What can I do with my Psychology degree? (2023)

- by Professor Johann Louw

What can I do with my Psychology degree? (1)


This document addresses the question: “What can I do with a major or an Honours or a Masters degree in Psychology”? It argues that the full range of opportunities available is best understood if one approaches it from an applied psychology perspective. You can read the document as one integrated piece, or you can click on the links below to access various sub-sections.

Table of contents

More opportunities than you think

Varieties of Applied Psychology

Skills and knowledge employers seek

The distinctive skills of a psychology graduate

Jobs and careers



More opportunities than you think

“What can I do with a major or an Honours or a Masters degree in Psychology?" This is a question all of us who teach psychology face on a regular basis. Often one detects a note of despair in this question, as if the answer is already known, and that the options are limited; Or that apart from two answers, "clinical work or research", there is not much else. I would like to convince you that people with psychological training do not have to (and do not) work only in traditional counselling and mental health care service jobs, or in the academy, but that there are excellent opportunities in what we can call “applied psychology".

If one looks at what people with training in psychology actually do, the range or variety is amazing. After all, psychology involves all areas of life, and therefore is one of the most popular areas to study. This is why I thought it might be useful to write about jobs in psychology in a very general sense, to show students (and others) what is possible with a degree in psychology. I hope that the information will alert you to career options and educational pathways that you may not have known about or thought to consider.

I am not going to write about two categories of employment for psychologists: as academics, and as private practitioners. I believe most people know enough about these two possibilities. Also, I am not going to write about the categories of psychologists in South Africa: almost all students of the discipline will know that there are seven professional categories in this country: industrial/organisational, clinical, counselling, educational, neuro-, forensic, and research psychology; And that you need at least a Master's degree in an accredited programme to be able to register as a psychologist in this country. The Professional Board for Psychology registers psychological practitioners in three main categories: psychologists, registered counsellors, and psychometrists. You can find more information about professional psychology in South Africa on the website of the Health Professions Council. If you want more information about the professional psychology categories, in a more user-friendly format, take a look at this document. It will also guide you through a number of decisions you have to make when deciding about your studies.

Instead, I would like to take a look from the other side, from where people end up in terms of the jobs they do, not in terms of their professional training. Because the point is that training in psychology prepares you for so many possibilities, that it is impossible to predict where you might find yourself in a few years’ time. In the examples of young people in jobs I give later on, you will see that I don’t say what kind of psychologist they were trained as. Because it is clear that the specific training did not matter so much in terms of what they do now, and I assure you that their training background includes all seven of the professional categories. And not to forget: for the majority of people it does not matter that they are not professionally registered psychologists. Certainly, for the jobs I give examples of, none required professional registration. If they did, I will indicate that. Indeed, this is perhaps the most important message of this piece: that professional registration is required for very few of these jobs.

My approach is to write about jobs in what we can call applied psychology, as I said above. Of course, one of the major, if not the major area of application of psychology is in mental health – hence the fact that clinical psychologists dominate the field in most countries. But clinical psychologists themselves frequently use their knowledge and skills to work outside the mental health field.

What I have done is to identify interesting and personally rewarding career opportunities that involve psychological knowledge and its application.


Varieties of Applied Psychology

What are the practical or applied fields in which you will find psychologists? There are too many to mention here, but the International Association for Applied Psychology has the following divisions, and this will give you a very good idea of broad fields of work in which psychologists are active.


  • Organisational Psychology
  • Psychological Assessment and Evaluation
  • Psychology and National Development
  • Environmental Psychology
  • Educational, Instructional and School Psychology
  • Clinical and Community Psychology
  • Applied Gerontology
  • Health Psychology
  • Economic Psychology
  • Psychology and Law
  • Political Psychology
  • Sport Psychology
  • Traffic and Transportation Psychology
  • Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology

Our department here at UCT is one of the few in South Africa that offers professional training in Neuro-Psychology. At present there are two broad fields in which Neuro-Psychologists may work. Firstly, those interestedin pursuing a career in Neuro-Psychological research work exclusively at academic institutions. University posts most commonly entail teaching and administrative responsibilities, in addition to research. Some pure research posts do exist, both at universities and at research organisations. Secondly, those interested in pursuing a career in clinical practice work either in the state or private sectors. Because Neuro-Psychology is a new practise category in South Africa, the state is currently in the process of setting up posts. In the private sector, Neuro-Psychologists work in private practice. Clinical practice entails a range of work, from diagnostics to case management. Practitioners may focus on particular areas of specialist knowledge, for example, pediatrics, epilepsy, or dementias, to name a few.

