Psychology is a field which a lot of students choose to study for their undergraduate degree. To become a psychologist requires a lot of work and dedication, but at the end gives the satisfaction of helping people lead more fulfilled lives. Afterwards, many think that they should immediately pursue a doctoral degree which is a widespread misconception. In fact, more students continue to get their Master of Arts Degree in Psychology rather than a PhD.
Specifically 23,000 each year get their graduate degree as compared to 5,500 students who get their doctoral degrees in psychology.
A Masters in Psychology as with many other degrees has a wide application so it might be confusing for students to decide what job they want to get and what they want to do with the degree. So before deciding, students should do research on the degree and the opportunities it offers.
This article will focus on informing students who are considering this degree about what jobs can you get with a Masters in Psychology.
- Employment Prospects
- Most common employers
- Necessary skills
- Possible job positions
- Further education
There is a wide range of skills which a psychology Master’s degree gives students, both from a science and a theoretical perspective. This makes it possible for them to have career options in many industries and sectors. Employment prospects are determined by a few factors such as:
Focus of studies
Besides a general study of psychology, students are allowed to specialize in different topics within it.
The most common specializations are:
- Clinical Psychology – is a terminal degree which allows students to then work directly with patients who might have mental issues and become licensed clinical psychologists.
- Experimental Psychology – is a research based degree which focuses on discovering psychological phenomena and proving psychology concepts through extensive cognitive and social experiments.
- Applied Psychology – is a specialization which uses the concepts taught in school to apply them in the workplace and other environments so as to improve people’s lives and wellbeing.
Each one entails a set of careers which one can gain, so students usually take their time to choose.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics classified employment growth in psychology as 19% until the year of 2024
BLS’s report stated that most career prospects would be focused in industrial and organizational settings, and competition would be especially high in that.
So before you choose what specialization to do in Psychology, you have to consider what the statistics are saying about the job prospects of your degree.
Despite the fact that some degrees might have higher job growth than others, most people decide about what they want to focus on based on their personal interests. You might know that industrial psychologists will be the most demanded psychology job in the future, but if you are personally more interested in clinical psychology, then you will probably choose that.
Previous work experience
Employers also give priority to people who have had work experience that is related to the job position they are applying for. That is why employment prospects for graduates with a Masters Degree in Psychology are also dependent on the previous work experiences of the students.
If you are someone who has not immediately done a graduate degree after getting their undergraduate one, then you will probably have some work experience which relates to what you want to study and work. Based on that, you can also decide what job you want and look at the employment prospects.
So before you decide on what to focus on for your job prospects, consider the factors above to help you decide.
Most Common Employers
Due to the fact that a Masters in Psychology can open different career doors for students, there are also many employers that are seeking this type of qualification from students.
Some of the most common employers where you can work and get jobs with a Masters in Psychology are:
- The public sector so local and national governments
- Commercial and industrial companies
- Financial and marketing organizations
- Media companies
- The police force
- Social services
During their Master’s Degree, psychology graduate students should also focus on developing the many skills which are demanded in the labor market. It is not enough to just learn the theory and practice of psychology concepts, employers also want a few soft and analytical skills in potential candidates’ resumes.
You can build such skills while you are completing your degree as they go hand in hand with the Masters Degree in Psychology curriculum.
However, in order to be employable you should have these skills together with your graduate degree in psychology:
- Knowing how to navigate statistics and data
- Analytical research
- Team work ability
- Problem solving skills
- Familiarity with information technology
- Communication skills (written and verbal)
These skills all coincide with the jobs that you will have with your degree. In any career path that you choose with the psychology degree you will most likely have to handle statistics, analyze data, solve problems, and use technology.
Most projects are done in groups of researchers for example, so you will need to know how to best navigate the team work environment. And you will have to present your work both verbally and in writing in the form of reports and memos.
Because of this, if you have already graduated with a Master’s Degree in Psychology and do not yet possess these skills, the best course of action would be to take extra courses and learn them.
