Careers with a Psychology Degree


An undergraduate degree in psychology serves as an excellent foundation for a wide variety of professions, since it can provide you with a field-specific skill set, as well as general skills that can be applied to careers across many industries and occupations.



What You Can Do with This Degree

Many psychology graduates pursue an advanced degree, with the ultimate goal of becoming a psychologist. Others can be found in areas such as teaching, social services, the media, information technology, marketing, politics, government agencies, and many other sectors of industry.


So, you're covered either way as far as career options are concerned. If you’re interested in a career in psychology, a degree in this field serves as an excellent foundation. On the other hand, if you’re interested in taking your talents elsewhere upon graduation, don't worry, the skills you'll gain can be applied to almost any career field (more on that below).



What Psychology Teaches You

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, perception, feeling and thought. By exploring topics ranging from the basic nervous system to principles of perception, learning, and cognition, you’ll gain an understanding as to why people, and in some cases animals, think, feel, perceive and behave the way they do.


By studying this field, you will also acquire knowledge of the central questions in psychology, of the methods that are used to gather data relevant to these questions, and of the range and quality of answers presently available.


Psychology integrates areas of knowledge that span the arts and the sciences, and in the process it provides you with a liberal education, as well as a particularly wide range of practical and professional skills. 





Employable Skills You’ll Gain for Directly Relevant Careers

By earning your degree, you'll be taught a set of employable skills that are unique to the field, including:


• An understanding of physiological, emotional, cognitive and social determinants of behaviour

• Understanding of the major theories and histories of psychology

• A basic understanding of the various disciplines in psychology

• Familiarity and experience with psychological research methods, including data collection and analysis

• Experience with analyzing statistics and experimental design

• Knowledge and understanding of research ethics

• Specific knowledge and abilities related to areas of specialization, such as cognition, neuroscience, developmental psychology or others (if applicable)



Careers Relevant to a Psychology Degree

The skills listed above will serve as an excellent foundation for the following occupations (some of which require further education, training and experience):


• Addictions Counsellor

• Art Therapist

• Behavior Analyst

• Behavioural Therapist

• Career Counselor

• Child Psychotherapist

• Child Life Specialist

• Correctional Counselor

• Credit Counselor

• Crime Victim Specialist

• Criminal Analyst

• Criminologist

• Crisis Hotline Coordinator

• Crisis Intervention Specialist

• Dance Therapist

• Developmental Care Worker

• Director of Youth Development

• Diversity Consultant

• Divorce Mediator

• Drama Therapist

• Family Counselor

• Family Support Worker

• Forensic Psychologist

• Gender Consultant

• Intervention Worker

• Life Skills Coach

• Marriage Counselor

• Mental Health Case Manager

• Mental Health Community Worker

• Mental Health Counselor

• Neurologist

• Occupational Therapist

• Pregnancy Counselor

• Psychiatric Nurse

• Psychiatrist

• Psychologist

• Psychotherapist

• Readjustment Coordinator

• Research Assistant

• Research Impact Officer

• Sexual Abuse Counselor

• Sexual Assault Educator

• Sexual Health Educator

• Sexuality Counselor

• Social Worker

• Speech Therapist

• Speech-Language Pathologist

• Statistical Assistant

• Suicide Prevention Services Director

• Survey Researcher

• United Nations Ambassador

• University Professor

• Wellness Coordinator

• Youth Counselor



Transferrable Skills You’ll Gain

It’s not easy to identify many of the general and transferrable skills you earn while pursuing a psychology degree. This is largely due to the fact that a lot of these skills are negative rather than positive skills, such as the skill of not immediately jumping to conclusions, and of reserving judgment about alternative possibilities.


There all also positive skills gained as a result of these studies, of course, and they are much easier to identify. They typically include:


• Synthesizing and interpreting vast amounts of information

• Academic writing and presentation skills

• Critical thinking and analytical skills

• Abstract reasoning

• Communication and interpersonal skills

• Leadership and teamwork skills

• Organization and time management skills

• Goal setting and prioritizing

• Knowledge of and experience with basic techniques of statistical analysis


Because of these skills, you’ll make a competent employee in almost any industry. And after all, to many employers, the skill set you bring to the table is much more important than what you majored in.