A field in which psychologically-trained people are making an increasing impact, is programme evaluation and monitoring. Because training at all levels of psychology usually include quite a lot of attention on research methodology, psychology graduates move into this field quite easily. Many social, health, and community programmes and interventions furthermore are based on psychological theories and research. In fact, departments of psychology nowadays often run postgraduate courses in programme evaluation. Here at UCT the Department of Psychology offers a module in the Master of Arts in Psychological Research programme in Programme Evaluation Methods. In the Section for Organisational Psychology, in the UCT Commerce Faculty, there is in fact a Master’s programme in Programme Evaluation.

Donaldson and Christie (2006) identified a broad range of settings where psychologists doprogramme evaluation work: non-profit organisations, educational settings, health-care settings, government settings, and corporate settings. The situation in South Africa is not very different – advertisements for programme evaluation specialists appear on a weekly basis. One indicator of the importance given in South Africa to programme evaluation is that there is a Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the State President’s office. You can see more information of its work here.

The Human Capital Initiative of the American Psychological Society predicted that six areas of concern would be where applied psychologists could make substantial contributions. One can look at these broad fields as predictors of where opportunities for growth and employment are going to be in the future.

Area of Concern

  • Productivity in the workplace
  • Schooling and literacy
  • Ageing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Health
  • Violence

It is not hard to see how all six these areas are also at play in our country. Take health for example. Given South Africa’s HIV/AIDS crisis, this is a field where many psychologists find work locally, as counsellors, researchers, programme managers, and such. You will find them in settings like the Health Systems Trust, the Human Sciences Research Council, various government departments, at universities (for example the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town), and non-governmental organisations (for example, the Western Cape AIDS Training, Information and Counselling Centre [ATICC]).

Sport Psychology also relates to health and wellness, as well as to elite athletes taking part in high performance sport. Many people who are thinking about a career in psychology are attracted to this element of the discipline. Take a look at this websiteof a local psychologist who is involved at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Newlands.

Drug and alcohol abuse is in the news on an almost daily basis, and psychologists play a very active role in efforts to address it. The Medical Research Council has a specialised unit on Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research, that is staffed almost completely by people with psychological training.

If you look at the areas of concern (and there are more of course), you can see how they can be regarded as psychology’s growth careers. In other words, areas in which people with psychological training are in demand, or will be growing in demand in future. Some time ago the American Psychological Association identified some of these – see how they tend to overlap what I have said above:

  • Programme evaluation -The website of the UCT Section for Organisational Psychology I referred to above will give more information.
  • Working with older adults - The Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa (IAA) was establishedat the University of Cape Town in April 2001. It incorporates the University’s division of Geriatric Medicine, the Neurosciences, Neuro-Psychology, Old Age Psychiatry, and a Gerontology Programme.
  • Government service -people trained in psychology enter government service in South Africa at all levels: from ministers in the national cabinet to researchers in parliament and project managers in national and provincial departments.
  • Applications in the workplace -where Industrial-Organisational (I/O) psychology has long been a popular and lucrative area, and it is an area of growing importance. Take a look at the Society for Industrial & Organisational Psychology of South Africa for more information.
  • Courtroom expertise -Forensic Psychologists conduct psycho-legal evaluations and offer their opinions as expert witnesses in criminal, malpractice and other cases.The HPCSA states on their website that forensic psychologists conduct psychological assessments and provide expert evidence or opinions, amongst other things.
  • Practice niches - psychologists in independent private practice, referred to in the opening section, are always on the lookout for special areas where expertise is required.
  • Multidisciplinary applications - there is a strong trend toward multidisciplinary research and applications in, for example, health services. In social science research projects in such areas as obesity, elder self-neglect, stroke neurorehabilitation and health disparities, multidisciplinary teams are often the preferred method of working. It has been said that psychology is a "hub" science, one that connects to virtually all of the social, behavioural, mathematical and biological sciences. This is an aspect you can take advantage of when looking at careersin, for example, the Human Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.

Skills and knowledge employers seek

Students, even after they have graduated with a Bachelor’s, Honours or Masters degree, say that they don’t know what they have actually learnt thatthey can do; what they can offer to prospective employers. Perhaps because psychology graduates find such a variety of jobs, they often consider their work unrelated to psychology. But it is more likely that many graduates, or current students, underestimate psychology's relationship to their work. We at universities contribute to that, because we don’t tell students explicitly what knowledge and skills they are acquiring via their psychology degrees. We often fail to recognise what skills psychologists have, or find it very difficult to articulate what these are. Yet psychology majors gain a range of skills that are asked for by, and can be applied to, almost any job.

It is not a bad idea to take a skills orientation to both your studies and your later career. Think of your courses not only as ways of learning about particular subjects but also as learning experiences which refine a variety of specific skills. So let us look at “skills”as something a little different from “knowledge”. First, we look at the skills that employers seek in graduates, as suggested by the American Psychological Association (APA).

