An Overview of Careers in Psychology

The discipline of psychology is exciting and multifaceted. At its most elementary, an undergraduate degree will equip anyone who plans to work in a career that involves personal interaction with others. An undergraduate degree provides many entry level career opportunities for the new graduate. Primary counseling positions in the addictions and mental health field, case management positions, human resource positions, research assistants- the possibilities are endless. Before getting too excited, however, keep in mind that starting salaries are generally around the mid to high 20’s in the northeast and lower in some parts of the country.

Police officers, social workers, nurses, etc. can benefit from double majoring or minoring in psychology. Anyone who wishes to gain better insight into themselves and others can benefit from studying psychology.

A master’s degree in the field is almost a given and, in terms of career advancement, a necessity. To become a licensed professional counselor (LPC), one must complete a master’s degree, plus some additional coursework, an internship, and also pass the exam for licensure. An LPC gives the individual the option of practicing either privately or corporately. Master’s level clinicians can serve as counselors, program directors and, in some cases, are eligible to teach.

A master’s degree is also an intermediate degree for post-graduate work toward a doctorate. Doctorate programs prepare individuals to be psychologists, counselor educators, professors, administrators, research directors, etc. Practice is available in a variety of subdisciplines such as social psychology, forensics, behavioral psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, etc… Keep in mind that many master’s programs only offer a terminal degree, which means that the degree cannot be applied toward the doctorate. Some programs combine the master’s and the doctorate into an intense accelerated program of study. To help with tuition and to broaden an individual’s educational and occupational experience, limited graduate assistantships are available for those who qualify.

The field of psychology is intensive and rewarding. Studying psychology forever changes the way a person thinks and views others and him or herself. Regardless of the level of education that one ultimately attains, the individual well schooled in psychology can offer insight, healing and hope to w hurting world.