What Can I Do With a Masters Degree In Psychology?
There are various Masters in Psychology job positions that students can take after their graduation. Below we will mention a few of them and provide a brief description about what each job encompasses.
- Clinical Psychologist. Diagnose, assess, and treat people with various mental or emotional problems. These psychologists help their patients in improving their wellbeing and becoming healthier individuals. Most of them hold doctoral degrees, but there are also jobs available for those with a master’s degree.
- Social Worker. Have the possibility of diagnosing and treating mental illnesses or even continue employment in social welfare agencies.
- School Psychologist. Work in assessing, diagnosing, and treating children who are having problems related to their behavior, emotions, or academics. They work with parents and teachers to help kids become healthier and achieve their goals.
- Counselor. Have similar duties to clinical psychologists; however, they do not necessarily prescribe medication. Through discussion and reflection, they try to help people in overcoming their struggles with mental health problems.
- Forensic Psychologist. Involved in criminal investigation procedures and law. They work in assessing and treating criminal behavior by interacting with criminal offenders and prisoners, as well as victims and anyone involved in the legal court system.
- Human Factors Psychologist. Professionals who help in various stages of product and environmental designs. They help in human error, workplace safety, human-computer interaction, ergonomics, and explore the ways humans interact with the daily products they have to use.
- Industrial Organizational Psychologist. Psychologists who use their degree to create safer workplaces, training courses, conducting tests, hiring employees, and researching different aspects of the job environment.
- Occupational Psychologist. Assist organizations in improving their employees’ performance and job satisfaction. They work with organizational cultures and change as well as work in team and individual settings.
- Health psychologist. Work with people who have been diagnosed with various illnesses. They assist them in improving their psychological response to and management of their diseases.
- Mental health worker. Involved with people who are experiencing common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks to help them in improving and managing their situation. They help by providing therapy and cognitive interventions towards recovery.
- Sports and Exercise Psychologist. Work and assist people who are involved in sports and exercise, whether they are team or individual based. These psychologists are mostly concerned with the emotional wellbeing of the sports players and help them in improving it.
- Teaching Psychologist. Spread knowledge in either colleges or universities. Teaching positions are highly competitive, but those with Masters Degrees in Psychology can also work in career counseling, academic advising, and recruitment for students in higher education.
Other job positions
Besides the job positions that were described above, there are also a ton of other things that people who have a Masters in Psychology can become involved in.
Below, we will mention some job positions in various public and private sectors.
Local, State, and Federal Government
- Rehabilitation counselor
- Social service manager
- Parole officer
- Vocational rehabilitation provider
- Psychosocial specialist
- Self-reliance specialist
- Developmental specialist
- Drug and alcohol specialist
- Employment counselor
- Human resources analyst
- Psychology program manager
Jobs in Healthcare and Mental Health Services
- Behavioral counselor
- Health project coordinator
- Psychiatric technician
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Group home coordinator
- Family services worker
- Child protection worker
- Child care supervisor
Jobs in Business, Sales, Marketing and Advertising
- Human resources manager
- Advertising agent
- Market researcher
- Employee trainer
- Public relations representative
- Project manager
- Sales representative
- Store manager
Students who have obtained their Master’s Degree in Psychology and still have not yet been able to find a suitable job position, also have the option of continuing their education.
Even though some of the specializations of the Master’s Degree are considered terminal, meaning that there is no need to get an additional degree or extra training, many students want to become more specialized and knowledgeable in their fields.
The next step in the profession of Psychology is getting a PhD in Psychology in any of the areas of specialization that universities offer. Doctoral Degrees in this field are highly competitive and only a handful of total applicants are actually accepted.
These degrees combine both the practical aspect of psychology with further research and students are expected to complete a major research project in their field of interest.
PhDs in Psychology are also quite long and take a few years to complete, so before you decide to continue your education and training in psychology, consider the benefits and costs to enrolling in a doctoral program.