  • Critical thinking skills – the ability to “think on your feet” and analyse what you encounter in the workplace.
  • Problem-solving skills – you are able to solve the range of small and large problems that arise daily in the workplace: how to identify questions, frame them, devise and carry out procedures to test them and analyse the data to draw conclusions.
  • Oral, writing and interpersonal communication skills, including presentation skills.
  • Ability to locate, organise and evaluate information from multiple sources - success in the workplace requires the ability to manipulate and use information productively.
  • Appreciation of diversity and individual differences - employers value an awareness and sensitivity to issues of culture, class, and race.
  • Potential for continued learning and professional development - employers seek graduates who are interested and able to pursue their own professional development by acquiring knowledge and outside experiences to enhance their skills set.
  • Innovation and creativity - employers want to hire people who can think creatively in order to complete tasks. Successful employees are flexible, able to evaluate options to determine the best approach for a given situation and adapt accordingly.
  • Ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings - job applicants who can apply their university-based knowledge in everyday settings are valued.

How does one obtain such applied experiences? The APA lists the following as specific ways students can enhance their employment prospects:

  • Acquire hands-on collaborative research experience (for example, with a professor and/or lab).
  • Develop research questions and conduct independent research (under supervision).
  • Complete a project that demonstrates the knowledge and skills you have acquired (for example, compile a portfolio, construct a literature review paper or prepare a proposal for a prevention/intervention program).
  • Participate in an internship or community-based experience. In South Africa numerous organisations make use of volunteers: Childline, Rape Crisis, Nicro, Famsa, and Attic, for example.

Linda Richter and her colleagues at the University of KwaZuluNatal studied job advertisements in South African newspapers toward the end of the 1990s, and established a list of skills and duties required for advertised jobs for graduates.

Advertised Skills and Duties

  • Training or teaching
  • Administration or management roles
  • Research (broad)
  • Data analysis – access, analyse, interpret
  • Labour/industrial relations
  • Social scenario interpretation (interpret social trends)
  • Counselling/group facilitation
  • Person evaluation/testing
  • Advocacy and public relations
  • Recruitment
  • Organisational development
  • Community organisation
  • Welfare activities
  • Understand labour environment

You can find this out easily for yourself, by looking at the job advertisements in the weekend newspapers, to see what knowledge, skills, and abilities employers require.

But Richter and colleagues draw our attention to a number of important conclusions, all still valid today I believe:

  • When graduates enter the workforce, many are going to be expected to train and/or teach people,take on administrative and managerial tasks and roles,be numerate,and understand the labour environment and the changing social environment.
  • Most jobs were advertised in human resources, manpower, organisational development, and industrial relations, followed, in descending order, by education, research, social development, welfare, and health.
  • The finding that the majority of jobs advertised ask for a generalist tertiary qualification, or one in the social sciences (and later the human sciences), and not professional registration, contains an important lesson. It is that the employment environment in South Africa reflects a need for more generalists, where students are able to adapt to changing skills demands, and be innovative in the way they position themselves in the job market. Preoccupation with the five professional registration categories and the territorial marking that accompanies it might be injurious to the profession, and more importantly, less beneficial to graduates in psychology.

By now I am sure you have sensed that the skills that employers want are exactly the things that an education in psychology delivers. In the next section I presenta list of such skills, which I drew from a number of sources, as you will see. Of course, many of those skills are generic to university education, but psychology is unique in the number and variety of skills it imparts. The British psychologist, Nicky Hayes (1996), had this to say about it: “One of the important factors that makes psychology special is not the psychological skills themselves, which are often relevant to other disciplines as well, nor the specific items of knowledge. It is the sheer number of skills and range of knowledge that makes psychology special. Psychology is distinctive in that it equips its graduates with an extremely rich and diverse portfolio—providing a variety of forms of expertise, which are found in few other disciplines and which can equip psychology graduates to undertake many different types of work”.

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The distinctive skills of a Psychology graduate

- by NickyHayes (1996)


  • Highly literate.
  • Trained to write in more than one literacy format.
  • Concise writing within a pre-set format.


  • Highly numerate.
  • Interpret data summaries.
  • Understand probability statements.
  • Familiar with a wide range of statistical procedures and processes.

Computer literacy

  • Generally computer literate.
  • Relevant statistical packages for the tasks they are required to carry out.

Information-finding skills

  • Trained to search through a range of ways of obtaining information.

Research skills

  • Explicitly trained in research methods. A range of different techniques:
    • experimental methods
    • observational methods
    • survey and sampling techniques
    • qualitative analyses

Measurement skills

  • Learn how to operationalise the measurement of complex processes.
  • Principles of psychometric measurement.
  • Questionnaire design.
  • How to develop other measurement tools.

Environmental awareness

  • Know how someone's environment can influence their behaviour, such as:
    • stimulus-response perspectives
    • nonverbal signalling
    • habit formation
    • social appropriateness

Interpersonal awareness

  • Learn about mechanisms of social communication andpotential sources of interpersonal conflict.

