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How far can I get with a bachelor's degree in psychology?

Hi, I am a senior in high school interested in pursuing an education in psychology. I am curious, how far can I get with a bachelor's degree in psychology instead of a PhD?

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Yisel’s Answer

Hi Paulina,

Did you know that Psychology is one of the most sought-after undergraduate majors in the U.S? In fact, during 2014-2015, a whopping 117,557 bachelor’s degrees in psychology were handed out. To put it in perspective, over the past nine years, a staggering 1 million individuals have proudly earned their psychology baccalaureates (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017).

So, it's no surprise that the question, "What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?" is on the minds of many.

Here's some encouraging news: About a quarter of psychology graduates pursue further studies in the same field, while nearly 18 percent choose to continue their education in a different area. The majority, 57 percent, step right into the workforce. To give you a glimpse into the exciting career possibilities that a BA in Psychology can open up for you, here's a link:

https://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/psn/2018/01/bachelors-degree

Remember, the world of psychology is vast and full of opportunities. So, go ahead, explore and make your mark!
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Raquel’s Answer

A psychology bachelor's degree is very popular, which makes finding entry-level jobs quite challenging. To work as a counselor, you must have at least a master's degree. Although a bachelor's degree qualifies you to be a mental health technician, the competition for these jobs is so fierce in some places that individuals often volunteer for years before landing a paid position. Job opportunities can greatly differ depending on where you live. Therefore, I recommend consulting with school counselors and career advisors in your area to discover the specific opportunities available to you.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Paulina !

How far you can go with a Bachelors Degree in psychology is very difficult to predict. One thing that may be easy to assume is that your salary rate may be lower than if you went for a Masters or PhD.

What I can say about it is that having a Bachelors in psychology is a strong degree, but I think that you may want to consider also getting a teaching credential and/or look into becoming certified as a Mental Health Counselor. That may fortify your career choices. The field of human services is somewhat competitive and there will be many people with Masters degrees applying for the same positions as you. But it may not be impossible. You just have to keep an eye on the positions that are open and which agencies/companies are hiring. Also network in this field and someone you know may want to hire you.

You may be able to apply to be a case manager. What is good about this is that you can work your way up to be a Program Manager and that is a higher salary at most agencies. The higher pay would also be if you obtain a position in a hospital setting. So there are some things to consider and no way to be definite as to how far you will go as opportunities present themselves spontaneously. While you are in college, you will be informed of this field's job market and that should be a big help.

Best wishes to you in all you do !
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Karin’s Answer

There are also jobs I didn't know existed until a few weeks ago. There are UX Designers, UI Designers and Human Factor Engineers and apparently Psychology is a good foundation. They are "tech-adjacent" and basically study how customers experience a product and how the product can be made better. That includes safety, but also e.g. how well users navigates through an app (and hopefully buy something) etc. So, there are options that don't have to do with therapy.

Best regards

KP
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Akira’s Answer

Hi there!

That is a wonderful degree to pick. You can go into a field related to mental health (counselor, therapist, psychologist), but many companies also value sales folks, product managers, and sales enablement professionals with diverse backgrounds. For example, I have a degree in American Studies and Middle Eastern Studies but was interested in working in technology sales when I finished college. I've been working in tech sales at different large companies for many years now. What I've found is that companies and hiring managers are most interested in the story you tell about yourself and why you want to work in the job title/company/ industry that you're passionate about.

Best of luck! You'll do great things with wherever you want to take your future with a degree in psychology.
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Paulina:

In agreement with the previous responses and with any professional field, competition is fierce. A 4 Year Bachelor Degree in Psychology will enable one to gain an entry level position. This provides the opportunity to gain experience and exposure in the industry. However, to enhance and to advance one's career, one has to pursue and to earn higher education such as a Masters Degree or a Doctoral Degree. There are also requirements for licensing, certifications, etc. in one's career to remain competitive and to be of value.

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare for a psychology career. Chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, algebra and statistics will be needed. Other classes to take will be language arts, social sciences, foreign language and AP psychology. The combination of these concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills for research; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration among team members, staff and partner departments occur on a daily basis. As a Psychologist, communication is essential and critical when dealing with patients, medical personnel and other hospital staff. A college course in public speaking, communications and English will help with one's communication and writing skills. While in high school, the debate team will provide the opportunity to sharpen communication skills which are backed with research and factual data and information.

According to VeryWellMind.com, the educational pathway to become a Clinical Psychologist will be between 8-12 years. 4 Years will be to earn a Bachelor Degree. A Masters Degree will be 2-3 years. The Doctorate Degree will be another 4-7 years. Then, there are internships, certifications and licensing that have to be earned and achieved along the way.

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-become-a-psychologist-2794935

There are careers in Psychology that one can pursue. According to Indeed.com, here are some of the top careers for a Psychology major:

- Therapist
- Psychology Program Director
- Behavioral Analyst
- Researcher
- Psychology Professor
- Industrial Psychologist
- Military Psychologist
- Counseling Psychologist
- Correctional Psychologist
- Sports Psychologist
- Clinical Psychologist
- Experimental Psychologist
- Forensic Psychologist
- Neuropsychiatrist
- Child or School Psychiatrist

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/top-psychology-degree-jobs

According to U.S. News & World Report, here is a link to the Best Colleges and Universities for a Psychology major:

- Stanford University
- University of California (Berkeley)
- Harvard University
- University of California (Los Angeles)
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
- Princeton University
- University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
- Yale University
- Cornell University
- Northwestern University
- University of Wisconsin (Madison)
- Columbia University
- Duke University

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/psychology-rankings

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees - Master and Doctoral

Scholarship applications can start to be submitted during your Junior year and will continue throughout your Senior year in high school. It is best to ask your Academic Advisor/School Counselor on the timeline process as well. Scholarship applications will have specific deadlines and requirements to meet in order to be submitted for review and consideration.

You may want to start to compile your resume/portfolio since a majority of scholarship applications will require academic grade point average (GPA), academic accomplishments, school activities (clubs, sports, etc.), community involvement (volunteer, church, etc.), academic and personal recommendations, etc. There may be essay requirements on why you are a qualified candidate to receive the scholarship, what your future goals are academically and professionally and other questions centering around who you are, your beliefs, etc.

Here are a couple of links for College Scholarships:

https://www.mometrix.com/blog/scholarships-for-college/

https://www.nchchonors.org/students/awards-scholarships/national-scholarships

Also, it will be best to check with the colleges and universities that you will be applying to. You can check with the School/Department of your desired major, the Campus Career Center and the Register's Office for additional information for college scholarships and grants and specific requirements for qualifications.

Best wishes for your education and career path in Psychology!
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