One of the biggest considerations for anyone thinking about earning an advanced degree is, “What are my job prospects?” In many fields, an advanced degree is the best way to advance your career—so it’s important to know what career options will potentially be open to you before making the commitment to that next-level degree.
In the field of psychology, an advanced degree or graduate study is necessary to qualify for most positions—even first jobs. American Psychological Association policy and many state licensing laws decree that a doctorate is necessary to qualify for positions titled “psychologist.” And a doctorate in psychology is usually the standard for those looking to conduct independent research or practice as a psychologist.
But what about a master’s in psychology?
It's common for someone taking a psychology major to ask, "What can I do with a masters in psychology?" If you want to work in the field of psychology-but don't want to commit to a doctoral program-earning a terminal master's in psychology graduate school will still provide you with the opportunity to pursue a variety of psychology jobs. Schools, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and federal institutions are always looking for people with a background in clinical psychology, forensic psychology, counseling psychology, or simply general psychology to help with research, data collection and more. And of course you can still work in clinical practice, too. Whether you've already earned your master's or are considering going back to school to do so, here are a few careers in the psychology major that may interest you.
Careers in Mental Health Services
Although a doctorate graduate program might be necessary to qualify for a position as a psychologist, a master's degree program will still allow you to work one-on-one with individuals or groups in clinical practice-just under a different title, and often under the guidance and supervision of a licensed psychologist. These positions have titles such as therapist, behavioral counselor, or clinician. In these roles, you will still have the ability to work directly with the community, providing clinical mental health counseling and other mental health services such as conducting assessments, and behavior analysis, planning treatments, and helping individual patients get the help and support they need.
With a master's in psychology program, you can also seek out roles in social work service-type positions. If you enjoy working with children, you might pursue a career as a child care supervisor, child protection worker, or family services worker. You could also pursue a role as a social worker, substance abuse counselor, or coordinator or director of a behavioral health services program.
Careers in Education
A master’s in psychology focused on education will also help qualify you to work in a variety of positions in a school or educational setting:
School Psychologist: If you have dual interests in psychology and children, a master’s in School Psychology might be a good fit for you. School psychologists use their expertise in mental health, learning and behavior to help children succeed not only in academics, but also socially, emotionally, and from a behavioral standpoint. The majority of school psychologists work in traditional K-12 public school settings, but positions at private schools, universities, independent practice and even hospitals and state departments of education are available.1
Teacher or Instructor: Those who can do, can also teach! While you will need a doctorate to teach psychology at a university-level, with a master’s in psychology you may qualify for positions as a teacher or instructor of psychology at a high school or community college. Additionally, having a master’s in psychology may make you eligible for other kinds of positions in a collegiate setting, such as academic advisor, career counselor, or college recruiter.2
Careers in Government and Corporate Environments
The skills and knowledge you gain through a psychology master's program are in demand by business and industry professionals. Consulting and marketing research firms-as well as some large corporations-need employees with the ability to analyze customer behavior. You may be able to work in human resources, employee training, project management, and direct marketing and advertising efforts. Some psychology degree programs, such as a master's in Organizational Behavior, lend themselves well to the corporate environment. For example, past graduates of Alliant's M.A. in Organizational Behavior program have gone on to work in top-level positions in Human Resources, Operations, and Global Leadership departments in major corporations.
Alliant Master’s in Psychology Programs
Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology offers a variety of master’s degrees to match your interests and career goals:
- Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
- Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology
- Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling
- Master of Social Work
- Cherry, Kendra. “Educational Psychology: History and Perspectives.” Verywell Mind. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-educational-psychology-2795157.&nb…;
- “How to Become Psychology Teacher (with Steps and Tips).” Indeed Career Guide. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-psycho….