Problem-solving skills

  • Systematically trained in problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to tackle a range of different types of problems.
  • Learn how to apply different strategies and approaches to understanding problems.
  • Learn how to identify the practical steps to implement a solution.
  • Operate on a macro-level, or at a more basic level in terms of choosing appropriate methods and techniques.

Critical evaluation

  • Training in scepticism:
    • to appraise evidence
    • to evaluate the quality of an argument
    • to identify the shortcomings and pitfalls of a particular line of action
    • to anticipate problems or difficulties


  • Ability to examine issues from multiple points of view.
  • Explore phenomena using different schools of thought.

Higher-order analysis

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  • Skilled at spotting recurrent patterns in human activity.
  • Notice similarities between situations that seem to be quite different.
  • Able to extract general principles.


  • A pragmatic approach to work and problem-solving.

It is one thing to have such a list of skills, but employers will want to see how you put these skills into action: can you provide examples of what you have done to obtain those skills, or to exercise them? Think of the applied experiences I referred to above. Don’t forget the other, often-neglected opportunities that your time at university offers: tutoring or mentoring other students; find and do an internship; assist a staff member with research; volunteer in an organisation; become active in student societies at your university; attend the seminars that your department organises; and so on.

To repeat a point that should be obvious by now: the skills imparted by a degree in psychology can be valuable for many types of work apart from the profession of psychology itself. Perhaps the most generalisable of those are:

  • Information gathering skills.
  • Analysis and synthesis skills (for example, figuring out why a certain problem occurs and how to minimize or eliminate it).
  • Methodological skills.
  • Statistical reasoning skills (for example, using statistics, tables, and graphs to analyse problems and communicate relevant findings);
  • "People skills" (for example, communicating with and relating to individuals from diverse backgrounds).
  • Writing skills (for example, writing a logically developed report).

Although all of these skills may not be acquired by all graduate students in the course of their study, graduate students may acquire these skills by a thoughtful selection of courses and experiences. Here is what a group of young psychologists from all over the world had to say about the value of their psychology degrees:

  • “I constantly draw on the knowledge and skills I learnt from university. I would not be as effective as I am without my degrees.”
  • “Most important in maximising my career prospects would be skills in psychological assessment and intervention, interpersonal skills, report writing and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.”
  • “Working within a university environment was instrumental in developing analytical, problem solving and research skills. It was enormously beneficial to have also gained such a breadth and depth of theoretical and statistical knowledge”
  • "The psychology degree has provided me with essential research and communication skills, which have enabled me to work in a job for which I had no prior content knowledge”
  • “The quality of the grounding which I received during my Psychology degrees has provided a solid foundation to enable me to succeed in an entirely new field.”
  • “The psychology degree provides a much stronger theoretical basis on which to understand what organisational psychologists do and why, and the limitations and the contributions that we can make. It provides a set of ethical principles within which to work and a scientist-practitioner perspective.”
  • "The coursework that I found most useful for my career includes everything I learned about the scientific method, which I find is an advantage that other social scientists do not share with us. I also benefited from learning a variety of different analytic methods. The ability to combine a theoretically driven foundation to a practical problem is what I have found to be most valuable in my day-to-day life."
  • "Both academic and applied career paths require a strong grounding in research principles, methods, statistics, and psychological science. However, an applied career can require greater breadth of knowledge and experience across a variety of topics and domains than an academic career. For example, in my current position I have worked on projects dealing with preschool, child abuse and neglect, early literacy, parent support and assistance, child health and nutrition, breast feeding, health insurance, child care quality, as well as programme evaluation, non-profit management, capacity building, and community strengthening."
  • “There is not just one path to an applied career. Rather, students should seek a wide range of experience in applied settings. Develop writing skills, and take statistics and research methods courses. Grant writing is likely to be a useful skill in most applied settings. Networking with faculty and fellow students is important, asconnections are likely to be useful in the future. However, students and faculty need to understand that an advanced degree is not enough; graduates still must prove their value by applying their knowledge and skills effectively. Work experience in applied settings helps students develop their understanding of how they can contribute most successfully.”

Jobs and careers

Earlier I said that it is useful to study the job market, or careers, from the point of view of people who already hold jobs in which they use the knowledge and skills imparted by an education in psychology. It is now time to look at such jobs.

The first thing you will notice is the immense variety that exists. This should not come as a surprise, given what I have said so far about skills. In the USA, even the CIA regularly advertises for psychologists, and they ask for areas of expertise like these: research methodology and experimental design, attitudinal survey development and implementation, advanced statistical analysis, test validation and development, job performance measurement and evaluation, personnel selection and placement, human-computer interface issues, organisational analysis and development, database design, development and manipulation.

Second, keep in mind that these people landed in their current jobs via a very circuitous route. Starting out, you can expect to move in and out of jobs and organisations. Your degree therefore is a platform to start off from, but it is almost impossible to predict where you are going to end up.

Third, the jobsand job advertisementsmentioned beloware a mixture of high level, senior posts, and posts that require little experience. I don’t discuss entry level posts much, because what I want you to see is the end point. But the skills I referred to above are exactly the kinds of generic skill entry level jobs typically ask for. Psychologists (and other professionals and graduates too) are expected to perform tasks and duties that go beyond narrow job functions and specialist applications.

A sample of job titles held by South African psychology graduates include the following:

  • Minister and deputy-minister in the national cabinet
  • University vice-chancellor
  • Director-general in government departments
  • A director in the National Intelligence Agency
  • Consultant to a commercial bank
  • Applying psychological principles to health and sport at the Sports Science Institute
  • Human resources specialist at a brewery
  • Change management consultant at a private consulting firm
  • Recruitment officer in a clothing retailer
  • Project writer for a university foundation
  • Researcher for a consulting firm
  • Senior scientist at the Medical Research Council
  • Researcher in the South African Parliament
  • Manager ofOrganisational Development in an insurance company
  • Executive Director and Directorat the Human Sciences Research Council
  • Project Manager ofPeople Development in a clothing retailer

On the APA website, they list what they call interesting careers, and they give details of what it is that each person does, and how they got there:

  • Acquisitions Editor
  • Research Psychologist in a Medical School
  • Research Director for a Non-Profit Organisation
  • Experimental Psychologist in a Behavioural Science Research Firm
  • Medical Error Consultant
  • Social Psychologist in Rehabilitation Technology
  • Psychology Emerges in a Multimedia World
  • Engineering Psychology in Research and Development
  • Becoming a Science Writer
  • Technology Consultant in the Telecom Industry
  • Social Science Analyst in the Public Sector
  • Research Psychology at Microsoft
  • Human-Computer Interface Designer
  • Cognitive and I/O Psychologists in the Technology Industry
  • Highway Safety Research Analyst
  • Policy Scientist as an Independent Consultant
  • International Market Research Consultant
  • Human Factors Expert
  • Statistical and Methodological Consultant
  • Psychologist in the White House
  • Police Psychology in the Federal Government
  • Clinical Neuro-Psycho-Pharmacologist
  • Market Research Consultant
  • Human Factors Psychologist in Aviation
  • Academic Research Administrator
  • Science Museum Education and Research Specialist
  • Chemical Senses Scientist
  • NASA Research Psychologist
  • Design Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist in the FBI
  • Human Resources Research Organisation
  • Corporate Investment Strategist for the Military
  • Federal Drug Science Specialist
  • Executive Search Consultant
  • Organisational Development Consultant
  • Trial Consultant
  • Expert Witness in Employment Discrimination Cases

The same APA website also lists tasks that psychologically-trained people perform in these jobs. I am sure that a survey of South African psychologists will produce a very similar picture; indeed, if you look at the list of skills and duties from Richter et al.’s study (1998), you will see the similarities. This is not surprising, because psychology in this sense is truly an international discipline, so that one gets qualified to do very similar things, no matter where you qualified.

Tasks performed by psychologists in South Africa:

  • Administration
  • Event Planning/Activities Coordination
  • Personal Assistant
  • Motivation
  • Advising
  • Negotiation Analysis
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Polling
  • Assessment of Public Policy
  • Business Process Engineering
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Computer/Human Interface
  • Rehabilitation
  • Consulting
  • Research
  • Counselling
  • Safety Data Analysis
  • Sensory Evaluation/Perception
  • Design Software Engineering
  • Statistics
  • Editing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Ergonomics
  • Stress Evaluation
  • Experimental Design
  • Teaching/Training
  • Monitoring and Evaluating
  • Time-Motion Study
  • Facilitation
  • Work Design
  • Focus Groups
  • Writing
  • Forensics
  • Interviewing
  • Market Research
  • Change Management
  • Customer Satisfaction Measurement


There are large-scale changes happening in the world that affect all of us in the jobs that are available to us, and what we do. This is especially true for psychologists, because two of those fundamental shifts apply directly to psychology: one is a shift to the services industry, and the other is the reliance on knowledge, what people generally refer to as the knowledge economy(You sometimes will see advertisements, for example, for jobs related to knowledge management, a job category unheard of until recently). A consequence of these shifts, and others I have mentioned, is that students find it difficult to identify and understand what the career opportunities available to them are in this regard. And not just students – all of us find it difficult! If you look at the job advertisements in the newspapers, it certainly does not seem as if there is much for the psychologically-trained graduate to go for.

But it is all in the way you look at it. You have to look first at the job title, normally a pretty good indication whether it is something for you. Then of course you look at the job requirements and tasks that you will have to perform – and here is where the surprises lie for you. Hopefully I have convinced you the kinds of skills now required by jobs advertised in South Africa (and elsewhere of course) are exactly the skills that a degree in psychology provides you with. These are skill-sets and expertise that are highly valued by employers in many spheres of working life.

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There certainly is a trend toward more diverse careers, also and perhaps especially so involving psychology. In short, “a range of rewarding and exciting new career opportunities for those with Bachelor’s, Masters or Doctorate degrees in psychology await you” (Donaldson & Berger, 2006, p. 17). Indeed, these authors say that “opportunities for students entering the field of psychology have never been greater than today” (p. 6).


I have referred in the text to the websites and publications I found useful in drawing up this document. Here I list some of them again, plus a few extra. Obviously, there is a huge amount of information available nowadays, and I suggest you do your own search through that landscape.

Donaldson, S.I., Berger, D.E., and Pezdek, K. (Eds.). (2006). Applied psychology: New frontiers and rewarding careers. Mahweh, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.

You can access the two chapters I referred to in the text on the web:

Hayes, N. (1996). What makes a psychology graduate distinctive? European Psychologist, 1, 130 -134.

Kuther, T., and Morgan, R. (2012). Careers in psychology: Opportunities in a changing world. Independence, KY: Cengage.

Richter, L.M., Griesel, R.D., Durrheim, K., Wilson, M., Surendorff, N., and Asafo-Agyei, L. (1998). Employment opportunities for psychology graduates in South Africa: A contemporary analysis. South African Journal of Psychology, 28, 1-7.

UNISA’s helpful document on study and career advice

Informationon educational psychology

Informationon industrial psychology

Search for specific job titles on a website run by the Department of Higher Education and Training

The Professional Board for Psychology in South Africa


What is the best thing to do with a psychology degree? ›

The truth is that a bachelor's degree in psychology could lead to immediate employment in fields like marketing, teaching, or human resources, or it could be coupled with a graduate degree and lead to careers in counseling, social work, or occupational therapy.

What jobs can someone with a psychology degree do? ›

Common Jobs for Psychology Degree Holders
  • Therapy and counseling.
  • Training and development.
  • Private healthcare education.
  • Mental health support.
  • Career counseling.
  • Human resources.
  • Social work.
Mar 23, 2021

Is a bachelors degree in psychology enough? ›

Some careers in psychology require academic degrees at the master's or doctorate levels, but a bachelor's degree by itself can also be valuable. Many career paths are compatible with a psychology background, and 57% of psychology bachelor's degree graduates enter the workforce without pursuing a master's or doctorate.

What is the highest paid psychology field? ›

Psychiatrists prescribe medications for patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale.

How can I make money with a bachelors in psychology? ›

For those psychology majors hoping to earn a top salary after graduation, consider these high-paying jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree in psychology:
  1. Teacher. ...
  2. Mental health technician. ...
  3. Sports coach. ...
  4. Human resources specialist. ...
  5. Career counselor. ...
  6. Parole officer. ...
  7. Marketing specialist. ...
  8. Social services director.

Do psychology jobs pay well? ›

The highest paying psychologist career salaries average around $167,000. While many psychology careers have a higher than average yearly salary, it is important to remember that actual income depends upon various factors, including geographic location, employment sector, educational background, and years of experience.

Can I get a job after BA in psychology? ›

Both the government and private sector organizations provide wide scope for employment opportunities. Jobs after BA Psychology include Career Counsellor, Child Psychologist, Developmental Psychologist, Social Psychologist, Community Health Officer, Social Worker, and Daycare Supervisor.

What is the number one occupation employing graduates with a BA in psychology? ›

Review Questions
What is the number one occupation employing graduates with a BA in psychology?Mid-and-top level management
Schooling after a PhD.Postdoctoral Training Program
23 more rows

Is a masters in psychology worth it? ›

While the average psychology professional with an undergraduate degree makes approximately $33,000 annually, those who acquire a master's degree earn an average of $64,000 annually. This means that pursuing a master's in psychology is a great idea for anyone looking to boost their earning potential.

Is a psychology degree worth it 2022? ›

Yes, a psychology degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 5% job growth in life, physical, and social science occupations over the next 10 years.

What is the easiest degree to get? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2023 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
2 days ago

Whats harder psychology or engineering? ›

Engineering is by far harder.

How hard is a psychology degree? ›

According to students studying psychology, there is quite a lot of reading that you need to do. Psychology is one of the more difficult degrees and many of your assignments will require you to cite your sources and will require you to back up a lot of the arguments that you have.

What psychologist jobs are in demand? ›

14 Psychology Jobs in High Demand
  • Vocational/Career Counselor. ...
  • School Psychologist. ...
  • Family Marriage Counselor. ...
  • Engineering Psychologist. ...
  • Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychologist. ...
  • Clinical Psychologist. ...
  • Forensic Psychologist. ...
  • Geropsychologist.
Jan 7, 2022

Is a PhD in psychology worth it? ›

A Ph. D. in psychology is worth it if you like the idea of taking on leadership roles in academia. Although some work experience as a professor may be needed to take administrative roles in higher education, having a Ph.

