Psychology Careers and Educational Requirements

An overview of Psychology Career Opportunities available to those holding specific degrees. Remember, states each have their own certification boards that regulate professional certifications and licenses.

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Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Generally, those with doctoral degrees have the most psychology job opportunities available to them.  They are also typically the highest paid psychologists.  This level of education is usually required for independent private practice or research.  Psychologists with a Ph.D. often work in academic settings as researchers, teachers or counselors.  They can also supervise those people with a master’s or bachelor’s degree.

According to the APA, a median salary in psychology jobs for someone with a doctoral level education across all settings with less than 1 year experience is $58,000; with 5 years experience $75,000; with 10 years experience $83,000; with 20 years experience $95,000.

Master’s Degree in Psychology

Many people with master’s degrees choose psychology careers within health, education and industry.  They can research, collect and analyze data for government agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control), private companies and universities.  Within the business world, those holding Master’s degrees can take jobs in industrial-organizational psychology, working on such things as compensation, personnel issues and training.

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is a good foundation for a wide range of jobs.  Many people with Psychology bachelor’s degree do not actually pursue careers as psychologists.  The APA reports that a recent psychology careers study shows fewer than five percent of those with bachelors degrees in psychology actually work in psychology or a related field.

Many choose psychology jobs in divisions of social services and healthcare, taking on roles such as social workers, case mangers, career counselors and rehabilitation specialist.  Some also choose careers in the business world, working as mangers and sales representatives.  Still others, after meeting state certification requirements, may go on to become high school psychology teachers.

The course work in undergraduate psychology programs often includes research, writing and good communication skills.  This prepares students for jobs such as probation officers, criminologists and even library assistants.

Licensure and Certification

With many psychology degrees, there are required state or professional certifications and licenses.  Once in a psychology career, there are usually continuing education requirements, depending on the state of employment.

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