To become a psychologist, professionals must earn a minimum of a master's degree in psychology. However, a bachelor of arts in psychology also prepares graduates for other careers outside the field due to its developmental course offerings: For example, K-12 teachers must also complete similar classes. Other careers that require psychology coursework include human resources managers, registered nurses, or healthcare services managers.
Students should also understand the difference between a bachelor of science (BS) and a bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology to determine which best suits their career goals. A BS in psychology focuses on mathematics and science courses. Students who plan to earn advanced degrees with an affinity for extensive research methodology should consider a BS in psychology.
A BA in psychology emphasizes liberal arts courses. BA programs offer more options that reflect a student's specific career goals. Therefore, many BA in psychology graduates may use their degree for careers outside of psychology.
Journalists conduct research to compose news articles for various media outlets. Research includes following leads, interviewing people about difficult content, and asking questions that allow the journalist to collect pertinent information. Therefore, earning a bachelor of arts in psychology can provide aspiring journalists with a competitive advantage, as psychology coursework explores the way people behave and think.
The average BA in psychology degree includes perception and cognition, social psychology, evaluating psychological research, and perspectives on psychological issues. While entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree at a minimum, students may want to consider earning an advanced degree to stand out among other applicants.
Criminologists serve as analysts or scientists who identify the causes of criminal behavior through data collection and statistical analysis. Criminologists may interview officers or incarcerated felons to develop psychological profiles. Therefore, professionals often work in law enforcement or government settings.
Earning a bachelor of arts in psychology can benefit future criminologists by allowing students can tailor the degree to fit their career goals. Furthermore, a bachelor's degree in psychology contains courses that provide knowledge and skills criminologists need to excel in their job. Entry-level positions typically require a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Leadership or management roles may require an advanced degree.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources managers stay up to date on all local, state, and federal laws that impact benefits and organizational activities. These managers oversee compliance, productivity, and effectiveness. Human resources management also requires professionals to identify ways to improve policies and implement change. This role relies heavily on effective communication.
Earning a bachelor of arts in psychology explores human behavior or social psychology, which assists human resources managers in achieving tasks that require interacting with incumbents and executives. While some organizations accept candidates with a bachelor's degree, many organizations prefer applicants with an advanced degree.
Political scientists conduct research on topics relating to the political system both nationally and internationally. This role also requires professionals to gather and assess data from surveys, evaluate policies, remain up-to-date on events, and forecast trends.
Political scientist roles typically require a master's degree or Ph.D. For instance, popular master's programs include a master of public administration or public affairs. A BA in psychology provides students with foundational knowledge and skills, such as cognitive and social explanations regarding human behavior, the development of belief systems, and the decision-making process.
Social workers develop solutions for clients struggling with everyday issues. Responsibilities include identifying people in need, creating pathways for clients to adjust to life changes, researching resources or solutions to modern dilemmas, improving clients' quality of life, monitoring progress, and offering psychotherapy assistance.
Earning a bachelor of arts in psychology addresses many of the topics social workers need to do their job. While entry-level positions exist, leadership roles require a master's degree or Ph.D. Therefore, students should plan to continue their education. Additionally, social workers also need to obtain a state license or certification for nonclinical work.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor
Substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselors assist patients struggling with one or more disorders. Duties include assessing a patient's condition and readiness to begin treatment, educating the client's families, uncovering factors that prohibit recovery, developing treatment plans, and collaborating with other care team members.
Entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. However, many organizations also require applicants to hold a master's degree, as many states require licensing and up to 4,000 clinical hours for upper-level duties. A bachelor of arts in psychology offers fundamental knowledge and skills that helps students launch their career.
Marketing managers collaborate with staff and other department leaders to identify budgets and marketing or advertising campaign plans. Duties include contract negotiation, campaign evaluation, market research, identifying target clients, developing pricing strategies, and hiring staff. Important qualities include analytical, communication, interpersonal, and decision-making skills.
Employers typically look for candidates with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in a relevant field. By earning a bachelor of arts in psychology, students learn about human behavior and social aspects of psychology that could improve their effectiveness in daily tasks. However, students may continue their education to provide a competitive advantage.
Psychologists work with target populations in multiple settings. Psychologists examine cognitive, social, and emotional processes from a client's experience. Duties include conducting research or studies on human behavior, conducting interviews and surveys, identifying disorders, researching patterns, developing tests that assist in predicting behavior, educating patients and their families, and creating research papers or articles that other professionals can learn from.
For clinical, counseling, or research roles, employers look for applicants with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. Most states also require practitioners to obtain a state license. Therefore, earning a BA in psychology is the first step toward qualifying for this role.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Marriage and family therapists receive mental health training to address difficult clinical issues, including depression, anxiety, marital problems, and family dilemmas. Duties consist of creating safe environments for clients to discuss sensitive information, making action plans to adjust to change, providing guidance in decision making, developing strategies to cope with difficult circumstances, and maintaining client files.
To qualify for this role, candidates should start by earning a bachelor's degree in psychology, which explores fundamental information needed to proceed to a master's in psychology, as this role requires a state license and a set number of clinical hours.
School counselors work with students to address academic and social gaps. Daily duties include evaluating student abilities and interests, uncovering issues that prohibit academic and social success, creating action plans to correct issues, collaborating with teachers and students' families, maintaining records, and reporting instances of neglect or abuse.
School counselors can work in K-12 settings or adult settings as career counselors. Employers look for candidates with a master's degree as nearly all states require a license to practice. However, earning a bachelor of arts in psychology remains the first step in working toward this career. At the bachelor's level, candidates may qualify for relevant support roles.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Selecting the best BA in psychology program requires extra consideration, as this field offers multiple professional opportunities. Prospective students should identify specific goals to develop a career pathway. Additionally, tuition varies and many universities offer in-person, hybrid, or online format options.
Learn More About a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
Psychology.org has created a page that debunks commonly misrepresented information regarding the value of a bachelor's degree in psychology. Candidates can also read about admission requirements, average costs, and basic expectations of a psychology program. This page also focuses on core concepts, concentrations, careers, and advanced degree options.
Explore Psychology Careers
Psychology.org also offers a resource delineating several psychology careers and potential specializations. Each profile contains information about target populations and work environments. Aspiring psychologist students also learn about credentials needed to qualify for advanced positions, salary trends, and professional organizations that provide information about current efforts in the field.