What Can You Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology?


Updated January 18, 2023

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Explore opportunities for those with a bachelor of arts in psychology that align with your career goals.

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Understanding human relationships, thinking critically, empathizing with others, and communicating well are just some of the skills you learn during your undergraduate studies in psychology. And employers are well aware of their value.

"Workers with high EQ [emotional intelligence] tend to make better decisions, maintain their cool under pressure and stress, deftly resolve conflicts, respond positively to constructive feedback, work well with others, and demonstrate leadership abilities," Jack Kelly, CEO of Compliance Search Group, wrote in an article for Forbes.

If you're approaching college graduation, you may be wondering, "What can I do with a bachelor's in psychology?" Whether you plan to enter the job market immediately or you are open to further higher education, discover which paths are open to you.

How to Become a Psychologist

A bachelor’s degree in psychology can serve as a useful gateway to numerous career opportunities in many fields. With further education, a popular and potentially highly satisfying job would be the role of the clinical psychologist.Most states require clinical psychologists to have a doctoral degree to be licensed to practice. However, with a master's degree in clinical psychology a person can find work in school psychology, human resources, forensics, teaching, and other industries.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), clinical psychologists provide psychotherapy through therapeutic relationships across the lifespan. Although they do not prescribe medications, they can conduct client assessments, consult with other professionals, supervise trainees and students, and take part in clinical research.

To become a clinical psychologist, there are several steps:

When considering whether to pursue a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in psychology or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.), it's important to understand that the Psy.D. can work as a clinical psychologist and also help to prepare clinical psychology students to work with patients.

On the other hand, the Ph.D. in psychology is geared more toward research. But they may also work as professors who educate students studying to be organizational psychologists, marriage and family counselors, or addictions counselors.

Featured Online Bachelor's Psychology Programs

What Else Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Psychology?

The APA states that the number of jobs for a bachelor's in psychology is much more robust than popular opinion might hold. They share that 25 percent continue on to a graduate degree program in psychology, 18 percent pursue a master's degree in another discipline, and 57 percent enter the workforce directly.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median annual wage for a person with a bachelor's in psychology is $50,000. According to the BLS, 60 percent of those with an educational background in psychology are employed in the areas of management, community and social service, educational instruction and libraries, healthcare, and office or administrative support positions.

The following is a list of potential careers for individuals with a bachelor's in psychology.


Psychology majors are well suited for careers in marketing. The courses you take in your undergraduate studies, such as social psychology, human behavior, research design, and statistics, directly apply to many roles within the umbrella of marketing.

Creative roles in advertising benefit from an understanding of the culture, like common or popular attitudes or beliefs. Roles in market research require knowledge of how to conduct research and interpret findings. Roles in sales require a high level of empathy and good listening skills for success.

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager
Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
$61,250 $133,380 $208,000+ 10%

Source: BLS, 2021

Journalism or Public Relations

You don't need to study English or journalism to become a writer. In fact, a knowledge base in psychology can work to your advantage.

Your ability to interpret case studies and research can give you the analytical skills for reporting on complex topics. And a high level of empathy can make you a better interviewer. Not to mention, the many academic papers you wrote during your undergraduate studies count toward your writing experience.

Psychology majors are also typically diplomatic and good communicators, a crucial attribute of public relations (PR) specialists. In PR, you need strong networking skills and the ability to maintain positive relationships with journalists, managers, and clients.

Salaries for Journalism and Public Relations Careers
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $29,210 $48,370 $120,590 -9%
Public Relations Specialist $37,020 $62,800 $124,620 8%

Source: BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021

Government and Law Enforcement

A bachelor's degree in psychology can provide a solid grounding in the understanding of human behavior, which is central to a career in law enforcement. Within a law enforcement career, you may pursue work as a police officer, detective, sheriff, forensic psychologist, probation or parole officer, or a specialist in the corrections field. As noted in the table below, some areas of law enforcement provide the opportunity to earn a competitive salary, with the potential to be employed by organizations such as the FBI and CIA.

Salaries for Government and Law Enforcement Careers
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
Police and Detectives $40,420 $66,020 $105,540 3%
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers $40,190 $64,610 $102,530 3%
Forensic Psychologists $44,000 $75,000 $120,000 Not Available
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $37,380 $60,250 $99,090 0%

Source: BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021; Payscale, January 2023; BLS, 2021

UX Designer

UX designers make products and services more intuitive, enjoyable, and streamlined for users — often in a digital environment, like a business's website or app. As a UX designer, you find connections between data and design. For example, you may notice that people are visiting a client's website but leave quickly. UX designers discover why and adjust the design to increase users' curiosity about the product or service.

An understanding of psychology fits well with this profession. Concepts like memory limitation, cognitive load, and the psychology of colors all make for a better designer.

