After completing a graduate program, it’s natural to ask, “What can I do with a masters in psychology?” The fact is that there are dozens of occupations awaiting master’s of psychology graduates, and many of these jobs offer excellent pay and advancement opportunities. The job outlook in this field is quite good, and some interesting positions are available for job seekers willing to look outside of their college discipline.
A student who is thinking about pursuing a master’s degree in psychology naturally wants to learn about the various careers that are available in this field. Individuals with a master’s degree in psychology have lots of avenues open to them. The main role of a psychologist is to help children, teenagers or adults cope with their mental or emotional issues. The experience and training of a person with this level of education can benefit people with a variety of backgrounds. There are also several fields of psychology that require workers to have a master’s degree. Here are a few examples of the occupations open to a person with a master’s degree in psychology.
A School Psychologist
A person with a master’s degree in psychology is qualified to work as a school psychologist. This is an individual who counsels school-aged children who are dealing with social, emotional or behavioral issues. A school psychologist is able to work in a public school or a private school environment. The person can choose to work with elementary school children through high school age students. Along with the student, a school psychologist works with the student’s parents/guardian and even a social worker in an effort to help the student with his or her challenges. A school psychologist is available to any student who is having trouble coping with school, home life or other types of issues.
A Forensic Psychologist
An individual with a master’s degree in psychology may want to look into the field of forensic psychology. A forensic psychologist works in the realm of criminal law. The person uses his or her training and knowledge to delve into the motivations behind a criminal’s actions. This can be helpful to attorneys in a criminal trial. Alternatively, a forensic psychologist may help to investigate a child abuse claim. The person would work with the child to try and figure out the extent of the abuse, whether it is emotional or physical. In addition, a forensic psychologist sometimes works with children who have witnessed crimes and must testify in court. These professionals are often seen working in the field of family law. This is an ideal field for a person with a master’s degree in psychology who has an interest in criminal law as well.
A Rehabilitation Counselor
A student with a master’s degree in psychology may be interested in the occupation of rehabilitation counselor. A person in this occupation helps people with emotional and/or physical disabilities to live on their own with little assistance. The person counsels a patient on how to accomplish life’s daily tasks and deal with the issues that come with having a job. A rehabilitation counselor is a partner in a person’s journey to overcome emotional and/or physical issues and live a life he or she can be proud of.
A Marriage and Family Therapist
A marriage and family therapist has a high level of responsibility for the well-being of people in private clinics, hospitals and mental health facilities. These professionals typically work full-time under their own supervision. A master’s degree in psychology or a related discipline is required to obtain an entry-level position in this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists earn a median annual salary of around $50,000. The highest earners in this profession take home more than $87,000 per year. Over the next decade, job opportunities in this field are projected to grow by 22 percent, which is much faster than the national average of 5 percent. To be a successful marriage and family therapist, it’s important to be caring, empathetic, detail-oriented and motivated to provide high-quality mental healthcare.
A Mental Health Counselor
The job outlook for mental health counselors is one of the highest in the overall economy. With job openings expected to increase by around 25 percent over the next decade, master’s degree holders will have an advantage seeking employment in this profession. While an advanced degree isn’t required, it’s likely to increase the chance of quickly finding a job and earning a significant amount of money above the national median, which is around $46,000 per year. Mental health counselors work in hospitals and clinics. They may be responsible for other professionals within their department. The job they perform involves providing therapy for a wide range of patients, including residents of mental healthcare facilities.
A Behavioral Counselor
Another rapidly growing occupation for master’s degree holders is the job of behavioral counselor. These professionals work with patients seeking mental health treatment for substance abuse, behavioral disorders and other related psychological issues. It’s one of the fastest-growing occupations in the economy, with job growth predicted to reach around 25 percent for the next 10 years. The main reason for such rapid job growth in this field is the need for addiction counseling across the country. While some jobs may be available for bachelor’s degree holders, most positions require at least a master’s degree. The median annual salary for this job is around $46,000 while the highest-earning 10 percent of professionals can make over $76,000 per year.
A Family Services Counselor
A family services counselor works with families experiencing hardships that can be caused by a wide range of issues. Families seeking this type of counseling may be dealing with sick family members, legal trouble, addiction, trauma, depression or a combination of problems. To become a family services counselor, it’s important to have a high level of empathy and caring and to understand the psychology involved in family issues. A master’s degree is required for entry-level employment in this field. The median worker takes home around $49,000 per year while the top 10 percent of earners take home over $87,000 per year. Over the next decade, family services counselor jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent, which is much faster than the national average.
A Psychiatric Technician
Master’s of psychology graduates have many job choices that are unavailable to the general public. One of those choices is the position of psychiatric technician, which is an assistant position for a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist in a hospital or private clinic setting. Psychiatric technicians are responsible for interacting with and helping to treat the patients of the psychologists who employ them. A post-graduate degree or certificate is usually required for this job, and the median annual salary is around $34,000. The highest earners in this field make close to $50,000 per year. With the demand for mental healthcare treatment on the rise across the country, job openings for psychiatric technicians are expected to increase by 12 percent over the next 10 years.
A Rehabilitation Specialist
Rehabilitation specialists are experts in the field of rehabilitation therapy. Their job is similar to that of rehabilitation counselors, but they have the additional responsibility of managing their clinics or departments, hiring new counselors, meeting with other managers to plan future operations and writing reports about their cases. Rehabilitation specialists can work in clinics, hospitals or academic settings. A master’s in psychology is typical for this profession, but some positions may require a specialist certificate or medical degree. The median annual salary for rehabilitation specialists is around $60,000 although additional education and training can increase that amount to around $80,000. Over the next decade, jobs in this field are expected to increase by 15 percent.
A Group Home Coordinator
Group home coordinators have a lot of responsibility. They are in charge of all of the counselors and mental health professionals who work in a group care facility, and they must treat patients in group therapy sessions while managing the daily operations of the facility. While some lower-stress jobs in this profession may require only a bachelor’s degree, group home coordinators typically must have at least a master’s degree in psychology. A specialist certificate may also be required for some positions. The median annual salary for these professionals is around $67,000. Group home coordinators at the top of the income distribution can earn more than $112,000 per year. As professional trends in the field of psychology continue to favor group therapy for many types of conditions, the need for group home coordinators will continue to grow. Over the next 10 years, jobs in this field are expected to increase by around 17 percent.
A Human Resources Manager
While human resources may not be the first profession that comes to mind for a master’s in psychology graduate, the benefits of this choice are undeniable. The median annual salary for human resources managers is $116,000, and the top-earning 10 percent of workers can take home more than $205,000 per year. To earn that kind of money, it’s usually necessary to hold a position of high stress and responsibility. A master’s degree in psychology can be a big advantage in the effort to find a high-paying job in this field. While some jobs in human resources management require only a bachelor’s degree, many more positions are available for master’s degree holders. With experience and training in the field of psychology, positions of greater responsibility become available. Job growth for human resources managers is expected to be slightly faster than average at 6 percent over the next decade.
A Postsecondary Teacher
Tenured university faculty positions are becoming harder to find, but postsecondary teaching jobs overall are expected to grow by 9 percent over the next 10 years. To become a university professor, it’s usually necessary to have a Ph.D. or the equivalent work experience. Universities do what they can to cut costs by limiting the number of tenured positions available at their schools. With the number of college students increasing every year, postsecondary teachers will be in high demand. A master’s degree is usually sufficient to teach courses at a community college. With a master’s degree in psychology, teaching jobs in a wide range of subjects can become available. Community colleges and junior colleges have a great need for instructors to teach online classes in many disciplines.
An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Industrial-organizational psychology is a rapidly growing field of renewed importance in the 21st century. Professionals in this field work with human resources departments in businesses and corporations to address the psychological needs of the organization’s employees. Growth in this field is expected to reach 12 percent for the next decade. The median salary for I/O psychologists is around $92,000 per year while the top 10 percent earn around $197,000 annually. It’s one of the highest-paying professions for college graduates with a master’s in psychology, so competition for these jobs can be tough.
A Youth Counselor
Youth counselors work with young people coping with emotional challenges, such as the loss of a family member, a traumatic event or a bout of depression. These professionals may work in a private clinic, a mental healthcare facility, a school or another location where young people spend time. The median annual salary for youth counselors is around $46,000 while the top 10 percent can earn more than $63,000 per year. Job growth for youth counselors is expected to reach 12 percent over the coming decade.
A Psychology Researcher
Research in psychology is typically performed by professional academics in universities, and a Ph.D. is usually required for these jobs. Many research positions are available for master’s degree holders with the requisite work experience, especially for postsecondary teachers at accredited colleges and universities. The median annual salary for researchers is around $54,000, and the top 10 percent of earners can make over $78,000 per year. Jobs in this field are expected to grow about as fast as average, which is 5 percent over the next decade.
A person who earns a master’s degree in psychology has several options of who they want to work with and in what capacity. This is appealing to many psychology students who like to have lots of options when it comes to a future career. Psychology is a multifaceted profession with many rewards for people who choose to pursue it as a career. The occupations on this list should help inform anyone who is asking themselves, “What can I do with a masters in psychology?”