Careers & Salaries for Psychology Majors

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Several careers are open to a person who has a degree in psychology, though many of them might require extra training beyond the university. Specific salary information for a psychology major is difficult to narrow because of the various careers for which a psychology student qualifies. In most fields, a psychology major will command a salary commensurate with their relevant experience and geographic location. Advanced degrees and career paths in certain employment sectors often lead to higher salaries for psychology majors.

Psychiatry

  • Psychology majors with an inclination toward clinical practice can enroll in medical school to make it happen. Psychiatrists often work with other physicians in private practice, but some work in hospitals. Some even work in local government. Psychiatrists are the primary caregivers for patients with mental health issues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work in outpatient mental health facilities earn the highest average salary among their peers, making just over $190,000 annually. On the lower end, psychiatrists working in medical practices earn just under $154,650 per year, the bureau reports.

Education and Training

  • Teaching- or training-minded psychology majors can work as educators in a variety of academic and vocational training settings. Pursuing a graduate degree at either the master's or doctoral level qualifies psychology majors to prepare others for a career. Industrial psychologists, for instance, work to pair a person's interests with career fields, according to College Board. They also help prepare newly hired employees for the demands of their jobs. Depending upon their education and experience, industrial psychologists earn between $39,000 and $108,090 annually, according to Pay Scale, which compiles worldwide employee salary data. In an academic setting, psychology majors with doctoral degrees train students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. These students might be psychology majors, but often they are fulfilling a requirement for another program of study. Pay Scale shows that psychologists in academia earn between $45,000 and $82,500 annually.

Counselor

  • With the proper training and licensure, psychology majors can find jobs as school counselors or career counselors. In middle schools and high schools, guidance counselors help students focus on academic, personal, social and career goals, according to the American School Counselor Association. Guidance counselors help students cope with tough issues such as bullying and planning for college. Career counselors focus their efforts on preparing students for vocational success. By helping students choose classes and internship opportunities that align with their skills, career counselors encourage continued education and training. Counselors typically earn between $34,000 and $50,000 annually, according to Pay Scale.

Social Worker

  • Though social workers often hold bachelor's degrees in their field, psychology majors can enter the field by earning a graduate degree in social work. Many of the aims of social work overlap with core principles taught to psychology majors. Social workers help people cope with tense familial or health issues and, at times, facilitate communication in tense situations. Some social workers put their psychology background to work by forming a psychotherapy practice. In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that social workers earn between $31,000 and $56,000 annually.

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