Psychology

Main Content

Students on campus
What can I do with this major?
Area Employers Strategies

Human Services

  • Counseling

  • Advocacy

  • Mental Health Services

  • Case Management

  • Programming

  • Community Relations

  • Administration

Federal government, including Departments of: Health and Human Services Justice, Veterans Administration

State government, including Departments of: Human Services, Mental Health & Mental Retardation, Community mental health centers, State psychiatric hospitals, Facilities for mentally impaired, Justice, Probation and parole

Local government

Senior citizens' centers

United Way agencies

Nonprofit organizations

Religiously-affiliated service organizations

Hospitals

Obtain essential practical experience through part-time or summer jobs such as camp counselor, tutor, or resident hall advisor. Complete an internship for academic credit. Gain experience through volunteering with organizations such as crisis hotlines, Big Brother or Sister, Special Olympics, service fraternities or sororities, etc. Many entry-level helping positions require one year of related experience. Volunteer experience can typically fulfill this requirement. Learn to work well with different types of people. Develop strong communication skills.

Cultivate the desire to help others. Become fluent in a foreign language spoken by multi-cultural clients. Be willing to relocate. Become familiar with government hiring procedures. Acquire knowledge of government and community resources available for those in need. Obtain a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or social work for substantive counseling work and advancement into administrative work. Many specialties exist at the graduate level, for example school counseling, mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, etc. Pursue particular degrees depending upon interests and career goals. Pursue an excellent academic record.

Research

Federal government including: Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Education, Office of Naval Research

National headquarters of non-profit organizations

Universities and colleges

Work with a professor on his or her research project. Develop strong quantitative and statistical skills. Obtain a graduate degree for greater opportunities.

Human Resources

  • Employment and Recruitment

  • Labor Relations

  • Compensation and Benefits

Large companies

Government agencies

Employment and temporary agencies

Large non-profit organizations including hospitals and educational institutions

Acquire related experience as a resident hall advisor, orientation leader, admissions tour guide, or student assistant in career services. Find student organization committee work in policy making or settling disputes. Supplement curriculum with business courses. Acquire strong computer skills.

Public Relations

  • Research

  • Programming

  • Writing and Editing

  • Event Planning

  • Media Placement

  • Public Speaking

  • Fund-raising

Public relations and advertising firms

Companies with public relations departments 

Professional associations

Federal, state and local government

Colleges and universities

Non-profit organizations

Develop strong writing and speaking skills. Obtain related experience with campus newspaper, television, or radio station. Serve as an admissions tour guide or work in alumni relations or other PR-related functions. Volunteer as a fund-raiser or political canvasser. Gain experience through internships. Join the campus chapter of Public Relations Society of America.

Advertising

  • Creative

  • Media

  • Account Services

  • Research

Advertising agencies

Companies with in-house advertising agencies or departments

Obtain relevant experience with campus newspaper, television, or radio station.

Work with student-run businesses. Find an internship, even if unpaid, with a market research or advertising firm. Develop a portfolio for creative positions.

Obtain a business minor or double major for account services positions.

Market Research

  • Market research firms

  • Market research departments of consumer goods and manufacturing firms

Market research firms

Market research departments of consumer goods and manufacturing firms

Develop a strong background in math and statistics. Get involved in the American Marketing Association. Obtain related experience. Get a part-time or summer field service position with a market research firm. Obtain business research experience. Serve as a canvasser or phone interviewer for a non-profit organization or political campaign. Earn a graduate degree in statistics or marketing for the greatest number of opportunities.

Teaching

Public and private schools

Colleges and universities

Obtain teaching certificate for public school positions. Dual certification will increase marketability. Seek guidance from education department of your college. Secure strong personal recommendations. Volunteer as a tutor.

Gain experience working with children or adolescents. PhD required for post-secondary teaching.

Retailing

  • Management

Department stores

Specialty stores

Discount stores

Super retailers

Secure leadership positions in campus organizations. Work a part-time or summer job in a retail store. Demonstrate a willingness to take on additional responsibilities such as "assistant manager." Be willing to start in a management-trainee program. Learn to work well with different types of people.

Sales

Retailers

Service providers

Wholesalers

Manufacturers

Insurance companies

Real estate companies

Obtain experience through internships or sales jobs. Take business courses.

Participate in student organizations and seek leadership roles. Must be highly motivated and well organized. Develop a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. Must work well under pressure and be comfortable in a competitive environment.

Strategies for placement in Psychology

  • Psychology provides a broad, liberal arts background.

  • Some students may choose to study psychology because they enjoy the subject but wish to pursue careers requiring "any major." In this scenario, it is critical to develop desirable skills through internships, part-time or summer jobs, or volunteer experiences. Some skills valued most by employers include: communication, interpersonal, leadership, teamwork, and computer skills.

  • Other students may major in psychology because they want to work in a related field. Many entry-level helping positions are available, however the amount of direct client contact is limited for those who have a bachelor's degree. Students may wish to pursue graduate education in psychology, social work, counseling, college student personnel, or other related fields to increase opportunities and earning potential.

  • For those wishing to pursue graduate education, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, and gain experience through volunteer or work opportunities. Assist a faculty member with his or her research.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.

Links

American Psychological Society 
National Board for Certified Counselors 
The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 
American Psychological Association 
Online Psychology Career Center 
Psych Web 
Encyclopedia of Psychology 
Society for Human Resource Management 
American Counseling Association 
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Careers in Psychology