The mind is a fascinating place, capable of feats that we would be impressed to attribute even to a computer. Those who study the brain and its workings often discover facts that are outlandish, improbable or even downright impossible – yet they are not. For instance, you probably didn’t know:
- Your mind rewrites boring speeches in order to make them more interesting
- Romantic love and obsession are biochemically indistinguishable in the brain
- 90 percent of people text things that they would never say in person
- Your brain treats rejection like physical pain
- When someone says they have to ask a question, you automatically feel guilty and start to think of all the bad things you’ve recently done
Pretty cool, right? (Even if the behaviors themselves aren’t necessarily that cool.) If you think facts like these are fascinating and would like to learn more about the neurological and biochemical underpinning of the ways we think, a degree in psychology might be just the one for you.
Which leads to the question: What exactly can you do with a degree in psychology? What are some of the most common duties and responsibilities of those who are in a bachelor’s degree in this field? For those who like the cold hard facts, let’s also take a look at the salary and job outlook of several of the most common psychology professions, as well as the courses and curriculum needed to get there.
Get ready to get your psych on.
Duties and Responsibilities
Students who graduate with a degree in psychology are suited to a wide number of careers. Before we go any further, however, a caveat: Note that you will not be able to work one-on-one with patients if you do not possess a master’s degree. Bachelor’s degree holders can still do much in the field of psychology and related areas but getting a license to work with patients requires that you have earned a graduate degree. Also note that getting the bachelor’s degree is the first step towards the master’s degree, so if your eventual goal is to work with patients, keep reading.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss some of the most common duties and responsibilities. Roles vary widely, of course, but some of the most common duties and responsibilities include:
- Leading individual counseling sessions under the supervision of a trained, licensed psychologist or therapist
- Researching behavior patterns, development, mental disease and other subjects in a lab under the supervision of a professor or psychologist
- Working with parents or educators to foster and learning and the development of children
- Observing behavioral trends in society
- Assisting therapists or social workers in the management of case files or clients
It is important to know, however, that not all psychology majors will go on to work in that field. Other roles exist, especially in businesses. In that case, responsibilities might include:
- Managing human resources responsibilities
- Leading group projects or trainings
- Screening job applicants and making hiring recommendations
- Creating marketing, advertising or journalistic content for a company
- Analyzing consumer trends and conducting market research
Now let’s take a look at something more specific jobs, along with their average salaries and rates of growth.
Salary and Job Outlook
Generally speaking, those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology have a pretty good job outlook. The following job titles are representative of the types of roles you might take on with a psychology degree and several years of experience, as well as the compensation and outlook you may be able to attain.
Social workers help to improve the lives of people in their communities. They may work with children, adults or seniors, helping them find housing, food, employment or other basic services. With a bachelor’s degree, you can do a great deal of good in this field, even though you cannot work one-on-one with clients the way those with a master’s degree can.
- $47,980 per year (median salary)
- $23.07 per hour
- Job growth: 16 percent
Health educators promote wellness within the community. While many roles often focus on physical health, there is a great deal of opportunity for those who want to work in mental health specialties instead.
- $45,360 per year (median salary)
- $21.81 per hour
- Job growth: 16 percent
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts do not work in the field of psychology at all. Rather, their focus is on identifying current market trends and consumer behaviors to help companies and organizations better target their products, services or charity efforts. To do this, they rely heavily on their psychology training, which helps them make accurate predictions and models based on their knowledge of the human brain.
- $63,230 per year (median salary)
- $30.40 per hour
- Job growth: 23 percent
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
The role of a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist is to help people with offenses rehabilitate their lives and reenter society. You might work with ex-convicts on probation, juvenile offenders or those who are still in prison.
- $51,410 per year (median salary)
- $24.71 per hour
- Job growth: 6 percent
Psychiatric Aides and Technicians
Psychiatric aides and technicians work with the mentally challenged to help them reach the highest quality of life despite their disability. They frequently work in nursing homes or psychiatric units, helping dispense medication, facilitate social time or monitor patient condition.
- $29,330 per year (median salary)
- $14.10 per hour
- Job growth: 6 percent
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work with young children to help them learn the basics of various subjects and socialization. While you must earn a teaching certificate in order to fulfill this role, you can work as a teacher’s aide beforehand, which may be a fulfilling career in itself. Plus, you do not need a certificate to become a nursery school teacher with a psych degree, although your average salary will likely be lower than what we list here.
- $56,900 per year (median salary)
- $27.40 per hour
- Job growth: 6 percent
Psychology is an extremely writing-heavy degree, so many psychology majors go on to have careers as writers. You might, for instance, become a copywriter or technical writer, creating content for others to help them purvey products and services.
- $70,930 per year (median salary)
- $34.10 per hour
- Job growth: 11 percent
Courses and Curriculum
The psychology program on which you embark will help determine the quality of your later career, so choose carefully. You’re looking for a program that develops great communication skills, a thorough understand of the field of psychology and your innate human compassion. It should also emphasize judicious use of cutting-edge and classic literature, as well as the kind of thorough research you will need to succeed in the field later on.
A good program should include areas of study such as:
- Personality and psychopathology
- Child and adolescent development
- The relationship between the nervous system and behavior
- Societal and cultural influence on human interaction
- The relationship between psychology and the law
You may also wish to add an internship to your curriculum. Working in a human services agency, school setting or research university, can help you gain valuable hands-on experience and better prepare for a job in the real world.
Possible Psychology Concentrations
Wondering what you might want to focus on in school? Here are a few ideas:
Human Development, Education and Health
If you want to help others as your main career focus, a Human Development, Education and Health concentration is the ticket. The courses focus on child development, adolescent development, educational psychology, and drugs and behavior, setting you up for a career spent assisting others in reaching mental health and fulfillment.
Ready to apply your knowledge of psych principles to business? The Organizational Studies focuses on the human personality, group dynamics and personal/group motivation. You can use your knowledge to build stronger relationships between employees, making workplace interactions more positive, and boosting leadership and productivity.
Other concentrations include:
- Developmental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- School Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Sports Psychology
The first two concentrations are available through the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program at Post University. Would you like to learn more about those concentrations or the degree as a whole? We invite you to get in touch with us here at Post by calling or emailing today. It’s time to get that career started, so let us help.