Career in Psychology – Everything You Need to Know


A career in psychology can involve a wide range of job titles and work settings as well as a number of different educational and career paths.

When you think of a career in psychology, many assume being a psychologist is the only option. Clearly becoming a psychologist is certainly a common career path, it certainly isn’t the only option.

In this guide, we provide an overview of the opportunities across the subfields of psychology, mental health and behavioral health.

The subfields of psychology

A key element of determining your career path in psychology is to narrow down the subfield that interests you most so that you can plot a course into this field.

Here are the most common subfields (click on any of the links to take a deep dive into that subfield):

Some of these subfields bleed into one another with many practitioners straddling 2 or even more of these subfields in a given role.

Educational Path

Bachelor’s degree

A Bachelor’s degree in Psychology typically takes 4 years to complete and provides a broad overview of the field.

Learn more about a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Here are some jobs you can do with a bachelor’s degree:

See also our guide to entry-level psychology jobs.

Master’s degree

A Master’s degree in Psychology typically takes 2 years to complete and provides students with specialized training in a specific area of psychology. Students choose to focus on a subfield e.g. clinical psychology, counseling psychology, counseling, family counseling, or behavioral psychology.

Here are some jobs you can do with a master’s degree in psychology:

See also our guide to jobs you can do with a master’s in psychology.

Doctorate degree

A doctorate in psychology, such as a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD), typically takes 5-7 years to complete and provides advanced training in research, clinical practice, and theory. Typically there will be an area of focus e.g. behavioral psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, counseling psychology or organizational psychology.

Graduates may become licensed psychologists and pursue careers in academia, research, or clinical practice.

Here are some jobs you can do with a doctorate in psychology (you’ll note some repetition from the above list and this is because whilst some of these roles, outside of licensed psychologist, don’t require a doctoral degree, candidates with a doctoral degree are being increasingly desirable):

What is the outlook for a career in psychology?

The outlook for a career in psychology is strong and expected to grow in the coming years. One major factor contributing to this growth is the increasing demand for mental health services. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences a mental illness in any given year.

Furthermore, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, among others, is driving demand for psychological services. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 19.4 million adults (7.8% of the US population) had a substance use disorder in 2018, and the numbers are expected to rise in the coming years. Additionally, the NIMH reports that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 50,000 deaths by suicide each year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is projected to grow 3% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The bureau also notes that demand for clinical and counseling psychologists will continue to grow as people seek help with mental health issues. In addition, the bureau reports that demand for industrial-organizational psychologists is expected to increase as organizations look to improve productivity and employee satisfaction. Overall, the outlook for a career in psychology is positive, with strong demand for mental health services and opportunities for growth and advancement in the field.