So, while a psychology degree may not ‘get you a job’ per say (meaning an employer in a field unrelated to psychology probably won’t hire you just because of your psychology degree), it does provide you with a skill set that makes you a valuable asset for any organization.


Success Tip: Be aware, that in a cover letter or an interview, you should be prepared to explain how your skills are a great fit for the organization. 





List of Careers Indirectly Related to Your Degree

Not interested in a career that’s directly related to your psychology degree? The transferrable skills listed above can be applied to many, many occupations, including:


• Academic Advisor

• Account Manager

• Advertising Account Executive

• Blogger

• Brand Manager

• Child Care Centre Supervisor

• Citizenship and Immigration Officer

• Consumer Advocate

• Correctional Officer

• Customer Relations Clerk

• Customer Service Representative

• Daycare Worker

• Department Manager

• Director of Volunteer Services

• Elder Care Worker

• Elementary School Teacher

• Financial Advisor

• Financial Planner

• Funeral Director

• Genetic Counselor

• Geriatric Care Manager

• Government Researcher

• High School Teacher

• Hospice Coordinator

• Human Resources Coordinator

• Human Rights Officer

• Industrial Relations Officer

• Journalist

• Judge

• Lawyer

• Legal Advisor

• LGBTQ Services Coordinator

• Loan Officer

• Mayor

• NGO Area Coordinator

• Paralegal

• Parole Officer

• Pastoral Animator

• Personnel Manager

• Physical Therapy Assistant

• Police Officer

• Political Campaign Manager

• Political Campaign Officer

• Probation Officer

• Project Supervisor

• Public Opinion Interviewer

• Public Relations Specialist

• Realtor

• Recruiter

• Retail Sales Associate

• Sales Representative

• School Administrator

• Sensory Scientist

• Statistician

• Surveillance Officer

• Urban Planner


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the specific requirements.



Employability Tip: Consider an Advanced Degree

An advanced degree (such as a professional, master’s or doctoral degree) can greatly increase your chances of finding suitable employment. It does so by enabling you develop highly specialized knowledge. This can open the doors to careers that aren’t accessible with only an undergraduate degree, including many research, counseling, consulting and teaching positions.


If you are considering a career in the field of psychology, then you should strongly consider further study. This may be in the form of a graduate degree in a related field, including but not limited to:


• Psychology

• Occupational therapy

• Counseling


If you are interested in careers that are more loosely related to psychology, or not related to psychology at all, you should consider a professional or graduate degree in a field that either compliments or is unrelated to psychology, depending on your professional interests and ambitions. Such fields include but are not limited to:


• Law

• Nursing

• Education

• Business administration

• Humanities and social science

• Journalism






Average Salary Levels of Psychology Graduates

The salary you could earn with your degree varies based on a wide variety of factors, such as:
• The type, size, budget and discretion of your employer
• Your level of education
• Your level of certification (if applicable)
• The region in which you work 
• How much overtime you’re able to work (if applicable)
• The amount of responsibility inherent in your position
• Your level of experience (it’s worth noting that people with several years worth of experience can often earn substantially more in their profession than what’s listed below)
It's also highly dependent on the occupation you pursue. Below is an overview of the average earnings of people in a few career fields that are directly or indirectly relevant to a degree in psychology (some careers may require further education and training). 


Please note however, that the salary information listed below is meant only to serve as a guideline. In many cases, workers in these fields can earn a much lower, or much higher salary, than what is listed below! 

Academic Advisor
Alberta: $58,704 (indeed)
Canada: $60,073 (indeed)
United States: $37,793 (indeed)


Addictions Counsellor
Alberta: $60,658 (ALIS)
Canada: $58,380 (indeed)
United States: $43,300 (BLS)


Advertising Account Executive
Alberta: $77,090 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $49,680 (BLS)


Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $36,580 (indeed)


Career Counselor
Alberta: $59,291 (ALIS)
Canada: $44,169 (PayScale)
United States: $55,410 (BLS)


Correctional Officer
Alberta: $70,423 (ALIS)
Canada: $51,358 (indeed)
United States: $43,510 (BLS)


Credit Counselor
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $44,219 (PayScale)
United States: $49,460 (BLS)


Developmental Care Worker
Alberta: $35,126 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $22,290 (BLS)


Family Counselor
Alberta: $60,658 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $49,790 (BLS)


Family Support Worker
See “Social Worker”

Financial Planner
Alberta: $77,878 (ALIS)

Canada: N/A
United States: $90,640 (BLS)


Intervention Worker
See “Social Worker”


Alberta: $137,072 (ALIS)
Canada: $96,072 (indeed)
United States: $119,250 (BLS)


Marriage Counselor
See “Family Counselor"


Mental Health Case Manager
See “Psychologist”


Alberta: N/A
Canada: $223,666 (indeed)
United States: $222,651 (indeed)


Occupational Therapist
Alberta: $84,994 (ALIS)
Canada: $70,480 (indeed)
United States: $83,200 (BLS)


Political Campaign Officer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $46,602 (indeed)
United States: $38,120 (indeed)


Probation Officer
Alberta: $80,043 (ALIS)
Canada: $65,440 (indeed)
United States: $51,410 (BLS)


Psychiatric Nurse
Alberta: $80,129 (ALIS)
Canada: $63,840 (PayScale)
United States: $98,832 (indeed)


Alberta: N/A
Canada: $174,978 (PayScale)
United States: $216,090 (BLS)


Alberta: $98,728 (ALIS)
Canada: $99,440 (indeed)
United States: $77,030 (BLS)


Public Relations Specialist
Alberta: $77,090 (ALIS)
Canada: N/A
United States: $59,300 (BLS)


Alberta: $105,233 (indeed)
Canada: $102,883 (indeed)
United States: $77,428 (indeed)


Research Assistant
Alberta: $41,027 (ALIS)
Canada: $32,796 (Glassdoor)
United Sates: $26,560 (BLS)


Sales Representative
Alberta: $63,530 (indeed)
Canada: $61,150 (indeed)
United States: $56,970 (BLS)


Sexual Abuse Counselor
See “Addictions Counselor”


Sexual Health Educator
Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United Sates: $45,360 (BLS)


Social Worker
Alberta: $65,593 (ALIS)
Canada: $65,560 (indeed)
United States: $47,980 (BLS)


Speech-Language Pathologist
Alberta: $100,381 (ALIS)
Canada: $80,160 (indeed)
United States: $76,610 (indeed)


Suicide Prevention Services Director
See “Social Worker”


University Professor
Alberta: $74,877 (ALIS)
Canada: $157,610 (indeed)
United Sates: $76,000 (BLS)


Youth Counselor
See “Family Counselor”


The name in brackets next to the salary data for each region is the sources from which the data was obtained. Please note, the salary data that is sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) represents median salary figures, rather than average salary figures.


Salary Reference Information

ALIS: Alberta Learning and Information Service (, sponsored by the Government of Alberta. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
PayScale: Private organization owned by PayScale Incorporated ( For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
BLS: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (, sponsored by the federal government of the United States of America. For details regarding their salary survey methodology, please visit here.
indeed: indeed is a private organization owned by indeed incorporated. They collect their salary estimation figures by averaging those found in past and present job advertisements submitted by users on Indeed over the past 36 months.



Gaining Relevant Career Experience as a Student

Getting internship, co-op or field-placement work in a clinical or research setting as an undergraduate student is a great way to build your portfolio of experience before you graduate. Having a portfolio of relevant experience prior to graduating is an excellent way to help you qualify for graduate study, or for entry-level jobs in the field. Such opportunities also have many other benefits, including:


• Getting your foot in the door with an employer

• Helping you get a sense if work in the field is right for you

• Meeting others who work in the field, and ‘picking their brains’

• Developing a professional network



How Do I Find an Internship in Psychology?

Your psychology program may require you to participate in an internship or other form of work experience program, particularly if it is an applied psychology program. However, many psychology programs do not have such requirements.


If it is an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other psychology department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



Psychology Scholarships

If you’re a psychology major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to psychology students, arts students in general, and scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations in Psychology

To find out more about careers in this field, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation

Canadian Professional Counsellors Association

Canadian Psychological Association

The Canadian Council of Professional Psychology


United States

American Board of Professional Psychology

American Counselling Association

American Mental Health Counselors Association

American Psychological Association

Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology



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