Psychology is the study of the human mind and behaviour. It offers the chance to explore unanswered questions about the brain, such as how it functions under stress, how it remembers facts or how mental illnesses affect the way it works. Usually, if you’re studying psychology in university, you’d do some sort of specialisation, simply because the area of study is so vast. Psychology can be divided into three branches—cognitive, biological and sociocultural. These usually overlap with each other and are extremely broad fields of study. This might give rise to some confusion as to what you can do with a psychology degree.
A psychology degree is attractive to employers because it combines a scientific approach with humanities. This gives you a broad choice about where you go on to work. You could work in fields that are directly related to Psychology as a subject (obviously). But, you could also go for a less typical career. But bear in mind that while some options might be available to you after a Bachelor’s degree, some may require a higher specialisation.
Intrigued yet? Read on, then!
Typical Careers in Psychology
With a psychology degree, you’re well placed to pursue careers in both arts and scientific fields. Depends on your personal interests, really. There are many options in healthcare, education, social work, therapy and counselling. These roles may be advisory, research-led, treatment-led or therapeutic.
1. Psychotherapist (Healthcare and Therapy)
A psychotherapist usually works with individuals, couples, groups or families. They help their clients overcome psychological issues, such as emotional and relationship-related issues, stress and even addiction. Popular methods of treating clients include psychoanalytic therapies, art therapy, drama therapy, and hypno-psychotherapy. But bear in mind that a psychotherapist is vastly different from a psychiatrist, who is a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. If you want to become a psychiatrist, you will need to obtain a medical degree.
2. Careers in Education
Psychology graduates could be employed as teachers, or they could work within social services to help support learning in the community for all ages. Opportunities also exist within the prison sector to provide support for juveniles.
The qualifications required are the same as any other psychologist: a Master’s degree (with further specialisation/training). To teach psychology, however, depending on the level you choose, you’ll need an additional teaching qualification, such as a PhD.
3. Careers in Research
If you plan to have a career in a tertiary educational institute (university), it’s likely that your career will involve research. University-based careers vary but tend to combine both research and teaching. Research careers are usually wide-ranging. For example, you could work for non-profit organisations, perhaps conducting research to help resolve challenges such as speech impediments, brain damage, or the impact of drugs on the human psyche.
Atypical Careers in Psychology
As a psychology graduate, there are a plethora of opportunities for you to explore outside the typical roles if you know where to look. This is mostly due to the varied transferable skills you gain from your degree. In fact, many of the skills that you develop during this degree are some of the most desirable to have in the post-covid workforce. In broad terms, you could work in virtually all sectors of society, including media, advertising, business management, sports, and the legal sector, to name a few.
1. HR and Communication (Industrial/Organisational Psychology)
Psychology is all about understanding people and how they think. This makes Human Resources a good match. Roles in HR, available in both the public and private sectors, include areas such as professional development, training, recruitment, PR, and payroll.
2. Media and Advertising
Usually, this is not the first choice for a psychology graduate. Mostly because it’s a little difficult to see the connection between these fields. Media careers are varied, with ample opportunities to apply the skills that you learn while getting a psychology degree. Psychology graduates can impart valuable insights into human behaviour and act with empathy and reason. Because of this, roles within all departments such as management, production, scheduling and writing are easily suitable for psychology graduates.
3. Business and Management
Psychology graduates are actually suited quite well to both of these fields. With a grasp of both statistics/data and human behaviour, graduates are in a unique position of having both skills essential to these fields. Of course, a bit of elementary managerial training may be required, but you could start out by pursuing careers in sales, advertising or business development, before working your way up the ladder.
Interested in studying Psychology? Check out our post on the best universities for Psychology in the UK.