One of the most important steps you can take when exploring careers in psychology is to thoroughly research your position(s) of interest, as many traditional psychology professions require specialized experience, education, and/or licensure to be considered for employment. This guide can serve as a starting point for exploring career options in psychology and provide resources to help you research the occupational requirements for your dream job.
Exploring Your Options
Are you curious where a degree in psychology might lead?
“What Can I Do With This Major?” is an introductory resource that can help you explore the possibilities and various specialty areas of the psychology field. Use this resource to discover employer types and strategies to plan ahead for your future career.
There are many career options to explore within the psychology field. However, keep in mind that a psychology degree from American Public University System will not lead to eligibility for licensure in psychology, counseling, or social work. If you are considering a career as a licensed psychologist, social worker, marriage and family therapist, counselor (including chemical dependency) or other related career path, schedule an appointment with your career coach to discuss your professional goals and develop an action plan.
While some psychology-related careers do carry strict licensure requirements, several others do not. The following options are only a small sampling of the varying directions to consider that may not require specialized licensure.
Sample job titles in human services that may not require licensure:
- Case Manager
- Family Support Worker
- Mental Health Worker
- Outreach Specialist
- Parole or Probation Officer
- Patient Representative
- Program Care Coordinator
- Program Eligibility Specialist
- Residential Treatment Support
- Service Coordinator
- Therapeutic Treatment Support
- Victim Advocate
Sample job titles outside the human services field that may not require licensure:
- Admissions Representative
- Career Coach
- Community College Instructor
- Human Resources Specialist
Keep in mind the career path you choose may require additional education, experiences, or other qualifications beyond obtaining a degree. We encourage you to continue exploring career options until you find a path that aligns with your unique interests, strengths, and professional goals. The following career libraries can help you continue your career research:
As you start exploring your career path in psychology, it's crucial that you identify whether your target profession requires any specific academic, professional, or examination qualifications. Do not avoid thorough research; this may require you to call your state board of psychology for the most accurate licensure information. Making assumptions about psychology careers can often lead to disappointment and delays. Take the time early on to develop a clear understanding of what it will take to achieve your career goal.
Not sure how to contact your state's board of psychology? Type "Become a licensed psychologist in (insert state)" into a major search engine and select the state you intend to seek licensure in. When reviewing online information about licensure requirements, ensure you are reviewing content directly from your state's official website.
While researching psychology careers can feel like a daunting task, there are online tools and resources available to help you. For example, to research different opportunities for psychologists, consider browsing the American Psychological Association's "Careers in Psychology" page to learn more about potential job roles.
Planning for a Psychology Career
Employers gravitate toward hiring candidates that possess relevant, real-world experience to complement their education. If you have limited experience in your target functional area, there are several ways you can gain relevant new skills and experiences. To brainstorm additional ideas, schedule an appointment with your career coach.
There are a variety of organization types you can seek internships with, and you will find that many organizations post their opportunities online. Consider starting your internship search on:
*Please note that while Career Services can help you prepare for the internship application process, the university does not coordinate internships or provide placement services.
Explore volunteer opportunities with non-profits, disaster relief and intervention groups, government agencies, shelters, schools, hospitals, hospice centers, and/or other local support groups.
National & Community Service
Consider looking into service-based programs and opportunities through the Corporation for National & Community Service, such as:
- AmeriCorps: Public Allies
- AmeriCorps VISTA
Fellowships can provide invaluable opportunities to gain relevant professional experience. Examples of fellowship opportunities include the Autry Fellowship and the federal Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program.
Building meaningful connections with employers, recruiters, mentors, and industry professionals can help you learn more about a position or field as well as aid you during a future job search. Below are ways you can begin establishing new professional relationships.
APUS Virtual Career Fairs
Career Services offers industry-specific virtual career fairs throughout the year, attracting employers who want to meet APUS students and alumni. View our Virtual Career Fairs page in your ecampus and discover upcoming events.
APUS Mentoring Program
Receive coaching, motivation, and guidance from a university mentor. Visit the university's mentoring page to learn more!
Joining a professional organization offers a variety of career and professional development benefits, including the opportunity to network at conferences and other events. There are several professional organizations within the psychology field, so be sure to explore all your options to find the best fit for you. Examples of relevant organizations include:
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Psychological Science
- Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy
- International Association of Applied Psychology
- Society for Community Research and Action
Build your network, connect with employers, and join LinkedIn groups to engage in professional discussions. Examples of LinkedIn groups include: