A Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology is surprisingly flexible and allows you to serve in a variety of capacities for employers ranging from private brands to the government or school system. When you learn about applied psychology, you learn how to integrate psychology practices and methods into everyday life. The “applied” part of the degree reveals a lot about the field; you’ll be able to help other specialists and patients apply methods and principles to their own disciplines and improve outcomes for everyone involved.
Applied psychologists can work in a wide range of settings, from hospitals to social service facilities, schools and rehabilitation centers. In many cases, you’ll work closely with a team of professional and provide insight and advice to help them successfully complete their own tasks and projects. Depending on your interests and background, your applied psychology master’s degree could help you secure a job in one of the following fields:
#1 Forensic Psychologist
If you have a talent for solving mysteries and unanswered questions drive you crazy, then using your Master’s in Applied Psychology to work with law enforcement is likely to appeal to you. You can spot people working in this profession in books, movies and on television; dramatic portrayals showcase what these investigators do in a dynamic (and sometimes unrealistic) way.
If you are interested in law enforcement or the justice system, then working as a forensic psychologist could be the right path for you. Some common duties for someone in this role include:
- Working with victims to evaluate the extent of their emotional injures or to create compelling victim statements
- Evaluate defendants for the court and provide your results
- Create counseling programs for incarcerated individuals to prepare them to live independently and to make healthier choices when they are released.
- Provide general counseling support for victims, law officials, defendants and other parties
As of 2016, clinical psychologists, including forensic psychologists, had a median salary of $75,230, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
#2 Clinical Psychologist
One of the most popular career choices for those with a degree in applied psychology, you could choose to offer your services as a clinical psychologist. You could work in a healthcare setting, open your own office or business or work for a clinic, group home or business. In this role, you would work one on one with clients and help them identify and correct the behavior that is impacting their lives in negative ways.
You could also teach others, work with a variety of professionals to reach a conclusive diagnosis and plan of action for a specific individual or even counsel couples and families in this role. Common duties include:
- Meeting with patients regularly and providing support and training
- Evaluating aptitude and intelligence with a variety tests and tools
- Calculating test results and diagnosing some conditions
- Working with specific populations, demographics or age groups. Some clinical psychologists work strictly with kids, while others focused on senior adults.
- Designing treatment plans to help patients and clients meet specific goals
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for clinical psychologists in 2016 was $75,230 per year
3. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Use your Master’s in Applied Psychology to become a part of the business world; you’ll be able to apply for jobs at big companies to work as an in-house industrial-organizational psychologist. In this role, you’d work with the human resources department and the management team to support employees and come up with strategies designed to improve morale and loyalty.
The cost of replacing employees continues to rise; as this happens, employers are increasingly interested in retaining key talent and promoting a healthy, safe and positive workplace. An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist can make the office a better place to work for all. In this role, you would:
- Assess current morale and create strategies to improve employee satisfaction
- Work on ways to increase employee productivity and efficiency
- Work with management to identify and improve employee communication or behavioral issues
- Improve workplace communication and interaction between all levels and teams
- Create events and initiatives designed to improve workplace culture and communication
The median salary for an industrial organizational psychology is $184,380 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4. Social Services Psychologist
With a degree in Applied Psychology, you can work in for a variety of government agencies in the field of social services. In this role, you would provide insight and advice in a variety of situations. While social workers often investigate situations involving children, they can also work with at-risk teens, developmentally disabled adults and even seniors to ensure they are receiving proper care.
In this role, you would have a variety of responsibilities and serve with a team of social workers and other professionals to improve the lives of children and adults in your community, including:
- Identifying individuals and populations in need of assistance
- Assess needs for individual clients and evaluate their strengths, support networks and current situations
- Help existing clients cope with life changes or changes in circumstances
- Deal with children, teens and adults in crisis and create strategies designed to help them cope
- Provide therapy or support for clients and families
- Document your findings for individual cases or the court.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a counselor working in social services has a median salary of $43,020 as of 2016 and this specialty is seeing rapid growth.
#5 Substance Abuse Counselor
Use your Master’s in Applied Psychology to help those struggling with addiction and additive behaviors. This rapidly growing field has a constant and ongoing need for additional therapists. You have the chance to change lives by helping those in the throes of addiction break free. You could work in a clinical setting, in group sessions or one on one to help them get past the issues that are causing their harmful behavior. Some common duties of a substance abuse counselor include:
- Working with at risk teens and young adults
- Increasing awareness of the dangers of addiction and drugs
- Running group sessions designed to help individuals struggling with addiction recover
- Create alternate strategies for coping with problems for individuals who are struggling with addictive behaviors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is seeing much faster than average growth and has a median salary of $41,070 per year.
- Applied Psychologist Careers (2017, August 22) Retrieved from http://psychology.camden.rutgers.edu/undergraduate/preparation/careers-in-applied-psychology/
- Forensic Psychologist (2017, August 22) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-1
- Clinical Psychologist. (2017, August 22) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Industrial Psychologist. (2017, August 22) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/OES/current/oes193032.htm
- Social Worker (2017, August. 22). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-5
- Addiction or Rehabilitation Counselor. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm