Most students who select psychology as a major do so in part because of a desire to serve humankind through some type of human service career. About half of all psychology majors have well-defined human service career choices: Clinical psychology, law, medicine, the ministry, etc. But others typically find themselves in a quandary with regard to career possibilities. Some assume (or have been told) that there are no jobs in the field of psychology for psychology baccalaureates. While there certainly is an element of truth in this statement (there are, for example, no jobs as a clinical psychologist at the bachelor's lever), many careers in human and mental health services (and other areas) are open to individuals with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
The list at the end of this section gives the titles of jobs held by a recent sample of individuals with bachelor's degrees in psychology. Although it is a rather long list, it does not exhaust the range of possibilities. These jobs do not restrict applicants to psychology majors, but formal undergraduate training in psychology is compatible with the educational qualifications necessary for these positions and is in many cases the preferred training. Many of the titles are serf-explanatory, but others are vague titles which might require further elaboration for clarity. Some are just emerging as new careers and some are unconventional careers for psychology majors.
An individual contemplating one of these careers should consult a career guidance counselor or a member of the psychology faculty for further information. You should be aware, however, that most career guidance counselors and psychology faculty have had only limited direct experience with some of these. Thus, you will probably need to plan to explore the possibilities on your own to find out what is available and whether you have the needed qualifications. Many prospective employers have relatively small staff and may not have had prior experience with psychology baccalaureates. You may have to create in the mind of a prospective employer a need for an individual with just your background in psychology. The key is recognizing how, when, and where your psychology can be applied. You may want to point out to an employer that several recent studies have found that psychology baccalaureates are among a group of graduates with strengths in interpersonal and verbal skills and with motivation to advance-characteristics that are associated with good managerial performance.
After examining the list of job titles (and other materials in this brochure), it should be clear to you that psychology graduates enter all kinds of diverse and exciting careers. As you consider your postgraduate opportunities you should be aware that employers and graduate/professional schools place different emphases on a number of factors when evaluating prospective applicants. Graduate/professional schools typically place emphasis on overall grade point average, grade point average in the major, difficulty of courses taken, special programs (e.g., Honors Program), letters of recommendation, writing samples (as, E.g., autobiographies and statements of career interests), publications, honors, etc., career-related experiences, and, to a limited extent, extracurricular activities. In contrast, employers typically place emphasis on academic performance, letters of recommendation, personality, presentation in interviews, previous employment, and extracurricular experiences related to a given employment opportunity. Employers look for skills and knowledge you have acquired as you earned your degree. Whether you are seeking entrance into graduate or professional school or are seeking employment with a psychology baccalaureate, you should seek to strengthen those aspects of your academic, personal, and professional credentials sought by prospective educators/employers.
It should be pointed out that many psychology baccalaureates chose to continue their education after having been in a career for many years. Some do so to expand their career opportunities, while others do so out of an intrinsic love of the field. While many people assume that it is always best to enter graduate or professional school straight out of college, this is not always the case. Some individuals need time to gain career-related experience, some need to establish a better financial base, some need to mature, and some just need time off to relax before the next phase of their career development.