If you enjoy observing and analyzing the behavior of others, you should consider a career in psychology. Your options depend on your specific interests within the field of psychology as well as the amount of time you are willing to spend in school. While you will find that you have more choices available when you have a master's or doctorate degree, there are still ways to work in psychology with a bachelor's degree. This overview of jobs will give you some idea of how far you can go with each level of education.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
If you want to help people overcome addictions or destructive behavior, becoming a counselor is one way to do so. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career sometimes only requires a high school diploma, though you must have a master's degree in order to counsel patients one-on-one. This could be an ideal job while you study psychology in college to get your bachelor's or master's degree, because it will give you some work experience before you graduate or become licensed. Salary varies depending on your level of education and experience, but the median pay is about $38,000.
This psychology job involves offering therapeutic care for people who are developmentally disabled or suffering from mental illness. If you choose this career path, you will likely work in a psychiatric hospital or mental health facility. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will need a post-secondary certificate, which you can usually get within two years or less at a community college. Therefore, this is another entry-level position that will allow you to start working in the psychology field before you get a bachelor's or master's degree. The median pay is almost $29,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that you can become a social worker once you get a bachelor's degree in psychology. However, you will likely be limited to direct-service positions, in which you help people work through challenges in life that might include divorce, poverty and unemployment. Job duties include helping people adjust to life changes and assisting them in getting any support they need, such as financial help from the government or protection from crises. If you get a master's degree in psychology, you can become a clinical social worker, which would allow you to diagnose patients and provide therapy. For social workers of all kinds, the median salary is about $42,000.
School and Career Counselor
If you are passionate about helping people decide what they want to do in life, becoming a school and career counselor could be good for you. As a school counselor, you would be working with children and adolescents struggling with problems at school or at home. If you were to become a career counselor, you could expect to work at a college or adult career center. Either way, the Bureau of Labor Statisticssays that you need at least a master's degree, and you can expect to make around $53,000 per year.
If you want a unique position and are willing to obtain your doctorate, you can become a forensic psychologist. This involves evaluating criminals to make sure they are fit to stand trial, after which you might also testify in the courtroom. According to Business Insider, this is one of the highest paying psychology careers, as the median salary is about $85,000.