10 Career Ideas for Psychology Majors
The experience you gain from your psych degree equips you with highly sought-after skills in the workforce.
If you have declared a major in psychology, you’re in good company. Every year, more than 100,000 students in the U.S. earn a bachelor’s degree in this field. While many psychology majors enroll in a master’s, doctoral, or medical program in order to become licensed social workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists, there are plenty of jobs in a variety of fields that would also be an excellent fit for a new graduate. Here are 10 of our favorite suggestions.
1. UX Designer
A bachelor’s in psychology does not preclude you from pursuing a career in tech. In fact, the rapidly growing field of UX design requires a strong research background and the ability to translate human observations into actionable design insights. UX designers work with product designers to ensure that a product is developed with the user in mind. UX design is commonly associated with websites and apps, but it also applies to physical products like kitchen gadgets and other consumer goods. A UX designer’s job responsibilities include conducting research to determine market demand for a product or service, assisting with the design of the product, gathering user feedback during a testing stage, and repeating the process until the product is ready for launch.
2. Marketing or Social Media Assistant
A psychology curriculum prepares you to understand the psychographic profile of consumers, putting yourself in their shoes. This is why jobs in marketing, social media, and advertising are so popular with psychology graduates. Most companies will hire an in-house marketing team or contract with a marketing agency, so jobs as marketing and social media assistants are in high demand. Marketing assistants develop and execute a marketing plan to reach a target audience using channels like email, digital advertising, social media, and search engine marketing. Your psych major will have also equipped you with strong writing skills, which are essential in content creation, copywriting, and other key job duties related to marketing.
3. Human Resources Assistant/Associate
The study of psychology is, first and foremost, the study of people. As a result, working in HR is a potential way to draw upon your skills in understanding others. There are many different specializations in HR, such as benefits & compensation, recruiting, and training & development. Mediation can be a big part of human resources too, making psychology majors a natural fit for this role. Since most companies have HR personnel, you have a lot of flexibility in choosing what size company you want to work for and which specific industry.
4. Market Researcher
If research and statistics were your favorite part of your coursework, consider a career in market research. Unlike marketing assistants, who tend to be more involved in the planning and execution of a marketing strategy, market research analysts draw upon qualitative and quantitative data to understand market conditions and the competitive landscape for an industry or product. Market researchers can use surveys, interviews, focus groups, or observational techniques to draw conclusions about consumer opinion, especially in regard to products and services. As part of their job, market researchers usually draft a summary report based on their findings for their employer or client – those strong writing skills come in handy once again!
5. Sales representative
If you enjoy talking with other people or using the power of persuasion, then explore a career in sales. Sales representatives communicate individually or in small groups with potential customers who are interested in a company’s product or service. Day-to-day duties often involve giving demos, writing follow-up emails, or speaking with prospects over the phone or face-to-face. Understanding the customer journey and being able to say the right thing at the right time in order to close the sale is key for success.
This is an excellent first job if you think law school could be in your future, or if you enjoyed the research component of your coursework. Paralegals work in conjunction with lawyers to interview clients or witnesses, conduct legal research, and draft legal documents. Since interviewing and active listening are key components of a paralegal’s job, you can use the interpersonal skills you’ve developed in your psychology major to thrive here. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, paralegals must take the NALA exam to become certified.
7. Psychiatric Technician
While most types of human services occupations require an advanced degree, psychiatric technicians do not. Psychiatric technicians work under the direction of a licensed physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist to provide counseling or care to people suffering from mental illness or developmental disabilities. These employees usually work in residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, or nursing homes.
8. Parole officer
Students interested in the intersection of psychology and criminal justice can seek a career as a parole officer. Parole refers to when an inmate is released from prison before carrying out their full sentence. To help newly released inmates readjust to society, parole officers assist in finding employment, encouraging good behavior, and avoiding dangerous behavior like substance abuse. A parole officer is also present at parole hearings to report on the inmate’s progress. With an advanced degree, you might enter a similar field as a forensic psychologist or criminologist.
9. Investigative Journalist
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be an English or journalism major to become a journalist. In fact, a psychology major’s experience in writing, research, and interviewing set a great foundation for a career as a journalist or reporter. More specifically, investigative journalism, which goes in-depth on a specific topic and usually requires significant research and interviews, would be a great option to pursue. Investigative journalists are hired by newspapers, magazines, and online publications.
10. Research assistant
For students who were most interested in experimental psychology, there are still ways to get involved in this career path without graduate education. Research assistants usually work in academic environments, under the direction of a professor or head researcher, to perform tasks that contribute to the overall research project. For example, research assistants might conduct interviews, collect behavioral observations, maintain databases, and prepare documentation such as Institutional Review Board (IRB) applications. Like several of the other jobs on this list, working as a research assistant can strengthen an application for a graduate program or be a great job on its own.
The experience you gain from your psych degree – deep practice in written communication, analytics, and understanding of human emotions and thinking – equip you with highly sought-after skills in the workforce. You can further strengthen your resume by integrating internships and student leadership roles that position you as a well-rounded applicant who can apply your academic skills to real-world situations.