What is the difference between a BA and a BS in psychology? ›

The B.S., or Bachelor of Science in Psychology, has a lot in common with the B.A. in Psychology. What sets it apart, however, is that the B.S. program usually includes additional math and science courses rather than electives or topic specializations.

What type of therapy pays the most? ›

Highest paid counseling jobs
  1. Pediatric counselor. National average salary: $63,934 per year. ...
  2. Licensed clinical social worker. National average salary: $64,671 per year. ...
  3. Direct support professional. ...
  4. Therapist. ...
  5. Physician assistant. ...
  6. Mental health counselor. ...
  7. Registered nurse. ...
  8. Physical therapist.
Sep 15, 2021

Which country pays psychologists the most? ›

Top Destinations for a Career in Psychology
  1. Canada. Over the years, Canada has become a hot choice for aspirants looking for career options in various fields, and it's the same for psychology. ...
  2. The United States of America. ...
  3. Australia. ...
  4. The United Kingdom. ...
  5. Other Countries.
Apr 18, 2022

What is a BA in psychology good for? ›

With a BA or BS in psychology, graduates may work in human resources, business, sales, or education as they apply analytical, communication, and critical thinking skills alongside their degree knowledge.

Does BA Psychology have maths? ›

Is maths required for psychology?? Anushka, Psychology is a branch of social sciences. And so if you want to take up Psychology as a subject for your Bachelor's degree, you neednt have Mathematics as your subject in your 12th curriculum.

Is there a math in psychology? ›

Math can help psychologists better understand the brain and interpret data. Therefore, it's important to have these skills, so you can be as effective as possible at your job. Here's a look at several ways math and statistics are crucial to the psychology field.

What are 5 potential jobs for psychology? ›

Here are 15 top-earning jobs you can get with a psychology degree.
  • Therapist.
  • Psychology program director.
  • Behavior analyst.
  • Researcher.
  • Psychology professor.
  • Industrial psychologist.
  • Military psychologist.
  • Counseling psychologist.

How can a psychologist make money? ›

Here are some of the best ways psychologists can earn more money to advance toward their financial goals.
  1. Teaching psychology or related courses. ...
  2. Telehealth/telemedicine. ...
  3. Professional writing. ...
  4. Develop and run retreats and workshops. ...
  5. Public speaking. ...
  6. Be a consultant or coach. ...
  7. Be an expert witness. ...
  8. Be a mobile notary.
Nov 1, 2021

Is psychology a good degree for jobs? ›

With a psychology degree, you're well placed to pursue careers in both arts and scientific fields, depending on your personal interests. There are many options within public and private healthcare, education, mental health support, social work, therapy and counseling.

How many years is a PhD in psychology? ›

Ph. D. in psychology programs take between five to seven years to complete, and typically include one year-long internship. These programs sometimes admit fewer students, as they tend to offer more funding opportunities.

How many years does it take to get a masters in psychology? ›

For motivated students, a master's in psychology program can take anywhere from two to four years to complete. While this is a more significant time commitment, many master's degree in psychology students are prepared for this after completing their undergraduate.

What is a Masters in psychology called? ›

In general, master's degrees in psychology are available as either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) in general psychology studies or in a recognized subspecialty of psychology, such as: Clinical neuropsychology. Clinical psychology. School psychology.

What are the disadvantages of studying psychology? ›

  • You will need to earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  • You will need to earn a master's degree. ...
  • You may need to earn a doctorate degree. ...
  • Your education will come with a hefty price tag. ...
  • You may end up in debt. ...
  • You may need to complete clinical training.

What are the 4 major goals of psychology? ›

To sum up, psychology is centered on four major goals: to describe, explain, predict, and change or control behaviors. These goals are the foundation of most theories and studies in an attempt to understand the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes that people face in their daily lives.

Why do people major in psychology? ›

Many choose to major in psychology because they want to help others live healthy and fulfilling lives. While not all jobs in the field deal directly with patients or clients, the overall goal of psychology is to study human behavior and apply those insights to build a healthier society.

What is the most regretted major? ›

A Federal Reserve Survey has revealed that humanities and arts majors regret their decisions at the highest rate.

What 2 year degree pays the most? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Aeronautics. ...
  • MRI Technology. ...
  • Radiology Technology. ...
  • Respiratory Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Network Engineering. Network engineers design, administer, and maintain local and wide area network systems.

What's the hardest degree? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy. Let's dive right in, and look at why these subjects are the hardest degree subjects.

Is a psychology degree respected? ›

Among people who are doing a proper science, like maths, physics, chemistry, or biology, psychology is viewed as being soft. By the rest of the people at uni, it is moderately respected, at least more than stuff like media studies, film, sport, drama, or social sciences.

