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Top 4 Careers in Psychology

By February 25, 2020Biscayne College
Discover the different careers in psychology.

Are you looking for a degree that teaches you things you can actually apply in your day-to-day life?

Employers value students who know the human mind and understand why people behave as they do. These are a few of the industries that have hired graduates of psychology at St. Thomas University: 

  • Business
  • Law
  • Human resources
  • Education
  • Market research
  • Sales
  • Government agencies such as the FBI
  • Non-profits

That said, in the United States, the difference between a psychiatrist’s median salary and that of a probation officer was about $150,000 in 2019. If you are looking for a guide that will help you navigate this quarter-million-dollar difference, you are in the right place.

We’ll give you a comprehensive answer to the question: “what careers can a psychology degree provide me with?”

Career Option 1: Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Psychologist is a rewarding career path.

Clinical psychologists delve into resolving emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. They work with the patient to diagnose and treat these conditions. This is the psychologist that probably comes most easily to mind, and is also the most common psychological specialty.

The personalities of these health professionals are actually more introverted than extroverted, but the nature of the job is to actively listen to people talk about their triumphs and problems while offering wise counsel—as you may have guessed, being a people-person is strongly encouraged. Clinical psychologists are also often called therapists.In most states, clinical psychologists are required to have a doctorate degree in psychology. Experience can represent a 100% increase in salary, with clinicians averaging about $54,000 with five years of experience compared to $100,000 with 12 years of experience. This is probably due to a tendency in the field for long-term client relationships to form.

Professionals fulfilling this career in psychology may work from:

  • Hospitals
  • Private practices
  • Outpatient offices
  • Government agencies

Career Option #2: Psychiatrist

A psychiatry profession requires a medical degree.

Of all the careers in psychology, psychiatry is the most medical. Psychiatrists are different from psychologists in that they are legally allowed to prescribe medicine. 

The issues they deal with tend to be different as well. Psychiatrists solve problems that are considered too medical for the scope of behavioral and conversational strategies. In other words, psychiatrists use a combination of medication and behavioral therapy to treat serious mental health issues like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

This psychology profession requires a medical degree and a two-year residency. Education costs can be steep, as with any formal medical profession. Psychiatry is the best paid psychology job, however, in the industry of psychology. Experienced psychiatrists with some kind of specialization can expect to earn upwards of $190,000.

Professionals fulfilling a career in psychiatry may work from:

  • Hospitals
  • Psychiatric clinics
  • Other mental health institutions

Career Option #3: Art Therapist

Art therapists work in schools, hospitals, and more.

Interested in a psychology career with less of an emphasis on diagnosing and healing and more of a holistic approach? If you are interested in working with children or artists, the art therapy track might be for you. 

Positive psychology is the somewhat recent view in the field of psychology that encourages practitioners to study thriving rather than disorders. A career as an art therapist, for example, can be geared toward encouraging creativity, humility, or bravery, rather than the treatment of a disorder like ADHD. 

St Thomas University offers positive psychology-based courses like Health Psychology, which examines the roles of personality-type, social support, and emotional styles as they relate to well-being—a term that was born out of positive psychology. 

This career has gained popularity in recent years with the rise of positive psychology

This career requires a master’s degree for most entry-level positions, but unlike clinical duty, that minimum is not legally enforced in most states. Entry-level art therapists can expect to earn a starting salary of around $30,000.

Professionals fulfilling this career in psychology may work from:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Community settings
  • Private practices

Career Option #4: Life Coach

Life coaches are entrepreneurial.

Life coaches are generally not qualified psychologists. That means that a background in psychology will immediately get your foot in the door to this extremely rewarding job market. Coaches score in the 95th percentile for job satisfaction. 

More and more corporations are bringing on coaches to unite the office and help the human resources department ignite a positive office culture. Think of life coaches as freelance motivators who are hired by top-level executives to promote productivity, sink employee turnover rate, and bring a fun, healthy attitude into the workplace.

Most life coaches must rely on active listening and simple good energy to get the job done, but the trained psychologist can implement tools that will bring faster and longer-lasting benefits. 

This job is very entrepreneurial. Salaries vary dramatically. 

  • Top-level life coaches begin earning at $80/hour, or about $167,000/year
  • Mid-level coaches begin earning around $22/hour or about $47,000/year
  • Entry-level coaches begin earning around $14/hour or about $29,000/year

Professionals fulfilling this career in psychology may work from:

  • California (by far the largest employer of life coaches)
  • Remotely 
  • Private practice

Get to Know Yourself and Others

At St. Thomas University, students don’t just become professionals. They become “Leaders for Life.” Take advantage of our two psychology laboratories and intimate class sizes to participate in a career-track that represents a versatile and profound background base of knowledge that will bring value to you in any industry you choose.

Michelle Tulande

Author Michelle Tulande

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