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What Can I Do with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?

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The ability to understand other people's thoughts and behavior can be helpful in a number of careers. A bachelor's in psychology can prepare you for work in business, education, sales, and more.

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Bachelor of Science in Psychology

The bachelor's degree in psychology takes four years to finish. During the degree students learn how to interpret information and solve problems. About half of the degree requirements are in general education areas. Students gain a well-rounded intellectual background through courses in political science, math,  literature, biology, and other liberal arts topics.

Students also take classes in the psychology major. These courses discuss the major theories in psychology, as well as how psychology applies to different populations and situations. Students also take classes in psychology research, where they learn how to design and run an experiment. The following course titles are common requirements in the psychology degree:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Gender and ethnicity in psychology
  • Learning and memory
  • Motivational processes
  • Psychology research
  • The history of psychology

The American Psychological Association has more information about undergraduate degrees in psychology.

Careers for Graduates With a Bachelor's in Psychology

  • Business Management: Understanding how people think and act can be very helpful for a career in business management. Managers have to interact with a variety of people, including clients, employees, other managers, and service providers.
  • Education Administration: If you are interested in the overall learning experience, education administration could be a good career. At the K-12 level, principals and superintendents hire teachers, develop budgets, and set school policies. In colleges, administrators provide student services, manage faculty, oversee buildings, and plan for the future.
  • Human Resources: Human resources specialists create a safe and effective workplace for employees and managers. HR specialists recruit and interview job candidates, and they also respond to issues of harassment in the workplace. To do their jobs well, specialists must communicate clearly and enforce boundaries effectively. The Society of Human Resource Management has more information about a career in HR.
  • Marketing: Psychology plays an important role in marketing. Marketing specialists develop campaigns to make people interested in a particular product or service. To make a great marketing campaign, specialists consider what customers need, as well as the message that would be the most appealing.
  • Public Relations: With the growth of social media, public relations has become an even more important part of running a business. Public relations specialists create the public face of their organization. To do this, they write press releases, create social media campaigns, and expand the organization's brand.
  • Sales: To persuade customers, it's important to know how people make decisions and process information. Bachelor's graduates can enter sales positions in a variety of industries to put their understanding of psychology to work.
  • Social and Community Service Management: Social and community service managers direct programs that help the public. These programs may be run by public, private, or religious philanthropy groups. A bachelor's degree is the usual requirement for this job. Knowledge of psychology can help managers reach out to the community and design programs that will be most useful for the community's needs.
  • Substance Abuse Counseling: In some states, you can become a substance abuse counselor with a bachelor's degree. These counselors work in mental health centers, substance abuse centers, individual and family services, hospitals, and government agencies. An understanding of psychology is important to help people modify their behaviors and overcome addiction. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center has details about becoming a counselor.
  • Teaching: Teachers have to understand how people learn and how children develop skills. The psychology bachelor's degree can be good preparation for a teaching certificate program. The US Department of Education has more information about becoming a teacher.

Preparing for Graduate School

You can also use the psychology bachelor's degree to prepare for a number of graduate programs:

  • Business: A psychology background is great preparation for the Master of Business Administration. MBA programs train students in practical business skills.
  • Counseling: A master's degree in counseling will prepare you to become a mental health counselor. These counselors meet with people facing emotional, mental, or financial life challenges. They help people learn more productive behaviors and cope with their lives.
  • Education: A master's degree may be required to become a teacher in some states. The master's is also useful for beginning a career in education administration.
  • Healthcare Practitioner: When you add natural science classes to the psychology curriculum, the degree can be a good way to prepare for graduate school in health sciences. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medical school are some possible options.
  • Law School: Lawyers can certainly benefit from an understanding of human behavior and social science methods.
  • Psychology: A psychology master's or doctorate program can be a good move if you are interested in doing a large-scale research project. The PhD is also the requirement to become a clinical psychologist who diagnoses patients' mental health issues.
  • Social Work: A master's degree in social work is required to work as a clinical social worker. Clinical social workers are a lot like therapists or counselors. They meet with people, help them understand their problems, offer counseling, and direct them to helpful services.

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