You may consider getting a certificate specific to UX design or attend a bootcamp to make yourself a more competitive candidate. These programs are fairly short, ranging from 10 weeks to six months.

UX Designers
Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
$54,000 $76,000 $111,000 Not Available

Source: Payscale, January 2023

Human Resources

Human resources (HR) professionals hire job applicants, draw up assessments for employees, and let employees go when necessary, among other tasks. While some colleges and universities offer a major in HR, some do not.

Many students study psychology with the intention of pursuing a career in HR. Concepts learned during your psychology studies, like the reward system and motivational factors, contribute to forming more effective, empathetic HR managers.

Human Resources Specialists
Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
$37,680 $62,290 $108,160 8%

Source: BLS, 2021

Graduate Careers for Psychology Majors

A graduate degree in psychology can provide greater earning power and career opportunities than for those with a bachelor's degree in psychology. While some positions in various areas such as counseling require only a bachelor's degree in certain job markets, a master's degree gives job-seekers a significant competitive edge.


Counseling careers such as those listed in the table below can provide a satisfying career for an individual with a bachelor's degree in psychology who is willing to pursue a graduate degree. While the noted salary range in the lowest 10% may be low, the addition of a master's degree in clinical psychology will boost earning potential and career opportunities.

Salaries for Counseling Careers
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
School and Career Counselors $37,550 $60,510 $98,190 10%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $30,870 $48,520 $77,980 22%
Marriage and Family Therapists $37,050 $49,880 $96,520 14%

Source: BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021


You might think that law and psychology don't share much in common. But they're actually quite connected. Psychologists seek to understand human behavior, while the law aims to regulate it.

If you hold a bachelor's degree in psychology, you qualify for admission to many law programs. The Law School Admission Test was once a universal requirement to qualify. But now many reputable institutions, including Harvard and the University of Arizona, only require the Graduate Record Examinations.

Traditional law school typically takes three years to complete, although many institutions offer two-year fast-track programs. So you could practice law in just a few years if you already have an undergraduate degree in psychology under your belt.

Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
$61,400 $127,990 $208,000+ 10%

Source: BLS, 2021


You don't need an undergraduate degree in education to become a school teacher. A liberal arts education provides an excellent background for teaching. But the theory and skills you gain by majoring in psychology can help you be more empathetic toward students and model positive communication styles.

Not every state requires a master's degree to become a teacher. But even in states that do not, holding a master's degree is almost an unwritten rule for eligibility. It also qualifies you for a higher salary. Most states may require a teaching certification too.

Look for master's degree programs in teaching or education. With teaching, you can specialize in a particular subject and gain expertise in effective teaching. An education degree also qualifies you to teach, but it equips you to influence change in school policies and curricula.

Salaries for Teaching Careers
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $43,950 $61,400 $99,420 4%
Middle School Teachers $45,510 $61,320 $99,470 4%
High School Teachers $46,090 $61,820 $100,310 5%
Postsecondary Teachers $46,690 $79,640 $172,130 12%

Source: BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021

Audiologist or Speech Language Pathologist

The role of audiologist and speech language pathologist (SLP) are fascinating paths of study and career pursuit for the person with a bachelor's in psychology. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) states that "speech-language pathologists are health care professionals who identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems as well as swallowing disorders." They serve clients with speech disorders, language disorders, swallowing disorders, and cognitive disorders, including dementia. Becoming an SLP involves earning a bachelor's degree in a related field such as psychology, speech language pathology, audiology, or communication sciences and disorders. The student must then earn a master's degree in speech-language pathology and become a licensed provider.

To become an audiologist, a bachelor's degree is required. Although no specific undergraduate discipline is required, majors such as psychology, communication disorders, or sound engineering are useful.

Students must then earn a doctor of audiology (AuD), Ph.D., or combination AuD/Ph.D. degree.

Salaries for Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
Audiologists $58,920 $78,950 $120,210 10%
Speech Language Pathologists $51,310 $79,060 $125,560 21%

Source: BLS, 2021; BLS, 2021

Public Administration

Graduate programs in public administration prepare students to carry out government policy. If you enjoy planning, organizing, and making improvements, you might consider a career in public administration.

To work in this area, you need a strong understanding of social psychology, communication, urban planning, and social science research methods. These skills can help you to design, carry out, and measure the impact of government programs.

Graduates with a master's degree in public policy can work for government agencies, nonprofits, or private policy groups. You can find work in different industries, such as healthcare, natural resources management, or social justice.

Your main duties will include conducting research, analyzing programs' performance and efficacy, and possibly managing other employees and projects.

Administrative Services and Facilities Managers
Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Projected Growth Rate (2021-2031)
$59,470 $99,290 $168,910 7%

Source: BLS, 2021

Additional Resources for Psychology Students

Page last reviewed January 9, 2023

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