What Can You Do in The Medical Field With a Psychology Degree?

female psychology graduate working in medical field

Psychology is a fascinating area of study because it explores how the human mind works and how our thought processes influence our behavioral patterns. Research-oriented psychologists conduct studies or collect information from their clients’ behavior. A psychology degree opens the door to a wide range of career options. Entry-level opportunities are available for graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. For higher-level positions, you will need to earn a graduate psychology degree.

Psychiatric Technician

With a bachelor’s in psychology, you can launch a career as a psychiatric technician. This entry-level position boasts excellent employment prospects. Many psychiatric technicians are employed by hospitals and substance abuse treatment facilities.

These professionals provide care for patients with psychiatric conditions and developmental disabilities. On a typical day, a psychiatric technician might help patients participate in daily activities. The technician might also monitor patients’ behavior and deliver therapeutic care. Other daily tasks may include the following:

  • Listening to patients’ concerns and updating their records
  • Administering treatments under the supervision of a doctor
  • Assisting with patient admissions and discharges
  • Monitoring patients’ vital signs
  • Assisting patients with practical, therapeutic and recreational activities

Behavioral Specialist

Part of a behavioral specialist’s job is to work alongside people who struggle with disabilities or experience learning and behavioral impairments affecting certain social interactions. Specialists help their clients by providing support with treatment for their mental and physical health. They can work for schools or government-owned organizations.

To prepare, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science, studying the interactions and behavior of human beings. You can also enter a bachelor’s program in Behavioral Health Science (BHS) to learn about behavioral health techniques, research, history and practices. Some valuable competencies you will gain include:

  • Concepts of Behavioral Health: Students learn to analyze behavioral health concepts such as relevant history, current trends, theories, approaches, research and best practices.
  • Behavioral Health Skills: Using tools such as the DSM manual and ICD codes along with emerging brain technology, students come to understand their future scope of practice, including assessment, diagnosis and treatment for clients. Clinical and documentation skills, laws and rules are also covered.
  • Cultural Competency: Discovering the implications of culture, diversity and social justice in the behavioral health field helps students better understand the unique needs of their future clients.
  • Behavioral Health Information Technology: Students explore and use specialized technology for behavioral health, such as electronic medical and health records and record keeping. The importance of privacy, security and confidentiality with patient records is emphasized.
  • Professional Network: Students learn the importance of a professional network in the behavioral health field. This ensures that they will be active in their professional communities.

Coursework may involve psychology, statistics and human development. You have the option of earning this degree online to work around your schedule.

Case Manager

For individuals who prefer to work one-on-one with patients helping them accomplish their treatment goals, a career as a psychiatric or behavioral health case manager may be ideal. It is possible to become a psychiatric case manager with just a bachelor’s degree, although some facilities may require a master’s.

Case managers act as liaisons between patients and medical staff. They coordinate patient care services, monitor patients’ progress and connect patients to needed resources both inside and outside the facility. Other tasks may vary with the facility, but generally include the following:

  • Performing patient assessments to identify functional deficits and needs
  • Managing patient files
  • Developing patient treatment plans in coordination with the medical team and the patient
  • Developing discharge and aftercare plans to support patients who are preparing to leave the facility

In addition, some case managers perform home visits to check on patients’ wellness after they are discharged. Case managers provide a valuable service for mental health patients working toward their recovery. To succeed in this role, it is essential to have excellent problem-solving skills along with solid communication, interpersonal and critical-thinking skills.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors help individuals cope with and overcome all kinds of challenges in their lives. These can include grief and loss, divorce, relationship problems, job stress, anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.

A career as a mental health counselor can be incredibly rewarding and meaningful because of the opportunities to make positive contributions to individuals and the community.

Some typical job duties of a mental health counselor include the following:

  • Evaluating clients’ mental, behavioral and physical health and assessing their treatment readiness
  • Developing treatment goals and plans in collaboration with clients
  • Helping clients work toward their treatment goals by teaching coping skills and effective behavioral patterns
  • Working with clients’ family members as they learn how to support their loved ones

The requirements to practice as a mental health counselor vary from one state to the next. Individual facilities may also have hiring requirements beyond those of the state. It is sometimes possible to break into this field with just a bachelor’s degree. However, many positions require a master’s degree and clinical psychology experience.

Grand Canyon University offers a full suite of psychology degree options for both undergraduate and graduate students. Gain a thorough grounding in this field with the Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree, or develop advanced knowledge with the Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology program. Use the Request Info button at the top of your screen to learn more about our Christian learning community.

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.