Top Psychology Careers, based on degree level and Interests
Find Programs for Top Careers in Psychology
Written by Chelsea Dunning, Updated Salary Information Sept. 12, 2017
The career choices that open up after you obtain a psychology degree encompass a wide variety of industries and opportunities. While there are many high paying jobs available in the psychology field, such as a psychiatrist, these jobs often take several years of schooling and may not have as many positions available due to growth factors.
Below is a list of psychology careers that are projected to have high growth stability and good pay rates in comparison to the amount of education you need to enter the job market. Once you know a little more about your career options and the education you need to get there, you can start contacting psychology schools for more information.
Private Practice Clinical Therapist
Clinical therapists provide counseling to individuals, generally in specialized areas, and usually require at least a master’s degree in clinical psychology before they can be licensed. With the recent push to acknowledge and treat mental illness, the need for therapists is expected to at least hold steady, if not grow in demand. Clinical therapists make an average of $74,030 yearly (BLS, 2017) but private practice clinical therapists can make upwards to $150,000 yearly, and have the ability to choose their own rates and providers.
School psychologists are employed throughout school districts across the U.S. in a very important role. They assess children, administer testing and counsel students when necessary. This profession typically requires at least a master’s degree in psychology. Employment rates for school psychologists are expected to rise, ensuring stability in the industry, according to the BLS (2017). The average salary for a school psychologist is approximately $72,710 with rate increases according to experience. Salaries may also vary between states and school districts. Keep in mind that school psychologists receive benefits and school holidays as well.
Special Education Teacher
The typical requirements for becoming a special education teacher are a bachelor’s degree and teacher training. Many schools prefer special education teachers hold a bachelor’s in psychology so that they are better able to relate and work with students with learning disabilities, mental handicaps and behavioral issues. Special education teachers make an average of $57,820 per year (2017).
Career and vocational counselors provide education and career planning assistance to students and professionals. These counselors interview individuals about their goals and administer tests to help determine the best career or educational path. Counselors in these positions must possess at least a bachelor’s degree and make an average of $56,040 per year (BLS, 2017).
While a corporate management position is not necessarily a direct position in psychology, managers spend a lot of time communicating with people, a skill that becomes highly refined in psychology courses. An important quality in a manager is the ability to effectively work with and lead others, both of which are qualities commonly found in psychology graduates. General and operations managers in corporate fields make an average of $95,440 per year (2017 BLS data).
Engineering psychologists work to design buildings, technology and machinery to make them more efficient and easier to use. Ergonomics is an example of engineering psychology, which is commonly responsible in the design of office desks and chairs to better support the skeletal and nervous systems. The use of ergonomics to design the furniture of workers who are confined to desks, can, in turn make them more efficient at their jobs. Careers in engineering psychology at a minimum, typically require a bachelor’s degree but can likely earn higher pay and prestige with a higher education.
Engineering psychology is a relatively new field with expectations of high growth outlook and is closely related to industrial-organizational psychology. An industrial-organizational psychologist works with companies to keep employees happier in their work environment to create more efficiency and results in the company. The average pay for these psychologists, according to 2017 data, is $90,070 per year .
A genetics counselor works with individuals and families who have a genetic illness or diagnosis. These counselors assist families in coping with the news, and offer guidance and support as they navigate the medical system, providing access to valuable resources. Genetic counselors need a background in genetics as well as counseling and should have at least a master’s degree in one of these fields. Average 2017 pay for a genetic counselor is $69,540 per year.
With so many popular criminal investigation shows, forensics has become a popular subject of study, making it a fast growing field. Forensic psychologists assist in criminal and civil matters such as child disputes, divorces, child abuse cases and other legal disputes where a psychologist is needed. For example, forensic psychologists will conduct interviews with children suspected of abuse to assess and ensure for the emotional stability of the child. These professionals must obtain at least a master’s degree and earn an average of $89,810 (BLS 2017).
Correctional Facility Psychologist
A correctional facility psychologist works with incarcerated inmates and their treatment team to provide appropriate mental health care to inmates, as well as provide safe environments for behavior modification. These positions are projected to grow at a rate faster than average, offering job security, according to the BLS (2017). Psychologists working in correctional facilities must obtain at least a master’s degree and earn an average of $89,810 per year.
Sports psychologists work with athletes towards many self-set goals and address topics such as motivation, mental health, performance, sports injury and rehabilitation, working towards positive overall health and well-being. These professionals hold at least a master’s degree and as of 2017 earn an average of $89,810 per year.
Getting the right psychology degree can lead to a variety of different career options. To learn more about how to enroll in and complete a psychology degree program that can help you start one of these careers, contact the schools below.