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Careers in Psychology

Students who seek a degree in psychology will have a variety of possible career options, many of which focus on human behavior and how environment and motivations influence that behavior. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology gives the foundational skills needed to pursue positions that involve studying human nature or that require extensive human interaction. The Master of Arts in Psychology enables students to combine and utilize their in-depth research and their analytical and problem solving skill sets to pursue further education, or to begin or further their careers. This information provided is an informational tool to help you identify career and internship opportunities; federal employment information; and academic and professional organizations.

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Useful Skills within the Psychology Field
  • Helping - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Problem Solving - Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.
  • Reading Comprehension - The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Reasoning - Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of the reactions of others and understanding why they react the way they do.
  • Speaking - Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.
  • Writing and Authoring - Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
  • Managing Time - Allocating and budgeting your time for various tasks so that tasks are completed as needed.
  • Negotiating - Bringing people together to discuss and resolve differences.
Must-Know Information

It is important to note that the Master of Arts in Psychology does not qualify graduates to seek professional licensure or engage in counseling or psychotherapy. The program’s value to graduates lies in the foundation of theory and knowledge of practice. It focuses on the classroom study of what psychologists do rather than hands-on learning, which would require field-experience education such as what one experiences in an internship or during residency.

While your degree prepares you for a variety of career options, you may decide to use your degree as a foundation for advanced degrees or other career options. Advanced degrees beyond your B.A. in Psychology are essential for teaching; clinical and therapeutic counseling; and administrative and supervisory positions.

Throughout this guide, you will find career options that are specifically geared towards the preparation you gained through your coursework, as well as some options that require additional education or certifications. As always, research is vital. Be sure to research your local and state regulations when considering employment in areas beyond those for which this degree is specifically designed.

Career Options

To identify the education and training typical for careers within the psychology field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.”

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. Check with your state’s credential and licensing department to ensure your education is an appropriate foundation for your ideal career.

Positions for which students are seeking additional education, certificates, or credentials are listed below. Many states have their own credentialing requirements and your degree may or may not meet their requirements. Please visit your state’s credentialing website for additional information on whether your chosen path requires specific credentials.

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships; they are organized by interest or by federal program.

There are government-organized internship programs that provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.


The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)

PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)

WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in psychology. The list below provides some examples of those federal agencies. Each position within the federal government is classified under a series of numbers. For example, the “Social Science, Psychology, and Welfare Group,” is within the 0100 series. You can narrow down the exact series number based on your interest and search for it on across hundreds of federal agencies.

While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is related to the psychology field.

Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations
Conferences and Expositions
Get Connected: Social Media

A login may be required for access to social media.

  • American Psychological Association (APA) – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America – Facebook, Twitter
  • Association for Psychological Science - Facebook, Twitter
  • Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences - Twitter
  • National Center for PTSD – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Facebook, Twitter
  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology - Facebook, Twitter
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) - Facebook
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