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Psychology Career Information

A bachelor's or master's degree in psychology can help prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities. Psychology careers span the business world, the classroom, the courtroom, and the clinic, among other places. Psychology’s history is a modern one, only dating back to the mid-1870s.1 Career-seekers in this relatively young discipline should expect new roles to emerge in society and business as technology, medicine and healthcare grow increasingly complex in human lives.

Top Industries for Psychologists

Industries with the highest levels of employment for psychologists are the Federal Executive Branch, colleges, universities and professional schools, outpatient care centers, general medical and surgical hospitals, and offices of other health practitioners.2

Salary Details

A psychologist’s average annual salary is $70,650.3 Pay can vary depending on specialization, with a $247,000 median salary for self-employed clinical psychologists at the higher end.4 Other skills that most correspond to increased pay are neuropsychology, forensic psychology, clinical research and health psychology (via PayScale).

Psychology Career Paths

Career roles for psychologists are far-ranging. Some of the most common types include clinical, health, counseling, developmental, forensic, industrial-organizational, school, social and neuropsychologists.5

The career arc for a clinical psychologist might include a move into forensic psychology, or it may include varying duties related to a clinical or clinical services director, such as:6

  • Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
  • Executive director, non-profit organization
  • Senior director, clinical services
  • VP, operations
  • Program director, healthcare
  • Behavioral health director

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19 percent growth rate in its current job outlook for psychologists.7

Other Psychology Career Data

Most graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology end up working in fields other than psychology. The good news is graduates report their studies have assisted them in “both life and work,” according to the American Psychological Association.8

A career in research presents many opportunities, typically at a university or government agency (for laboratory settings), or out in the field. Those interested in research have their choice of subjects, for example:9

  • Animals
  • Human infants
  • Well-functioning people
  • Emotionally disturbed people
  • Older persons
  • Students
  • Workers

The American Psychological Association advises would-be psychologists to get a master's in psychology and research academic programs in conjunction with their preferences.10 Looking to specific faculty member expertise or research interests can illuminate potential career paths that track to student desires.

Source References [+]

1. “Careers in Psychology.” APA.org. http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx

2. “Occupational Employment Statistics.” BLS.gov. 30 March 2016. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm#ind

3. “Psychologist Salary.” PayScale. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Psychologist/Salary

4. “Clinical Psychologist Salary.” PayScale. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Psychologist/Salary

5. "What Psychologists Do." BLS.gov. 17 Dec. 2015. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm#tab-2

6. “Clinical Psychologist Salary.” PayScale. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Psychologist/Salary

7. "Psychologists." BLS.gov. 17 Dec. 2015. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

8. “Careers in Psychology.” APA.org. http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx

9. “Careers in Psychology.” APA.org. http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx

10. “Careers in Psychology.” APA.org. http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx

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