
Ultimately, the choice between pursuing a career in counseling or exploring business fields depends on your long-term goals and passions. If you have a genuine interest in both, there's no harm in gaining a well-rounded education that prepares you for various career opportunities. Many successful professionals have hybrid backgrounds that blend psychology with other disciplines, which can be a unique and valuable asset in today's job market.
I work now in a more tech based, data analytics role but I consider my psychology background and experience of research design pretty fundamental. So it isn't just HR roles you can move into. In my mind psychology degrees are very broadly applicable and can be applied to a wide variety of roles all across business, especially in people management but also areas you may not have considered like research.
I can only offer my own anecdotes on how businesses see a psychology degree but in my personal experience it has generally been an aspect of my resume that has generated interest and engagement during interviews. I would count it as a positive for sure.