Is law better than psychology? ›

See both are different field. Law is based on your speaking power, confidence level in you, remembering all rules and acts,etc. Psychology is based on your thinking capacity and how u handle situations/problems faced by others.

Is psychologist a doctor? ›

Despite the word “clinical,” a clinical psychologist isn't a medical doctor. They usually can't order medical tests, like blood or imaging tests, and they generally can't prescribe medication.

› articles › is-a-psychology-degr... ›

You might assume that those psych undergrads are the ones enrolling in graduate programs designed to train the next generation of clinical therapists, but you&#...
If your eventual goal is to get a doctorate and become a licensed psychologist, then a bachelor's degree in psychology may be a smart way to start your coll...
Psychology is certainly not a one-size-fits-all career choice. In fact, one of the greatest strengths of a psychology degree is the enormous variety of career p...

Do psychology jobs pay well? ›

The highest paying psychologist career salaries average around $167,000. While many psychology careers have a higher than average yearly salary, it is important to remember that actual income depends upon various factors, including geographic location, employment sector, educational background, and years of experience.

What can I combine psychology with? ›

You can also add a relevant second major or an academic minor to your plan of study. Psychology is an excellent double-major for students who want to go into marketing, management, human resources, law enforcement or criminal justice, social work, theology, and healthcare, for example.

Is psychology a good career for the future? ›

A career in psychology can bring about many exciting and fulfilling opportunities for those who are looking to change the way society views mental and emotional health. Psychology is a growing field with a high demand for qualified professionals.

Is psychology an easy major? ›

According to students studying psychology, there is quite a lot of reading that you need to do. Psychology is one of the more difficult degrees and many of your assignments will require you to cite your sources and will require you to back up a lot of the arguments that you have.

What is the difference between a BA and a BS in psychology? ›

The B.S., or Bachelor of Science in Psychology, has a lot in common with the B.A. in Psychology. What sets it apart, however, is that the B.S. program usually includes additional math and science courses rather than electives or topic specializations.

Is a masters in psychology worth it? ›

While the average psychology professional with an undergraduate degree makes approximately $33,000 annually, those who acquire a master's degree earn an average of $64,000 annually. This means that pursuing a master's in psychology is a great idea for anyone looking to boost their earning potential.

Is becoming a psychologist worth it? ›

If you enjoy working with people and helping them achieve their full potential, then becoming a psychologist can be extremely rewarding. While you will often face challenges, seeing your clients make real progress and work towards their goals can give you a feeling of accomplishment.

How do I know if psychology is the right major for me? ›

7 Signs you would succeed as a psychology major
  • You are an empathetic people person. ...
  • You enjoy solving problems. ...
  • You love learning. ...
  • You're a trusted source for advice. ...
  • You are patient and a good listener. ...
  • You strive to be open-minded and nonjudgmental. ...
  • You're acutely aware of details around you.

What undergraduate degree is best for psychology? ›

Bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in psychology provide students opportunities for careers in psychology and related fields. For graduates with a BA in psychology who attend graduate school and become psychology professionals, the field will experience 14% job growth by 2026.

What is the best minor for a psychology major? ›

29 academic minors for psychology majors to consider
  1. Biology. Biology can be a field frequently mentioned in psychology courses. ...
  2. Sociology. Sociology can be connected to psychology because they both focus on the study of people. ...
  3. Foreign languages. ...
  4. Education. ...
  5. Mathematics. ...
  6. Health science. ...
  7. Communications. ...
  8. Business.
Jan 3, 2022

Which field of psychology is in demand? ›

Clinical psychology, for example, is expected to grow in demand at an especially fast rate in line with similar growing demand for almost all healthcare positions.

Which branch of psychology is in demand? ›

Clinical Psychology is a demanding field and has the most number of jobs on offer as well. It is one of the most sought careers in psychology in India.

Is a psychology degree respected? ›

Among people who are doing a proper science, like maths, physics, chemistry, or biology, psychology is viewed as being soft. By the rest of the people at uni, it is moderately respected, at least more than stuff like media studies, film, sport, drama, or social sciences.

What's the hardest degree? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy. Let's dive right in, and look at why these subjects are the hardest degree subjects.

What is the hardest psychology? ›

1. Parapsychology. By its very nature, parapsychology is even more vague than “traditional” mental health practices. It's the study of nonquantifiable phenomena, such as telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perception, and mind reading.

What is the easiest career in psychology? ›

Entry level psychology jobs with no experience necessary
  1. Camp counselor. National average salary: $22,578 per year. ...
  2. Parole officer. National average salary: $35,020 per year. ...
  3. Preschool teacher. ...
  4. Research assistant. ...
  5. Occupational therapy aide. ...
  6. Career counselor. ...
  7. Rehabilitation specialist. ...
  8. Sales associate.
Apr 5, 2021


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