Top career paths for BA Psychology graduates
As a liberal arts and sciences degree, psychology is an interdisciplinary major that can open doors to a variety of career opportunities, which is why it is one of the most popular options at colleges worldwide. Most schools designate learning outcomes that foster critical thinking, methods of inquiry, research methodology, processes and the application of psychological principles to diverse areas of human behavior. All of these focal areas ensure BA psychology graduates have gained essential workforce skills that can be leveraged in organizations large and small.
It is important to recognize that although the field of psychology may seem to be unrelated to some career pathways, the skills acquired from the academic experience can stretch a long way in many industries and positions. With this in mind we explore some top career options for new graduates to consider:
4 Career options for new psychology grads
Social and community service managers
Social and community service is a broad specialty that can fall into social service, health care and other top industries in the nation. According to U.S. News and World Report, many child and family social workers have strong backgrounds psychology studies and often begin their careers in these positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market is expected to grow 13 percent between 2018 and 2028. Depending on regional standards of living, the salary may be considered modest with a median salary of $65,320.
This is the perfect path for those that value the intrinsic rewards that come from improving the lives of others. In the social service scene, these professionals are heroes for the families living below the poverty line, for children that lack nutritious food or those affected by child abuse. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for children and their loved ones. On the health care side, social and community service managers may help individuals cope with complex physical or mental health medical conditions by implementing assessment tools, planning and counseling services. They are often the inspiration behind so many success stories in the world today and we thank them for their amazing dedication.
The advertising industry is a high powered, fast paced world that requires professionals to communicate extremely effectively in order to network and serve the needs of organizations and their people. Many undergraduate psychology programs study the art and science of persuasion which can help advertising agents excel in their corporate relations strategies. The analytical skills that are gained from their educational career also come in handy when researching the target audience for a product or message and developing campaign materials based on the information.
Almost all agents work on collaborative teams in order to serve accounts and their demands, which means that salary ranges may vary depending on the area of expertise, location, company size and years of experience. For the purpose of benchmarking however, let’s take into consideration the annual gains for the average account executive in advertising in the United States. According to HR Reported data on salary.com, the average pay for this position is $79,668 while the top 10 percent reach as high as $93,832. In addition, although not always guaranteed, earnings can also be supplemented with on-the-job perks like attending the latest red carpet events or tickets to concerts.
For those who enjoy helping people discover their potential, working as career counselors can be a very fulfilling. Part of the job description includes analyzing people’s educational levels, work histories, personalities, interests and skills to suggest professional pathways that match their personal abilities. They may provide aptitude and achievement assessments to assist them through the process and can assist individuals at various levels of career development from entering the workforce to transitioning between jobs.
Psychology graduates have solid foundations for entering this field, but in recent years most employers prefer candidates to have master's degrees in school counseling or a related field. In terms of employment outlook and salary information, the BLS reported that jobs for career counselors were predicted to increase 8 percent from 2018 to 2028. The median salary in the guidance profession category which includes career counselors was $56,310. Some individuals may choose to work with special types of people like disabled adults who need skill training and regular workplace supervision, while others may work for public service entities or in public schools.
Similar to social and community service managers, psychiatric technicians typically work in social service industries. This is one career paths that does not predominately require a graduate level degree, allowing new BA psychology grads to apply their studies directly to the field. In most cases, psychiatric or related mental health technicians work directly under the supervision of licensed clinical psychologists or social workers. Job duties involve helping patients with basic daily needs, teaching life skills, conducting applied therapy sessions and performing related management tasks.
Although this can be an extremely rewarding field, many do opt to pursue a higher level psychology degree to become licensed and increase their pay scale. Psychiatric technicians in the United States typically receive $30,860 annually and overall employment is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028. For those who do want to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, many schools offer an array of specialty areas including school counseling, marriage and family therapy, and professional clinical counseling.
This article is not only intended to provide a resource for those looking to start or enhance their career, but also to illustrate the spectrum of opportunities that studying liberal arts and sciences provides. The BA psychology major is one of many degrees that contribute to gaining a competitive advantage in the overall job marketplace. Graduates may also consider advancing their education by pursuing a master's degree in psychology. Whichever path you choose, from everyone at UMass Global, we wish all lifelong learners a successful future.
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