The field of psychology is crucial to understanding human behavior, mental health and overall wellbeing. Psychology professionals are needed in several settings, including mental health therapy, education, relationship counseling and even workplace environments.
Students with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology online from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) have access to various interesting career prospects. While many job opportunities are rooted in fields traditionally related to psychology, they can pursue other lines of private- and public-sector work that also value knowledge and skills gained from the study of psychology.
Here are six wide-ranging areas of work for psychology majors:
Whether in research, clinical or therapy-based practice, working in psychology-related fields is the most obvious application of this degree program. The role of psychologist is an obvious application of a degree in psychology, human behavior and the mind.
Education, certification and licensure requirements vary widely by specific title, responsibilities and region of practice. Full-fledged psychologists must have a doctoral degree in the field (or education specialist degree in the case of some school psychologist positions).
Psychologists may focus on research or clinical therapy, diagnosis and treatment. Or, they may hold advisory positions. They might work in private practice, research institutes, schools, industrial-organizational settings or with law enforcement agencies.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median salary for psychologists was $80,370 in 2019.
- Therapist or Counselor
Clearly, many professions centered around clinical therapy are also based on psychology, focusing on bettering the emotional and mental well-being of patients and clients.
As noted above, psychologists often work as therapists. Yet there are other routes to providing counseling through organizations or in private practice that build on undergraduate study of psychology. Like psychologists, therapists and counselors must pursue specializations and licensure for different degrees and certifications.
Salaries for therapists and counselors vary widely. According to BLS, the median pay for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors in 2019 was $46,240 annually. However, April 2021 data from ZipRecruiter shows that therapists in private practice average $97,696 annually. This reflects the higher licensure and education requirements for entering private practice.
- Clinical Research Professional
With a focus on psychological research and statistical analysis, majoring in psychology can prepare students to work in clinical psychological research. A clinical research associate (CRA) is tasked with executing the research process, collecting and analyzing results and preparing reports of research findings. Clinical research managers or coordinators oversee studies from development and funding, employee recruitment and compliance regulation.
According to PayScale data from April 2021, the average CRA salary is $67,132. Reflecting the higher education and experience requirements of the position, PayScale reports clinical research managers make an average salary of $77,798.
- Human Resources Manager
NKU's online B.A. in Psychology degree also emphasizes psychological principles as applied to the workplace environment. In this, psychology is particularly relevant to the roles and responsibilities of human resources (HR) professionals.
These professionals rely on extensive knowledge of human and organizational behavior, motivation and incentivizing performance. They work to maximize the employee experience and the productive use of employee talents. They mediate conflicts, maintain positive company culture, match prospective new-hire skillsets to company needs, provide professional development to employees and more.
BLS reports that the 2019 median pay for HR managers was $116,720.
- Public Relations Professional
If HR is seen as applying psychology to internal business practices, public relations (PR) is its application to external processes. PR professionals manage an organization's communications and relationships with the public. They shape an organization's outward facing image and identity based on research into target audiences and social, political and economic trends.
According to BLS, public relations managers (categorized with fundraising managers) made a median salary of $116,180 in 2019.
- Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts rely heavily on statistical research and the study of consumer psychology: the demographics, needs and buying habits of an organization's target audience. These professionals collect extensive data on consumers, consumer trends, competitors and market trends. This data is analyzed to provide an organization with insight into potentially beneficial strategies in product development, marketing and PR.
BLS reports 2019 median pay for market research analysts was $63,790 per year.
Psychological research, social work, counseling and therapy are all logical applications of psychology, yet, human behavior is a part of almost every profession and statistical analysis central to modern business. Thus, the study of psychology can provide students with a foundation of transferable knowledge and skills applicable to a wide range of fulfilling careers.
Learn more about the Northern Kentucky University online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Human Resource Managers
Public Relations and Fundraising Mangers
Market Research Analysts
Average Clinical Research Associate (CRA) Salary
Average Clinical Research Manager Salary
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