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What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

November 16, 2018

The human brain is a complicated web of an incredible 86 billion neurons, according to recent research. The electric impulses between our neurons tell our muscles how to move, our brain how to process information, and our heart to keep beating. Scientists have puzzled over the functions of the brain for decades, and there’s still more to learn. Considering how complicated it is to understand bodily functions, it’s no wonder the reasoning behind behavior is just as complex.

Psychologists, whose job it is to better understand the human mind and resulting behaviors, are constantly studying the connection between the two. With a psychology degree, you can work in industries outside of the psychological field, such as business, healthcare, or administration, to name a few. Below you will find several careers that become a possibility once you have obtained your psychology degree.

Parole Officers

Parole officers aid parolees with integrating back into society by enforcing the terms of their parole and providing resources for further medical treatment. They also help keep parolees on track by helping motivate them to avoid behaviors or situations that could result in criminal activity. In some situations, when a parolee violates the terms of their parole, the parole officer would be required to arrest the parolee.

Job Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that the need for parole officers will continue to grow steadily, and more than 5,000 new officers will be added to the workforce by 2026. There are currently more than 90,000 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in the U.S.

Potential Salary: In 2017, entry level parole officers earned a median annual salary of $51,410, with the salary rising to nearly $55,000 for those employed by local government agencies.

Social Service Specialists

Social service specialists can be found caring and providing treatment for a variety of patients with needs in areas such as age-related ailments, mental health, substance abuse, and rehabilitation. They can be found working in a variety of settings, such as in the patient’s home, private clinics, and community centers, but they may only work with a specific set of patients. While working with patients, social service specialists will refer patients to community support or other local resource as well as respond to crisis situations.

Job Outlook: The field of social work will grow by 16 percent, more than twice the national average between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. This increase will add more than 100,000 jobs.

Potential Salary: In its 2017 survey, the BLS reported that community and social service specialists earned a median annual wage of $44,780.

Mental Health Counselors

Similar to social service specialists, mental health counselors have the ability to work with a variety of patients. In most cases, however, health counselors will typically work with a specific group of patients, such as those who need assistance with addiction, anxiety, grief, trauma, and child welfare. They can provide these patients with life-changing advice and guidance. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S., or around 44 million people, experience a mental illness in a given year. Mental health counselors require graduate training after receiving their bachelor’s degree.

Job Outlook: The BLS has projected that as more individuals seek mental health care, counseling positions related to mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral disorder treatment will grow by a robust 23 percent. This increase will add 60,000 jobs.

Potential Salary: The median annual wage of mental health counselors in May 2017 was $43,300 according to the BLS.

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Types of Psychologists

Below are three unique careers you can pursue with a psychology degree. All three require graduate training and a Ph.D. after receiving a bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology.

Community Psychologists

Unlike most other psychologists who focus on one individual, community psychologists study how individuals impact a community and vice versa. They help resolve problematic situations in a community through study and research, coming up with methods to make improvements to both individuals within a community and those around the individual.

Counseling Psychologists

Counseling psychologists focus on the emotional, social and health-related well-being of an individual across a life span. These psychologists help patients function better in their daily lives. The main role of a counseling psychologist is to treat patients by providing advice and guidance on how to deal with each patient’s illnesses. Interventions can either be short- or long-term and are often goal-oriented with a focus on prevention, development, and adjustment.

Criminal Psychologists

Those who study the actions and thought-processes of criminals are known as criminal psychologists. They assess and evaluate patients to help law enforcement solve crimes, create criminal profiles, and provide expert testimony in court.

Job Outlook: The BLS projects the psychology field as a whole will add 23,000 jobs by 2026, with projected growth at twice the national average.

Potential Salary: Salaries differ by position within the field, but the BLS reported the median annual wage of a psychologist in 2017 was $77,030.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of learning, mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. These teachers develop individualized lesson plans depending on the needs and disabilities of their students. Most states require an advanced degree to be a special education teacher, though it varies by state.

Job Outlook: As school enrollments rise and disabilities are being identified at an earlier age, the BLS has projected there will be 33,000 more special education teachers added to the work force by 2026, and nearly 14,000 of those will likely be working in kindergarten or elementary schools.

Potential Salary: Salaries for special education teachers differ by state, but nationally, the median annual wage for a special education teacher in 2017 was nearly $59,000.

Importance of a Psychology Degree

Specialists, counselors, and teachers help take care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society that need our help the most. These roles, though sometimes difficult, can be some of the most rewarding careers. In addition to the ones discussed above, there are many jobs available to those with a psychology degree, even some incredibly unique psychology careers. An in-depth study of psychology gives you necessary critical-thinking skills, research methods, and an understanding of human behavior that is valuable in all fields, not just within psychology.

In 2015, 118,000 students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in psychology. Join the thousands of fellow students looking for a versatile degree with King University’s online psychology degree. King’s online degree program will prepare you for a professional career, whether in psychology or in another industry. Major coursework can be finished in as little as 16 months, and you can take advantage of King’s fully-online format, which lets you balance your education with your busy life.