It is very much true that in order to work as a professional psychologist a master's or a doctorate is essential. However, a bachelor’s degree in psychology can also be of great value for several career paths. These jobs may not be directly related to psychology but the skills that you have acquired from the bachelor’s degree can definitely be applied to various promising fields.
As part of your bachelor’s degree, you learn essential skills such as the ability to evaluate, keep organised records, be empathetic and compassionate, and ultimately work towards the interests of your client. All these skills can be effectively used in many occupations and disciplines. Interestingly there are many who do not pursue a post-graduate degree in psychology but end up working in a closely related field. However, psychology undergraduates are also some of the most successful professionals out there.
Here are the Top 10 common career paths for those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology:
1. Marketing/Advertising: Careers that pertain to advertising, marketing, or public relations often involve developing persuasive advertisements and narrowing down the target audience for your product. The art of persuasion is a major topic in psychology which is why it could be an ideal career choice for people who are looking to pick up a job right after their undergraduate degree.
The best way to enter this field is to look for opportunities that can give you practical experience. Internships are a great way to find companies that are looking for multi-talented people.
2. Sales Representative: It is not surprising that many psychology undergrads find successful careers in sales. As a psychology student, you learn and master interpersonal communication skills that make you a uniquely qualified choice for any company. Employers appreciate the fact that you have the ability to speak well and communicate effectively. A good understanding of human behaviour definitely puts you on top of sales representatives. To pursue this field it is better to gain more training towards understanding people, perhaps doing courses on social psychology personality and communication will be a wise choice.
3. Human Resources: Professionals working in human resources are trusted with the task of hiring new people, managing them, and taking care of the termination process, just to name of few. Although there are programs that offer degrees in human resources, many students opt for psychology intending to pursue a successful career in HR. Concepts like a reward system and motivational factors that are taught to you in college will help you to contribute more effectively as an HR manager. In case you’re interested in entering the field of human resources, make sure to apply for internships and keep tabs on the recruitment requirements for HR managers
4. Career Counselor: If you are someone who can help people discover their potential and guide them through making an informed decision about their future, then career counseling can prove to be a fulfilling choice for you. As a career counselor, your job essentially involves helping people select a career path and assisting them in the process, whether it is switching fields or providing rehabilitation to those returning to the workforce. Not only is the job profile fulfilling for psychology graduates but also makes them uniquely qualified as the majority part of career discovery involves self-discovery as well.
5. Market Researcher: In case the statistics and scientific methodologies appealed to you during your undergraduate studies, then be prepared to use these skills as a market researcher. Those who work in the field of market research perform various functions including conducting interviews, collecting data, performing polls, and analyzing results among other technical tasks. Your bachelor’s degree will prepare you to work in this field by enhancing your statistical and methodological knowledge of the subject.
6. Child Care Worker: Having an undergraduate degree in psychology allows you to work directly in the field by becoming a care worker in a setting such as childcare. Not only is this a very pertinent and rewarding job, but it also allows you to have a direct impact in helping children grow in a safe environment. Common places to find work includes a childcare centre, preschool day-cares, after-school programs, and other childcare settings.
7. Lab/Research Assistant: Opting to be a laboratory assistant is a great way to make use of your bachelor’s degree in psychology. When it comes to laboratory assistants, they heavily rely on research and experimental psychology which are both subjects covered in general psychology undergraduate programs. Government agencies, private sector businesses, and universities are constantly on the lookout for a psychology lab assistant who can study human behaviour in a more nuanced manner. In this field even as an undergraduate, you will gain valuable research experience, so make sure to apply for internships at your university or elsewhere.
8. Social Worker/Service Specialist: Students with a degree can also find an enriching career by working in social services for governmental agencies or non-profits. If you have a passion for social work and believe in helping people in your community via counseling or otherwise, becoming a social worker or a social service specialist will be a brilliant career choice. As mentioned above, the skills that you acquire as a psychology student applies to this setting as well where you get to provide services directly to clients by understanding their needs and being the voice for the voiceless.
9. Teacher: If you already have a bachelor’s degree in psychology then you can enroll yourself in an accredited teaching program to obtain a valid teacher’s certificate in your country. Some graduates believe in opting for psychology merely for its elementary knowledge of how to behave with individuals, especially children. You can also work as an assistant teacher in classrooms that aid students with special needs. These positions do not require a master’s degree and can easily be acquired through some research and training.
10. Writer: Even as an undergraduate student in psychology you subject yourself to a great deal of writing. Your excellent communication skills and articulation can work in a writing-related career as well. With a psychology degree, you are qualified to work as a copywriter, content writer, technical writer, or maybe even a reporter, whatever motivates you.
Be prepared for your unique career choice
Opportunities may seem limited but there are many ways in which you can sharpen your skills and get the best out of your psychology. It will be beneficial if you take on courses that help you later on in the job market during your undergraduate years. Typically, employers are looking for valuable skills such as creativity, critical thinking, good communication, whether verbal or written, understanding of individual human behaviour, and knowledge of group behaviour.
Once you graduate, keep a lookout for employers who seek your skill set and approach them with a good resume and proposal. There are challenges in pursuing any profession and this way your bachelor’s degree in psychology will not go to waste!
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