Getting your master’s degree in psychology allows you to work for an employer or to become a self-employed clinical psychologist. While the majority of people who achieve a Masters in Psychology go on to become general clinical psychologists, there are opportunities in other fields as well.
Your opportunities could depend in some degree on where you choose to live; some fields, including developmental psychology, may require a doctorate in some locations, while other states or employers may accept a master’s degree.
Exploring a variety of possibilities can help you make the best decision for your future; a roundup of some of the top career paths for psychology majors include guidance counselor, human resources manager, forensic psychologist and more.
#1 Clinical Psychologist
The most popular career choice for people with a Master in Psychology, clinical psychologist helps a variety of patients with behavioral, emotional or psychological issues. A clinical psychologist can work in a variety of settings and works with clients to uncover the reasons behind their problems and to come up with strategies designed to help patients improve their lives.
In addition to working with patients on an ongoing basis, a clinical psychologist can evaluate and diagnose disorders, perform research and even teach in a clinical or classroom setting Common duties include:
- Administering a variety of behavioral evaluations, aptitude and intelligence or IQ tests
- Evaluating test results and diagnosing some conditions
- Creating a treatment plan that is uniquely tailored to the patient’s needs
- Working alone or with a team to improve patient lives and outcomes
Clinical psychologists can work with the general population or focus on specific demographics, including the elderly, those impacted with PTSD and children.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for clinical psychologists in 2016 was $75,230 per year
#2 Developmental Psychologist
A developmental psychologist works with children and teens who may have developmental issues, including Autism, ADHD and related concerns. Often, the family is referred to the developmental psychologist after a pediatrician has performed an initial screening and the child needs more advanced testing to determine what they are experiencing.
Common duties of developmental psychologists include
- Evaluating children and teens using diagnostic tools and tests to determine a diagnosis
- Creating treatment plans and suggestions designed to help improve life skills, communication and emotional health
- Works with a team to create recommendations for supportive therapy, including ABA, ST, PT OT and more, once a diagnosis has been reached
- Can provide insight into a child’s behavior and perform evaluations as required by insurance agencies and Medicaid
Some areas require developmental psychologists to attain a PhD before hire, but other employers will accept a Masters degree. This field is seeing growth because of the increased awareness of Autism and the increased incidence of this condition. While a family pediatrician may be the first person to screen a child, an Autism diagnosis comes from a psychologist or a team of psychologists with varying specialties.
According to the American Psychology Association, the median salary for a developmental psychologist depends on geography and can range from $61,000 to $91,000 per year.
#3 School Guidance Counselor
A guidance counselor works in a school setting to help kids and teens deal with social, communication, developmental and educational issues. They also play a key role in helping older teens choose a college or field of study and complete the college application process. A school guidance counselor may work in a public, private or vocational school and provide a variety of services, including:
- Helping students cope with the social and academic pressures they face in school and at home
- Provide objective career and schooling advice for students in the upper grades
- Create a welcome program for students who are transferring in or just arriving at school
- Work with the special needs education department in formal IEP meetings and communicate and interface with parents of special needs children.
According to the Unites States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the role of school guidance counselor is seeing average growth and has a median salary of $54,560 per year.
#4 Human Resources Management
An increased interest in the psychological side of staffing and hiring has led to opportunity for those with masters in psychology in the HR field. As employers are beginning to note the high cost of employee turnover, psychology is playing a key role in not only motivating and retaining employees, but finding the right employees in the first place. A human resources manager could do any or all the following:
- Recruit and hire staff
- Administer pre-employment and on the job aptitude tests
- Create effective onboarding and retention programs
- Deal with staffing problems and help managers solve departmental issues as they occur
- Document employee issues and perform termination actions and interviews as needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resources management is seeing a 9% growth rate, which is faster than average. The median salary in this field is $106,910 per year.
#5 Forensic Psychologist
Often portrayed on television or film with dramatic flair, a forensic psychologist aids investigators and the legal system in solving crimes or testifying in court. For those interested in the legal system, the judicial system or with helping victims, forensic psychology offers the opportunity to help others and work within the criminal justice system. Some things a forensic psychologist might do on a regular basis include:
- Evaluate defendants and provide results for the court
- Provide counseling for inmates or the recently released
- Evaluate a victim’s emotional injuries or help craft a victim statement
- Provide counseling for defendants, inmates and victims
- Provide expert witness testimony in court cases
In 2016, clinical psychologists, including forensic psychologists, had a median salary of $75,230, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
The median pay for logisticians as of May 2016 was $74,100.
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- Clinical Psychologist. (2017, August 11) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Developmental Psychologist (2017, August 11). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/action/science/developmental/education-training.aspx
- Guidance Counselor (2017, August 11). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm
- Human Resources Manager (2017, August 11). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm
- Forensic Psychologist (2017, August 11) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-1