Psychology ranks among the most popular majors for undergraduates but remains misunderstood by many. Most associate a psychology degree with a clinical psychologist who earned a doctorate and works in private practice. But students don’t have to become doctors to launch a psychology career.
With a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, professionals can build psychology careers as mental health counselors, market research analysts, social workers, training and development specialists, and correctional psychologists in the criminal justice system.
The American Psychology Association (APA) refers to the BS in Psychology as a degree that “qualifies a person for a large number of jobs, but the degree does not uniquely qualify a person for any particular job.” Put it another way, the skills learned in an undergraduate program are transferable to many different psychology careers.
What Students Learn in an Undergraduate Psychology Program
In a bachelor’s degree program, psychology students learn to help individuals, families, and groups overcome mental health challenges. This can range from grief over the loss of a loved one to life-altering experiences such as divorce, unemployment, or substance abuse and behavioral issues that keep people from living fulfilling lives.
Psychologists accomplish their work through a variety of approaches. But all involve the foundational skills learned in an undergraduate psychology program. These skills include an understanding of emotions, behaviors, motivations, social cognition, and how the brain works within mindfulness.
Wherever they work, psychologists strive to improve patient outcomes. To accomplish this goal, psychology majors hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills and develop expertise in applying psychology to various situations.
Psychology Careers with a Bachelor’s Degree
Because of their diverse skill set, graduates from a psychology program are in high demand in many different fields. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 6 percent increase in psychologists by 2030, with many of them entering into the following popular fields. The BLS job projection numbers are for 2021 through 2031, while the salaries are the national average as reported by BLS.
Mental Health Counselor
People seek help from a mental health counselor for many different conditions. They include the emotional aftermath of a traumatic life event, including death, divorce, job loss, a wrong medical diagnosis, or separation from family and loved ones. Patients may experience anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation. Mental health counselors also work with people experiencing substance abuse or behavioral disorders.
Mental health counselors work with individuals, couples, and families. They must obtain a license to practice as a mental health counselor in addition to earning their bachelor’s degree. The BLS projects a 22 percent gain in mental health counselor jobs.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts study the conditions of a specific market, determining the potential for sales of a product or service. Their expertise is critical in helping companies decide what products consumers want. They also identify what market demographic is most likely to buy a product or service and what they are willing to pay. Their insight helps companies form better business strategies and marketing campaigns.
Market research analysts typically have the skills needed to work with data, combining this with expertise in human behavior. Some earn professional certification to enhance their standing in the profession further. The BLS projects a 19 percent gain in marketing research analyst jobs.
Social workers help identify individuals, families, and communities in need of help. After assessing a situation, social workers develop plans to help people overcome their challenges and connect them with the resources they need. They advocate for better community resources for underserved and economically distressed communities, including better access to childcare, healthcare, and food stamps.
A bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for direct assistance social work jobs, including caseworker and mental health assistant. The BLS projects a 9 percent increase in social workers.
Training and Development Specialists
Training and development specialists work in a human resources department, creating and implementing training programs that help employees improve their skills. They determine the training needs at a company by speaking with executives, managers, and employees, matching the needs of the company with the skills of the workforce. They may create their training manuals or review and assess those from outside sources, determining what works best for the company.
A training and development specialist pairs expertise in psychology with strong instructional skills. The BLS projects 8 percent growth in training and development specialists.
Correctional Treatment Specialists
A psychologist who works as a correctional treatment specialist focuses on providing mental healthcare services to inmates and those on probation, guiding them to the resources they need to improve their lives. They assess each case and determine the best course for rehabilitation. These plans include training and education to improve a probationer’s job skills. They also write and maintain case reports on the person’s history and offer insights into the likelihood a probationer will commit another crime. The BLS projects little to no growth in this field.
A Foundation for Advanced Education
A bachelor’s degree is the first step in the academic journey for students motivated to earn a degree in psychology. According to the APA, a quarter of BS in Psychology graduates move on to earn a higher-level degree. Earning a master’s degree can qualify individuals for psychology careers such as marriage and family therapists, school counselors and career advisors, sociologists, and survey researchers. A doctorate is required to practice as a clinical psychologist.
NMU Global Campus offers affordable online degree programs, including an online BS in Psychology. As the above list of jobs shows, it can prepare graduates for many different in-demand careers in many different settings. It’s an exceptional degree that truly allows graduates to work wherever their interests take them within the field of psychology.