The study of psychology involves discovering human behavior and mental abilities. Psychology pursues an understanding of how the brain operates and how that connects to actions, thoughts and feelings.
Many students who choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology are passionate about the science of psychology and desire a career in which they can apply the knowledge they obtain during their undergraduate program. But before enrolling at university, it is important to answer one question: What can I do with my psychology degree?
Depending on your area of interest, if you continue to study in graduate school there are many specializations you can focus on within the psychology field, including geropsychology, addiction counseling and adolescent psychology. Geropsychology focuses on assisting the elderly population in living healthy, independent lives. Addiction counselors help recovering addicts and those who struggle with substance abuse. Adolescent psychologists work with children and their development as they grow. Read on to find out what types of careers you can go into with a psychology degree.
There are numerous forms of counseling, including event counseling, performance counseling and professional counseling. In order to become a counselor, you must earn a bachelor’s and a graduate degree, complete field training and obtain your license. With a counseling degree, you can become a school, individual, career, addiction or family counselor.
No matter what area you choose to specialize in, counselors are passionate about helping others overcome their physical, mental and emotional challenges. A counselor with a bachelor and graduate degree in psychology can expect to have some of the following day-to-day responsibilities:
- Diagnosing mental disorders
- Listening to and evaluating patients
- Creating treatment plans and tracking patients’ progress
- Educating others on coping with trauma and stress
Pursuing a master’s in your specified interests can bring more opportunities and responsibilities to your career path. One of the opportunities includes running your own practice for counseling.
Social and Community Service Manager
You can also become a social and community service manager with a psychology degree. Social and community service managers support the public’s well-being by supervising programs and organizations. As a social and community service manager, you may:
- Identify programs and services needed in the community
- Direct workers and handle other administrative tasks, such as recruiting and training new workers
- Analyze the effects of social programs and suggest improvements
- Increase awareness surrounding programs and secure funding
You may work for a variety of organizations, some of which may focus on a specific demographic or community problem. Your duties will differ depending on the organization.
For large organizations, you may run a single program and report to your administrators or implement other programs. In a small organization, you would participate in public speaking events, implement and oversee programs, manage the budget and secure funding.
As a social and community service manager, you may work for nonprofit organizations, social service companies, government agencies, hospitals or shelters.
To become a social and community service manager, you will need a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field, such as psychology. Getting work experience — such as by applying for jobs as a community service manager — can help you as well. Eventually, with your bachelor’s and experience in the field, you can work as a social worker, substance abuse counselor or a related career.1
Social and Human Service Assistant
Another career path is to become a social and human service assistant with a psychology degree. As a social and human service assistant, you provide client services to people in psychology, social work, rehabilitation and other fields. Other duties might also include:
- Assist social workers
- Determine what a client needs and assist with creating a treatment plan
- Assist clients with their daily activities and with completing paperwork
- Ensure clients receive the services they need
- Ensure children’s homes are safe
- Assist the elderly and help them remain independent
- Increase work accessibility for people with disabilities
- Locate rehabilitation programs
- Help homeless individuals, former inmates and veterans locate housing and similar programs
As a social and human services assistant, you may either travel to meet your clients or work in a clinic, hospital, shelter or group home.
Social and human services assistants usually need to graduate high school to work in their field, but some employers prefer to hire individuals with an associate’s degree or certificate in gerontology, human services or a related field. Getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social science or a related field is also helpful and will enable you to pursue higher-level work.2
Get a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Psychology
You can increase your knowledge in the field of psychology with a master’s or doctoral degree. A master’s degree would increase your knowledge of psychology while teaching critical thinking, leadership and communication skills. You would also learn about:
- Human cognition and behavior
- Human development
- Social and cultural psychology
- Ethics in research and leadership
- Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed types of research studies
If you choose to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, you can specialize in a specific field, such as geropsychology, life coaching and health psychology, which can increase your knowledge of your specific field.
You can also pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, where you can specialize in areas such as performance psychology, education and technology. In these degree programs, you study human cognition and behavior as well as the application of research in different careers.
You can get started on your dream career in psychology by enrolling at Grand Canyon University. GCU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to offer the Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree. This program will prepare you for a wealth of careers and for further education in psychology. Click the Request Information button at the top of this page to learn more.
1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers in August 2022.
2U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Human Services Assistant in August 2022.
Approved by an Associate Professor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Sept. 2, 2022.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.